A beautiful and special plant!
Yarrow is a member of the Daisy family. It shares some properties with Chamomile too and has similar aromatic oils in the flowers that help the body relax when drunk as a tea.
It has these feathery finely-cut leaves - referenced by the Latin name ‘millefolium’ meaning ‘thousand leaves’ and now until later summer, even autumn, the white woolly flowerheads, sometimes pink-tinged will bloom, on roadsides, in fields and meadows and marshes. The council with their routine mowing of grass verges and estate greens, don’t allow the Yarrow to grow and it remains small there - but anywhere untouched like the marshes and towpaths, it will spring up with its strong sturdy stem and flowers that are also well-loved by pollinators.
For herbalists Yarrow brings great joy and is a revered plant all around the world. The legend goes that Achilles used it as wound-healer and indeed it has been majorly used in this way as it has haemostatic activity, stopping bleeding on the skin. Internally it has a moving effect on the blood and can help if there is poor or sluggish circulation (experienced as cold hands and feet, generally feeling cold). It’s a slightly bitter, aromatic tea and drinking it regularly will help with toning your blood vessels and stimulating your digestion. Its oils are also anti-microbial, active against infective bacteria and viruses so a it’s a good protective herb especially in winter, or if you have digestive or urinary tract infection. A traditional remedy for fever and flu, to stimulate immune system activity against a virus and to bring blood to the surfaces and make you sweat, is a combination of equal parts Elderflowers, Yarrow and Peppermint, brewed in a covered pot for 10-15 minutes then drunk as hot as possible. Doing this regularly if you’re at the start of a feverish cold or flu can potentially help to reduce the duration of the illness and the severity of symptoms. Herbal help! Yarrow is a good friend in lots of situations.
The whole plant is gathered in mid-to-late summer and preserved in tincture (alcohol extract of plants) or dried for teas. You can also infuse the flowers into oil to make an antiseptic, wound-healing external remedy that can be used as a base for balms or creams. A flower essence is made that is said to help with boundaries, energetically. A protector in many ways.