Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
Herb of the month: Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Yarrow is a perennial herb with fine feathery leaves that form a basal rosette. There are smaller leaves that grow up the stem, which holds a delightful white inflorescence (a cluster of little flowers which together look like one big flower). It blooms mid summer. The blossoms are great for drying; arts and crafts projects, or dried floral arrangements. I find they keep their shape and color very well and last for years.
Yarrow is also a very resilient herb that grows wild, even in the tough conditions of compacted, dry, and poor soils. I have even seen it growing in the grassy strips between street curbs and sidewalks in cities and towns.
In Mathew Woods book “The Book of Herbal Wisdom”, he states that he believes that yarrow’s medicinal value is increased when it is grown in poor sandy soil as opposed to rich garden soil. Medicinally, you can use the leaves, stem, and flowers. It is best to use the young leaves of spring’s first flush of growth, as they are full of nature’s healing powers. Also called nose-bleed, carpenter’s weed, and warriors weed, yarrow is well know for its ability to staunch the flow of blood from a wound.
Yarrow leaves are also a bitter tonic used to aid in digestion. They can be added to a fresh garden salad or mixed with other wild greens. Use a simple vinaigrette to add a splash of flavor. As a tea, yarrow is helpful as a fever remedy.