A member of the Asteraceae family, yarrow is a perennial which is often found in poor, sandy soils, frequently on roadsides. It is highly drought tolerant. Yarrow is characterised by a strong, usually straight, stem ranging from 4 to 24 inches; they have small, fern like leaves and are bright green to gray green in colour. The tops of the stems are multi branched to support the floral heads. Common yarrow has small white flowers, however with the recent rise in popularity of several cultivars grown for the home garden market, I have seen yellow and pale lavender varieties growing in the wild. The white is still the most medically potent and the plant should be harvested while in bloom. Fortunately it has a long blooming period, from mid June through September in my area. Please remember to wild craft responsibly, taking no more than a third of any particular stand.
Yarrow has strong antibacterial antiseptic, antispasmodic and astringent, properties. It has a traditional use history which includes bleeding wounds, gastrointestinal problems, fighting fevers, lessen menstrual bleeding and to aid circulation. The fresh leaves were also chewed on to relieve tooth aches. Practitioners of TCM have used it for the ability to affect the kidney, spleen, liver and energy channels throughout the body.
Yarrow has strong antiseptic properties which make it a natural for herbal first aid kits. To make a very effective blood stop powder, gather full plants from the ground up while in flower. Wash and then hang to dry out of direct sunlight. When plant is dry, chop roughly and then grind to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Store the resulting powder in a small jar, out of direct sunlight.
I use this powder on any wound for people or animals. The antibiotic properties fight infection while the astringent properties naturally draw the wound closed. It is great to put on when dehorning animals.
A note of caution, while yarrow is generally rated as safe, prolonged use of high doses will cause problems. It is best to conduct your own study of yarrow, or consult a herbalist or other natural health practitioner.
Go have a look for some yarrow, it is an easy herb to incorporate into your homestead medicine cabinet. Have a great day everyone.
**Please note. I am not a doctor. This post is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. The information presented here has not been verified by Health Canada.**