Yarrow Herb Benefits and Identification

Hey guys this is Josh here with Trillium: Wild Edibles and these white flowers you’re looking at here are Yarrow. This is an extremely beautiful summertime plant. This plant is kind of hard for people to find, and the main reason is the plant is very inconspicuous. You usually don’t even notice it. One of the best ways to notice yarrow is those very bright white flowers. They stick out very well the time of year that yarrow blooms. In my area Yarrow usually flowers, usually starting at the middle of May and will flower all the way until September in my area. And I live in Indiana so that should give you an idea of when Yarrow will flower in your area. There are a lot of different varieties of Yarrow, the wild kind like you see here is going to have a white flower. Usually people grow this ornamentally at their house and you will see all kinds of different colors like pinks and reds and blues and such. You might even see some white within those as well. I don’t know if those have the same uses medicinally, however they are a form of Yarrow. But for safety it’s best to go ahead and use the wild version of Yarrow like you see here. This beautiful white flowered version. Anywhere you find one Yarrow plant you’re most likely going to find some more. For example. If we take a look at the ground around us right now we are going to notice a whole bunch of Yarrow leaves. You can see some smaller Yarrow plants here getting ready to start budding and flowering. You can see more of these leaves here. If we look back here we can see another plant getting ready to start flowering soon. Yarrow has very distinct leaves. The leaves are very finely cut and you’ll notice all of these little bitty leaflets running down the stem. Now in your field guides you’re going to be kind of warned about the differences between Yarrow and Queen Anne’s Lace, and Hemlock. And some of your field guides are going to warn you against using Yarrow or Queen Anne’s Lace if you’re a beginner forager. In my opinion I don’t really understand that logic, it’s good that their doing it and trying to get you to be safe. But, Poison Hemlock doesn’t really look anything like Yarrow at all in my opinion. Yarrows leaves are, as you can see very fine and very delicate. They have superbly deep cuts. You can see just how delicate these leaves really are. I call these leaves lacy, because to me they remind me of like victorian lace. They’re very fine and almost fringelike. Yarrow has a really nice growth pattern in the sense that the leaves all grow alternating of each other. You’ll notice that the leaves alternate all the way up the stem. The stem of Yarrow is rather fuzzy, it’s kind of stiff and almost woody if you will. Here you might be able to see the fuzz on this stem. It kind of resembles like a wooly covering if you will. It kind of makes the stem feel, whoops…. It makes it fell kind of soft to the touch which is kind of nice. Yarrow can grow to varying heights. You will usually find Yarrow plants all the way up to three feet tall. You can see this one here this one’s about three feet tall. I usually don’t find them getting much larger than this in my area. Though you might where you live. You can see this little smaller one here growing up that’s getting ready to start flowering. And as this plant grows it’s going to continue to grow a little taller and and taller until it reaches it’s endsize. Whic h is maybe only another foot and a half maybe for this one. Yarrow has a long history of uses all across the world dating back several thousands of years. The plant is named after it’s supposed discoverer Achilles, it’s latin name is Achillea millefolium. It, like I said, derives that name from Achilles it’s supposed discoverer.Who is said to have used Yarrow on his troops to heal sword gashes and sword wounds. That’s one of the many properties of this plant or one of the many benefits of this plant, is that you can use it as a pain reliever. You can use it to stitch up wounds so to speak, the plant is such a good astringent. It’ll contract the skin so much that it’ll actually help seal up rather deep wounds. This plant not onlly heals pain but it’s also anti-inflammatory, and it’s also antibacterial. So while at the same time you’re healing your cut, your cleaning it out, and you’re reducing the swelling anywhere near the trauma area. That’s a really good benefit to this plant. As far as using Yarrow you can use the entire herb. The entire aboveground part of the plant is useable. You can use the stems the leaves, The flowers and the flowerbuds. Another good thing about Yarrow is you can use it anytime of the year that you find it growing. So if in the early spring all you find are these leaves, just gather up several of them and you can go ahead and use those to make yourself a yarrow tea.You can use those to make tincture, you can use those as poultice if you will. You can use these for several different things you can use them for salves or balms even.You can even use it in shampoos and soaps. You can use Yarrow for a number of different things. A quick note of caution though with Yarrow. Yarrow does contain Thujone, the fresh plant contains the most Thujone. After it’s dried the Thujone is released. Thujone is known as the active compound within Absinthe. Thujone exists in very large quantities in plants like Wormwood as well. Those kind of plants are known because of their effects. Thujone can kind of make you feel really drunk, and it can if you take too much make you hallucinate. So that’s something to keep in mind. So whenever you make your yarrow tea or your yarrow tincture, it’s a good idea to use the dried plant. However using some of the fresh plant won’t hurt too much because the Thujone in yarrow will get dissolved by steeping it in hot water. So that’s something else to keep in mind. Unfortunately though yarrow is rather bitter in taste so if you make a tea out of it kind of be cautious of that. Yarrow does have it’s own distinct smell though in my opinion it’s really hard to describe. It’s very aromatic when you smell it. Kind of smelling like some sort of perfume. There’s an astringency to it or like a tannic smell. I don’t know if this plant actually has tannins but it reminds me of the smell of when I’m leaching Acorns, so if you’ve ever leached Acorns you might know what that smells like. But it smells very, very good when ever you crush the flowers or the leaves, or even the stem. You can crush any part of the plant in your fingers crush it and rub it between your fingers and take a smell. And you’re going to smell this very aromatic smell that like I said is really hard to describe. You have to find this plant and smell it then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

18 comments

  1. Thanks for the yarrow info! Here's a grammar tip for you. The possessive form of it: its. It's (with apostrophe) means it is.

  2. I believe i found this in great number. It smells minty or something when i muddle its flowers. Id also maybe compare it to the green rinds of shagbark hickory nuts maybe? Also with some sort of fruitiness

  3. Really good video.  Thorough explanation of identification and health benefits of yarrow.  I also appreciate the cautions.  Thank you!

  4. Herbalists say "yarrow knows what to do with the blood". It not only stops bleeding from fresh wounds, but it moves stagnant blood too, so applying it to a bruise can be helpful. Adding yarrow tea to a bath can help varicose veins, but it shouldn't be done more than twice a week.

    Mild yarrow tea or a bit of tincture added to half a glass of water makes an excellent rinse for bleeding or otherwise problematic gums. I've heard that yarrow root held on an aching tooth will relieve the pain, but I haven't tried that so I cannot confirm.

    Yarrow tea, taken as hot as you can stand it, is also excellent at the beginning of a cold or flu. It's best to go to bed right after, and be prepared to sweat! It can shorten the length and severity of a cold quite dramatically.

    Josh, I have to say I'm a little alarmed to see you recommending lobelia for pain in the comments here. Lobelia is a highly unpredictable herb that really shouldn't be used without the supervision of someone who is trained in its use. It has some use in formulas, because as the old herbalists put it, it "has brains", meaning it can direct the rest of the remedy where it needs to go. But using any more than the smallest amount possible can overpower the other herbs, meaning the remedy doesn't work as desired.

    Lobelia can cause quite severe dizziness, vomiting, heart palpitations, paranoia, hyperactivity or the opposite, sedation, depending on the person and the dosage. There are so many other pain relieving plant medicines to choose from that it is definitely getting to know that long list we have to choose from rather than using something that can go so terribly wrong.

    Herbal medicine is very specific, we don't really have one-size-fits-all remedies. But we DO have different remedies for different kinds of pain that work far better than OTC drugs. So we have the advantage over Big Pharm in some ways, but we have to do the work to educate ourselves and each other.

    Sorry for the rant, feel free to delete if it's too long. I just felt this was important information you'd want to have.

  5. I just ran across your channel..love the video it was very informational..thank you..oh ya and I just subscribe..

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