Yarrow (Achillea Mille-folium)- This hardy perennial has more aliases than a notorious bandit – Milfold, bloodwort, staunch grass, thousand leaf, old man’s pepper, sneezewort and nosebleed to name a few. It grows well in average soil (to tell the truth it grows well in poor soil also). It likes full sun and a minimum amount of water. It grows to a height of two to three feet.
This plant is easily grown from root division. Seed are on the market for several varieties, and colors include white, pink, yellow and rose. I’ve grown several of these and find that my favorite is the white blooming wild type for which I have never found seed.
Both the leaves and flowers of yarrow are useful in fresh and dried flower arrangements. During my gardening years, I began harvesting yarrow in early spring. My regularly pruned plants continued to bloom through the summer months.
These dainty flowers grow in flat umbels, one to three inches across, bearing a slight resemblance to Queen Anne’s lace. I witnessed very little, if any, problems with insect pests, fungus or other common plant problems.
For drying, I tied several stems into a bundle and hung, with the flowers down, in a dark dry room. I kept an electric fan running in the room to ensure proper air circulation. There was a time when I created many crafts objects including wreaths, baskets, tussie mussies, etc. Most of them contained home grown yarrow.
Of course, yarrow has its place in folklore medicine also. According to legend, Achilles used it to staunch the bleeding of his wounded soldiers. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as "military herb."
One of my reference books lists 42 ailments for which it is useful. For one thing, this author says, "Use yarrow tea for a shampoo to help baldness." Another reference book contains this bit of advice, "If you have any sick sheep, it (yarrow) is reputed to make a tea which restores their health."
Over five years ago, I suspected that I had breast cancer. Before this was confirmed, I began taking natural products for my immune system and still continue this treatment. It has been over five years since I developed a bad cold or flu symptoms. This is until recently when I woke one morning expecting to have a full blown cold. However, I remembered a friend saying that when she’s threatened with a cold, she takes yarrow.
Well, I took yarrow. I took two capsules every hour all morning. By noon, all cold symptoms had disappeared. Evidently it works. I checked with my friend. She suggested that I note that a person should begin this remedy as soon as symptoms appear.
That’s enough about yarrow except to say, "Please check with your doctor before taking this or any other herbal remedy."
Now for a personal note. If you leave a message on my answering machine, please repeat the phone number twice. Sometimes they are just not clear and I cannot return your calls. Also, I’m "computer illiterate" and sometimes cannot make the darn thing answer your messages. Please give me a telephone number so that I may call you.