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Yarrow is an herb that I always keep on hand, especially with kids. It is part of my Sweet Dreams Sleep Tincture and I often add it to teas or preparations.
What is Yarrow?
According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
“It is a long-stemmed member of the sunflower family found in the wild throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It can be recognized by its highly segmented leaves (millefolium literally means “thousand leaves”), and the clusters of daisy-like white or lavender flowers at the top of the stalk.
Greek myth had it that Achilles painted himself with a tincture of yarrow to make himself invulnerable to arrows, everywhere on his body except his heel. Native American herbal medicine makes extensive use of yarrow. Among the Micmac people of Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, the stalk was chewed or stewed to induce sweating to “break” fevers and colds. They also pounded the stalks into a pulp to be applied to bruises, sprains, and swelling.
The Cherokee, Gosiute, Iroquois, and Mohegan peoples used it as a digestive aid. Other herbal healing traditions use yarrow to treat a variety of conditions characterized by swelling, often combined with echinacea, elder flower, ginger, and peppermint.”
Benefits of Yarrow:
Yarrow is one of my go-to herbs for children. It is helpful in relieving fevers, shortening the duration of cold and flu, helping improve relaxation during illness, and relieving cramps associated with hormones or illness. Applied topically, it is helpful with skin itching, rash or other issues.
An external tincture or poultice will often help with hemorrhoids, rashes and broken skin. Some people will notice relief from allergy symptoms by drinking a tea of yarrow and mint.
From Practical Herbalism:
“Yarrow flower used in chronic diseases of the urinary apparatus, is especially recommended by Prof. J. M. Scudder. It exerts a tonic influence upon the venous system, as well as upon mucous membranes. It has been efficacious in sore throat, hemoptysis, hematuria and other forms of hemorrhage where the bleeding is mall in amount; incontinence of urine, diabetes, hemorrhoids with bloody and mucoid discharges, and dysentery. Also in amenorrhea, flatulency and spasmodic diseases, and in the form of injection in leucorrhea with relaxed vaginal walls. It will be found to be one of our best agents for the relief of menorrhagia.”
Priest & Priest tell us that it is a mild, slow, and stimulating diaphoretic that is best used for the first stage of acute fevers, and for atonic and relaxed tissues where there is free discharge or passive hemorrhage of bright red blood. They recommend cold preparations to stimulate the appetite and tone the digestive organs, and give the following specific indications: Acute stage of colds; influenza and respiratory catarrhs; chronic diarrhea and dysentery; epistaxis; intestinal hemorrhage, bleeding hemorrhoids, uterine hemorrhage; profuse or protracted menstruation; and leucorrhea.”
From Mountain Rose Herbs:
“The British Herbal Compendium notes that preparations of yarrow lower fevers, induce sweating, stop cramps, encourage menstruation, relieve inflammation, and stimulate the release of stomach acid to digest proteins and fats. The herb is taken internally to treat colds, fevers, and indigestion, and used in skin treatments of slow-healing wounds. The Complete German Commission E Monographs recommends sitz baths with yarrow added to the bath water to relieve pelvic cramps in women.”
How We Use Yarrow:
- In homemade Buckwheat Relaxation pillows to help promote restful sleep
- In sweet dreams sleep tincture for times when falling asleep is difficult
- In teas (with mint and chamomile) during illness
- As a tea, tincture or poultice on skin for rashes and itching
- As a tincture to help ease menstrual cramps and hormone issues (not for use during pregnancy)
- Yarrow tea often helps with congestion symptoms from allergies and illness
- Adding yarrow to skin lotions, oils or salves can help with eczema or dry skin
- I add a strong yarrow tea to my child’s bath for a high fever that I want to bring down naturally
- Since it is helpful in stopping bleeding and avoiding infection, poultices of yarrow and plantain can be helpful on wounds
Where to Buy Yarrow
I buy Organic Yarrow Leaves and Flowers in bulk from here, as this is the most inexpensive way I’ve found and I just make my own teas, tinctures and poultices as needed. It can also be found in pre-made tinctures, teas, and lotions. For those who like to wildcraft herbs themselves, check with herbalists or experts in your area to see if Yarrow is a native plant.
Not for use during pregnancy since it may stimulate the uterus, but I personally use in my post-labor tincture to help tone uterus, reduce cramping and avoid hemorrhage. Some people will develop a rash from touching the fresh plant. Should be avoided by those with allergies to ragweed. There are no studies proving safety in children so ask a doctor or herbalist before using.
Have you ever used yarrow? How do you use it? Share your tips below!
Discussion (72 Comments)
What parts of yarrow can be used for what? For stopping bleeding, is it just the leaves or can the whole plant be powdered and sprinkled on wounds? What about for the bath, or tea?
Can dried Yarrow leaves and flowers be used for Sinusitis relief? thanks
Can you please tell me the recipe for yarrow tea to put in my toddlers bath? His fever is almost 104 since last night and i have some dried yarrow and i am desperate!
I have gone through your website and want to make a lot of different tinctures. First, can I use tinctures to replace a lot of common medicine? If so can you give me recipes for children?
Also, I have a 2mo old. I am nursing and giving her a Vitamin D supplement, is there an alternative to the Vit. D supplement?
Vitamin D is created naturally when our skin is in the sunlight. Just take your child outside for at least an hour each day in the sunlight (sunscreen ok, but nothing higher than 35SPF). Even on cloudy days, being outside we recieve diffracted sunlight, so keep them out often, and you don’t need Vitamin D. I never used them, but we are at altitude and it only takes 20 minutes in the sun to fulfill our D requirement. When we lived in Vermont it was highly recommended, but we did not use it, just made sure to be outside for 3 hours or so a day.
I’m trying something a bit risky with yarrow. I got it in the form of capsules, and am going to use it as a replacement for a prescription for Provera. I’m on 30mg of Provera per day to treat (more like a patch for) dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Without Provera, IV Premarin, and birth control pills I would have bled to death. I needed a transfusion 2 weeks ago. Now, I’m not saying all those drugs have worked well. I was on birth control when I needed the transfusion. I was told to take the placebo pill week, and the flood gates opened on day 3. I’ve been on Provera since the transfusion, and although I’m not bleeding out, I am still bleeding, and it’s slowly increasing. I feel like a medical mystery, and as though doctors can’t do anything more than patch me up and send me home until the next round.
I hope yarrow can help, or I’m sure a hysterectomy is in my near future.
No, Not “shepherds purse” yarrow is also known as “Auld Mans Baccy” if picking your own though, do take care, it’s quite similar to other wild plants that are unsafe, such as hog weed
Hope that helps
I think he was referring to shepards purse for stopping or slowing bleeding.
Did the yarrow capsules work for you? I’ve been bleeding for two weeks (first five days were a normal period, then suddenly it got crazy heavy). I needed a blood transfusion as well. My obgyn had prescribed progesterone as well. I did 30mg in 24 hours along with ibprofen, per the doctors recommendation, and it didn’t do a thing. that’s when I needed the blood transfusion. The bleeding stopped and then came back, though not as heavy. I’m trying to get it to stop. I bought yarrow capsules but now I have no idea how much to take or when.
Do you have fibroids?
I empathize with you greatly. After 2 weeks on low estrogen birth control, I too am seeking other herbal remedies. Unfortunately western medicine knows more about the study of cadavers than live people. I also have been threatened with bleeding out. 2 years ago after getting the depo shot, I almost did. I bled for 60 days straight. Nearly went into cardiac arrest. Now after speaking to an herbalist and soon a naturopath, I will be taking this yarrow tincture, liquid vitamin D, liquid iron, and castor oil packs plus Serrapeptase to shrink these grapefruit sized fibroids.
When I had oral surgery that did not stop bleeding for about 4 days, I made a poultice with shepherds purse and lady’s mantle, with some plantain. I pulverized them in a mortar and pestle, put the mash on my gum, covered with gauze – next morning it had stopped bleeding. They are good herbs for that purpose. They might help as a tea, but look up if lady’s mantle can be taken internally. Still, bleeding is not something to take lightly, you should probably stay on the drugs for a bit. In an ‘underground’ midwifery newspaper in the 70’s, they used cayenne tea to stop post partum hemmorhage. Always do your own checking when dealing with serious health issues – not worth risking your life. Your family needs you.
Can or will yarrow cause miscarriage if ingested as a tea
Could you share your post pardum tincture recipe?
I am fortunate to have yarrow growing wild in my little acre of heaven. I harvest it, dry it and have used it to make a healing salve. Next I will make a tincture….from all the good information I received above.
I make yarrow balm that I rub on my legs to reduce the dark color of spider vein, especially around my ankles, like my mother and grandmother had. In a large mason jar, I pour 2 cups of organic virgin olive oil in a large mason jar. I add 3/4 to 1 cup ground yarrow in place in the olive oil, shake to mix with the tightly, and let it sit in a sunny window for 30 days.
After 30 days, In a medium kettle I add the contents of the yarrow and olive oil in the kettle, along with 1 cup of coconut oil’, and heat on low heat. I the begin to shave bees wax in to the kettle. I test with my stirring spoon how firm my my balm is becoming. After stirring the mixture, i take the spoon out, cool it off, and am able to determine how thick my balm is becoming. If it too thin, I keep adding my organic beeswax until my balm has a thicker texture ti it,on the spoon.
I strain the contents in my kettle in to a wooden bowl that is covered with cheese cloth. I pull the cheese cloth out of the mixture and twist and squeeze the cheese cloth getting every bit of yarrow squeezed into my balm.
I but small mason jars, fill those, giving them as gifts them as gifts, and keeping some for myself, I use ut for buts cut scrapes, and on my legs and ankles after showering, especially in winter.
Julia, thanks for posting the recipe for your leg balm. I have been searching for a natural way to lighten the spider veins on my legs for years. They get worse every year, no one in my family suffers from them. I don’t have dried yarrow only a tincture I purchased from a local health food store. Do you think it could still work to help with spider veins?
Thanks for sharing that wonderful yarrow slave ointment i will sure to try that.
could you share the recipe to your post-labor tincture?
I have some yarrow that I was going to use for tea. Just loose leaf, steep for how long? Or… what do you recommend? The ‘link’ for tea just took me to your homepage. Thanks!
That is strange… I’ll see if I can fix the link. I just mix equal parts of yarrow and peppermint leaf (can also add some stevia leaf if you have it) and steep (covered) for about 5 minutes
Hey Wellness Mama! Can you use yarrow topically while pregnant, like in a facial toner? Thanks your your time!
I have used yarrow topically (tinctures and vinegars) but avoid it and most other essential oils while pregnant.