Falling in Love with Yarrow
I didn’t plan for it to happen. Really, I didn’t.
She whispered in my ear one day.
I swear to you I’d never heard of her. But surely, I had. I must have. Maybe I lived near a field of Yarrow in a past life.
I started to read everything I could find about Yarrow.
She’s called the wounded warrior plant.
Soldier’s Wound Wort.
Still, I hadn’t met her in person.
Friends would ask me “Barbara, what’s good for…?” and I would hear the whisper “Try Yarrow!”.
Always in my left ear, by the way.
So, I would research their malady along with Yarrow and I’ll be damned, it would be a remedy!
I passed this information along with the proper warning “You are responsible for your own health – do the research and test to make sure you’re not allergic to the plant. Start with a small amount.”
Soon I had a group of friends and clients who were trying this plant that whispered in my ear. It was working!
Yarrow was making new friends!
This was happening early in the spring and I became obsessed.
How could I have this strong connection with a plant that I’d never met in real life?
I live in the city. I don’t have any gardens or meadows near me.
My chances of meeting Yarrow in my neighborhood were slim to none.
It was May and a book I’d read a few years ago kept winking at me from the bookshelf.
Like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, I went to the author’s website and discovered that he lived in Upstate NY and was having a program in a couple of weeks called “The Wisdom of the Divine Natural World”.
Surely, there would be Yarrow in the Catskill Mountains.
So I signed up, and off I went.
The first day, I excitedly enlisted my fellow students to help me search for Yarrow. Of course, they all knew about her. Every single one.
At dinner that evening, a young man from Canada came and sat down next to me. He put a little fern-shaped leaf in front of me.
“Yarrow”, he said.
My heart just about burst and I had to hold back the tears.
There she was, in all her splendid glory.
Not yet flowering, but oh-so-beautiful.
Be still my plant-loving heart.
When I returned home I was immediately homesick for Mother Nature. So I turned around the following weekend and headed up to the Omega Institute to do a program called “Gifts from the Forest”.
As I was walking through the woods I told my Yarrow story to a young man who was apprenticing with the teacher. He said to me “There’s Yarrow growing here by the building where our class is. Why don’t you dig some up and take it home?”
I didn’t feel that would be right, so I put it out of my head. But I did go over there and say hello.
She’s such a friendly plant.
On the last day of class, the young man came up to me with a pot filled with soil. He’d dug up some Yarrow (“respectfully”, he said) and told me it was hearty and I could grow it back home.
I took it with me, along with the precious medicinal mushroom tincture we’d made, and wondered how it would fare in the city.
The next day I happened to be passing through Union Square Market in NYC. It’s a huge farmer’s market and I hadn’t been there in a while.
I stopped in my tracks when I saw a sign that read
This plant really wanted my attention. She had a message for me.
And there on the shelf for sale –
I thought of the barren rooftop of my apartment building. Nothing but concrete and air conditioner units with a few tables and chairs scattered about.
Yarrow likes lots of sun. Why not?
I bought a Yarrow plant and went to pay for it. I asked the man helping me if it was his farm and he said yes. I told him my story and he smiled.
He knows how magical Yarrow is.
I took my new plant and went on my way. But the farmer chased me down and said “Wait a minute! I loved your story, please take another plant for free.”
I planted the Yarrow in a giant clay pot on the rooftop. I apologized that she had to live in such a concrete environment.
I offered some tobacco to her which is a Native American practice of giving thanks and honor to the plants and their spirits.
My neighbor, Robert, lovingly watered her when I had to leave town for a couple of weeks.
I didn’t see one leaf or flower that looked bad. This is a survivor plant, for sure.
I made Yarrow tincture and Yarrow oil and Yarrow tea and Yarrow powder from the leaves.
On the full moon/lunar eclipse, no less!
Powerful medicine, I expect, when she’s done infusing.
So, that’s my story of falling in love with Yarrow.
“What is she good for?” you’re probably wondering, right? I’m not an herbalist, but boy, have I been filling my head and heart with knowledge about the plants.
Here are some of the reasons people use Yarrow. I’ll leave a few links below of articles written by herbalists about the wounded warrior plant.
It’s not lost on me that it’s good for sensitive souls, easily hurt.
Or healers needing to protect their energy.
Yarrow. Achillea Millefolium.
- The “wounded warrior, wounded healer” remedy; “people that jump in, put out the fires, get cut to the bone, emotionally and physically;” sensitive, delicate persons, easily hurt.
- Promotes blood circulation, which can improve circulatory disorders such as varicose veins and hemorrhoids
- Urinary tract infections
- Wound healer -styptic (stops bleeding, internally and externally)
- Helps reduce inflammation in the body
- Cold/flu/supports the fever process
- Bee stings, rashes, bug bites, burns, diaper rash
- Digestive problems like cramps, indigestion, constipation, colic, and flatulence, bloating, lack of appetite
- Provides relief for arthritis and rheumatism — It helps prevent uric acid from accumulating in the joints and muscles
- Earache, toothache, gingivitis, nosebleed
- Menstrual problems (too little flow/too heavy, cramping, endometriosis, discharge)
- Menopause, night sweats
- High blood pressure where there is blood congestion
- Insect repellant for mosquitoes and ticks
- Diaphoretic (promotes sweating) and diuretic (promotes urination)
Honestly, I could go on and on about this green healer. One herbalist went so far as to suggest taking Yarrow for any ailment for a couple of weeks and see what happens.
Here’s where again, I mention, to do your own research, talk with your medical professional. I’m not a doctor. I’m not an herbalist (yet!).
I am a lover and believer in the healing power of plants. They were here thousands of years before pharmaceuticals and are way more gentle.
But the most gentle of plants can cause an allergic reaction in someone – especially in this day and age where so many people have developed food sensitivities for one reason or another.
Yarrow has not been proven safe for use in pregnancy and lactation. People who are sensitive to the Aster family may also find they have allergies to Yarrow.
We are all responsible for our own body, our own health.
That being said, don’t be afraid to explore the wonderful world of plants!
One of the blessings of the Internet is the wealth of information that’s available for free. I’ve listed a few articles below from favorite herbalists so you can learn more about Yarrow.
Maybe she’ll whisper in your ear, as well.
I hope so.
P.S. As I proofread my article I realized that I referred to Yarrow in the feminine. Curious about this, I Googled “Is Yarrow a feminine plant?” and up popped this:
“Yarrow is a feminine plant associated with the planet Venus and the element of water. The energy of Yarrow helps to increase psychic ability, helps one to embrace change, remove fear and instill courage. It is an herb of boundaries and helps to strengthen your psychic shield of protection.” –Rik Potter – “Walking a Magic Path
I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had lately about boundaries, change, and fear. You just can’t make this stuff up.
Oh, and guess what just popped up on my computer as a calendar alert?
“Yarrow tincture is ready!” 🙂
And here’s an informative video by beloved herbalist Rosemary Gladstar
“It’s one of those survivors – it’s tenacious.” — Rosemary Gladstar