This plant has a long history. It is believed that Achilles learned of Yarrow's healing powers from the centaur Chiron and then used this plant to heal the wounds of his soldiers during the battle of Troy. The name "Soldatenkraut" (soldier's herb) remained in use throughout the Middle Ages thanks to yarrow's ability to staunch the flow of blood. In Germany and Italy, yarrow was used to preserve and flavor wine by placing blooming stems in the barrels. Yarrow was considered a sacred plant among many cultures. The Druids used yarrow stems to divine seasonal weather and the Chinese used the stems to predict the future using the I Ching, which is also know as the "Yarrow Stick Oracle". It also was believed that yarrow could keep you from catching the plague.
Yarrow is a hardy herbaceous perennial that grows 1-3 feet (60 cm). It thrives in just about every climate, growing as a wild flower along forest paths and in meadows as well as cultivated in the garden. Yarrow blooms from summer to autumn. The small white or pink flowers have a pungent scent. The leaves are long and narrow, divided into many smaller leaves, giving them a feathery appearance. When rubbed between the fingers, the leaves smell of camphor. They are rich in vitamins and minerals.
This plant prefers full sun but will tolerate a bit of shade. Yarrow can be propagated by dividing roots in spring or autumn. They propagate themselves by seeds in the spring. Yarrow can not be grown indoors. Deadhead yarrow to force a second blooming. Leaves can be gathered from June through September. Flowers can be collected directly after blooming between July and August. The entire plant can be dried if picked when it begins to bloom.
The young leaves can be chopped and added to salads. They taste slightly bitter.
Yarrow is believed to help other plants near it resist disease.
A single leaf can speed up decomposition if chopped and added to compost.
The flowers can be infused and used in a facial steam or tonic lotion. The infusion also can be used as a base for a face pack for oily skin.
An infusion of flowers can be used for a relaxing bath (one or two hands full of dried leaves and flowers) and is good for sensitive skin.
A paste of yarrow (5 grams finely chopped plant in 1 liter water) massaged into the scalp every day stimulates hair growth Chewing a fresh leaf can relieve a toothache.
The leaves can be infused as a tea (3 grams leaves in 1 liter water) for digestive complaints, and to regulate menstrual flow. This infusion of leaves induces perspiration, helping to cleanse the system and relieving a cold or fever. A decoction of leaves (8 grams of leaves in 1 liter water) can be used on wounds, chapped skin and rashes. A decoction of leaves also can be used as a mouthwash to relieve inflamed gums.
Note: One book says that extended use of yarrow leaves could make the skin sensitive to light.
10 grams yarrow flowers
a bit of lemon peel
1 liter rosť wine
Mix the ingredients together and let sit for 10 days. Filter and serve as a refreshing aperitif.
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