Yarrow has been known as a healing herb since ancient times. It has been used as a sleep aid, fever reducer, skin wash for hair loss and skin irritation, cold and flu reliever, sore throat reliever, diarrhea and dysentery reliever and pain reliever (and much more). Yarrow is possibly best known for it’s astringent properties. It is very good at stopping blood flow. Use it on cuts and wounds as a poultice. Of course seek medical attention immediately for a serious wound.
Yarrow’s ability to protect against wounds was so powerful that Thetis, the mother of Achilles, submerged him in a Yarrow concoction in order to protect him during battle. It worked well. The hero of the Trojan Wars fought without harm, until, Paris shot him in the heel with an arrow. The problem is, Thetis was holding Achilles by his heels and did not dunk his feet into the Yarrow. His heels were unprotected. Bleeding to death, Achilles Yarrow protection ended at his ankles. Thus the scientific name for Yarrow is Achillea milefolium. Named after the hero it protected (Achillea) and the feathery look and feel of the leaves that resemble Milfoil (milefolium). It is also said that when you find someones weakness, you have found that persons “Achilles Heel”. Of course, the crucial tendon in the back of your foot is named for the hero who was brought down by his unprotected heel…which is now named Achilles Heel.
A close up examination of the flower cluster atop of the stem will verify that it is in the Aster Family. Notice the small individual flowers that are within what appears to be a single flower.
Now, with all that good stuff, to wrap it up, the leaves are also a good pot herb, and dried, it is a fine tea. Just one more Wild Edible that you would be well served to study and add to your Foraging list.
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