The history of Yarrow goes back a long way. The first possible use of this plant goes back to Shanidar cave in Iran where remains of ten Neanderthals were found dating to 35,000 to 65,000 years ago. Yarrow was one of the plants found in with these bodies indicating it was important to this culture. We don’t know what significance was attributed to Yarrow at this point. Did these people just like the look of the plant or did they use it in some way?
Yarrow has been long known as a battle or war plant. The Latin name Achillea refers to Achilles heel from the battle of Troy. It has been employed as a battle wound plant for its styptic (stems blood flow) abilities. It was applied directly, and we can imagine how useful this would be in a bloody battle. Dioscorides used Yarrow for dysentery which in some battles took as many lives as lead and steel did. Today Yarrows styptic ability in the field is applied to less traumatic situations such as on countryside walks and camping.
Yarrow is interesting in that as well as stemming the flow of blood it can help promote the flow of blood when this is desired. This can be the case for some women at the time of their periods, that’s another blog post though! Balance.
Yarrow can also help with blood pressure by opening up the small capillaries in the hands, feet and head. This allows for better general blood flow and taking some strain off the heart muscle and this in turn can lower blood pressure. It can also improve low blood pressure, but this mechanism isn’t understood yet. Balance.
Yarrow has many properties, far too many to go into here and some have not been investigated yet. One interesting property of Yarrow is how it is when with other plants. Some plants compete for light and nutrients with each other. In some environments this is necessary but for Yarrow it appears to be the almost opposite of that competitive necessity. In companion planting in gardening, Yarrow is put next to sickly plants to help them heal.
Yarrow is in the NUDE BODY bar for its balancing abilities and it’s way of working with other plants.
- By Natasha Lloyd (BS) Herbal Medicine,
Licensed Herbalist at NUDE LLC