In ancient times and the Middle Ages age, yarrow has typically been called “military natural herb” or “Cut herb”. This is due to the fact that its primary exterior application is wound recovery: From peasants to soldiers, yarrow was used to increase wound healing, many thanks to its antibacterial as well as astringent properties. It does not stop the blood loss, however, for that other ways were utilized.
This astringency also acts on hemorrhoids when yarrow juice is drunk in the morning. Its bitterness also makes it an excellent vermifuge.
People who find the juice too bitter for their taste can prepare a decoction of the whole plant and drink it in the morning on an empty stomach. Like many plants with a pronounced bitterness, yarrow proves to be a good general tonic, a first-rate stomach medicine and an effective spasmolytic. Hence, internally, yarrow is often used for treating loss of appetite and dyspeptic symptoms in the digestive tract, flatulence and bloating).
The distinctive sign of yarrow lies in its innumerable feathery leaves, very finely cut, and of ash green color. That’s why its Latin name is Achillea millefolium; mille meaning thousands and folium meaning leaf.
Yarrow’s straight stems are slightly branched in their upper part and lignify quickly. They carry at their ends off-white, sometimes pinkish inflorescence, composed of a multitude of tiny flowers which attract many insects. Yarrow can reach a height of between 30 to 50 cm.
It flowers between the end of June and the end of August. When the leaves of yarrow are still young and close to the ground, you can add them to your salads, to your sauces or herb omelettes: chop them and sprinkle them over potatoes, stewed vegetables or any dish you like.