Yarrow Throughout History
Updated: Apr 22, 2021
YARROW IS OUR HERO, OUR CHAMPION HERB
We love Yarrow for its super plant powers. Just as Achilles brought Yarrow to the battlefield as a star healer, we are bringing Yarrow into the field of clean supportive skin care to continue its story as a healing herb. Alongside Chamomile and Calendula, Yarrow is blended into our nourishing and moisturizing base to smooth and soften your skin. Yarrow is the Hero in our Bumps Be Gone Overnight Smoothing Balm, where it provides relief and works its magic on the red bumps found in the common skin issue known as keratosis pilaris. Read on to see what I’ve learned about Yarrow throughout history.
MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF YARROW
This wonderful herb also has an incredible history.
An article in the New Scientist found that Neanderthal dental tartar reveals that Neanderthals knew and used certain plants for their medicinal properties. Fossilized Yarrow pollen has been discovered in Iraq at a Neanderthal burial cave dating back to 60,000 BC. Tartar found on Neanderthal teeth showed that they consumed Yarrow, a natural astringent and an anti-inflammatory. Those same Neanderthals also consumed chamomile another anti-inflammatory.
For thousands of years Yarrow has delivered remedies aiding in health and well-being for the inhabitants of our beautiful planet Earth.
The name Achillea Millefolium came from the Greek Hero Achilles, who was one of the greatest of all the Greek warriors. Legends say that Chiron, son of Apollo, was the fairest and most wise of all the Centaurs. Chiron is credited for his work and discovery of the use of botanical plants for medicinal purposes. It is said that he shared this knowledge with Achilles. One of the most important healing herbs he shared was Yarrow. It was used to treat the bleeding wounds of soldiers on the battlefield in the Trojan War.
OTHER NAMES FOR YARROW
The proper Latin name is Achillea millefolium. I know Achillea millefolium by the common name of this area, Yarrow. It has many other names throughout the world! Tlaquequetzal, pluma de la tierra was the name given by the Aztecs which means, “feather of the land.” The Navajos used the name hazeiyiltsee’I, translating as “chipmunk-like tail.” It is also known as gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier's woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal. It is a handy plant that has styptic properties which when mashed into a poultice will stop bleeding. So, on the battlefield it has been called herba militaris, for its use to stop the flow of blood from wounds. For this reason it helpful in skin care. In a salve it will work on a wound to rejoin skin, and in many cases, wounds will heal without a scar.
YARROW WORKS HER MAGIC IN MANY CULTURES
Yarrow is said to grow around the grave of Confucius and the text of Chinese proverbs says that Yarrow will give you second sight, clear sight and promote intelligence. How will Yarrow help you get second sight? Hold the stem and flower up to your middle eye!
Yarrow has been used to brew beer for centuries in places where the soil isn’t a friendly place for hops to flourish. Traditionally it has been used to make liquors and bitters in Europe. Before hops, in the middle ages, it was Yarrow that brewed the beer.
Oriental Tradition says that places where Yarrow grows, you will not see a tiger, or a wolf or a poisonous plant. Where I live you might see a deer or a coyote though!
Native Americans have known that Yarrow is a powerful medicine for thousands of years.
Across the Earth Yarrow has been known for its ability heal wounds. Yarrow has been cherished and carried forward as an herb that is antiseptic and an anti inflammatory.
For thousands of years Yarrow has been used in tinctures, teas, powders, salves, and creams.
MY YARROW LOVE STORY
I feel like I have known Yarrow my whole life. It grew in the meadow by the house I grew up in. I would pick it and put it in a jar on the dinner table. It decorated my hair and set in my bun when I was a little girl playing dress up. Yarrow's beautiful crown of white flowers and its feathery leaves have left a strong imprint on my childhood memories.
Throughout my life Yarrow has always been there.
In my 20’s as I began to study food as medicine. I was fascinated that any minor imbalance that I had could be relieved by choosing certain foods, and avoiding others.
As I explored food as medicine, I started a journey into holistic nutrition, and on that path I was greeted by the opportunity to study plants and herbs for medicinal use. This is an area of my life that I love to spend time in. I’m still madly in love with plants and all of their gifts. Plant medicine is still one of my favorite studies by far. I love to research, find and experiment with many herbs to support the wellness of my family. I look forward to years of company amongst herbs and plants.
Through my plant journey I fell in love with all the ways the earth grows plants. Plants help support the human body in times of balance and heal the body during times of imbalance. As my initial study of food turned to herbs and the wonderful healing properties that plants have to offer, I began to know and explore my friendship with Yarrow in a different way. I learned that this common plant that has danced around my childhood, that has joyfully wandered along the edges of the trails of our local mountains, that has happily played in open sunny fields, that has dotted the roadside in my home town, is so much more than a pretty decoration. As I grew up Yarrow started to offer ways of being an especially useful plant. Yarrow is a medicine. One that has been known and used for tens of thousands of years.
Thank you for being a part of this journey in the love and knowledge of plants.
In peace, with joy, I wish you a wonderful experience as you integrate Bodelevy Botanicals into your life!
Achillea millefolium - Wikipedia
Yarrow Essential Oil (Achillea millefolium) | The School of Aromatic Studies
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Yarrow - Natural Food Series
Yarrow Plant Study (flowersociety.org)
Yarrow Uses, Health Benefits, Side Effects and Interactions - Dr. Axe
Yarrow: The Wound Healer | The Practical Herbalist
Yarrow Herb Uses & Benefits | The Upcycled Family ~ Traditional skill
Yarrow- Rich in Legend and Medicinal Use | Natural Ingredient Resource Center
Neanderthal dental tartar reveals evidence of medicine | New Scientist