I’ve read that many native American medicine men had a special plant that represented their personal “plant medicine.” If I were to pick just one herb that represented my personal medicinal plant, it would be yarrow. Yarrow was the first plant I learned to identify as a teenager and I’ve always been fascinated with it. My field guide said that Native Americans used yarrow to stop bleeding and heal wounds. It also said they chewed the leaves to relieve toothache, drank the hot infusion for colds and fever, and consumed a cold decoction for stomach and kidney problems. It fascinated me that one plant could be used for so many different purposes, which stimulated my interest in edible and medicinal plants.
Yarrow was also the first herb I tried using. I slapped some yarrow leaves on some cuts when I forgot my first aid kit on an outing. I also tried making some leaves into a tea when I was sick (it tasted terrible). Later, I drank a tea made of the flowers to try to improve my health. The tea tasted terrible, but I gagged it down anyway. Now I mix it with peppermint or peppermint and elderflowers. It’s the principle herb in a cold, flu, and fever formula I’ve made for years called Children’s Composition. (The recipe is in the Dr. Mom-Dr. Dad course.)
It wasn’t until I learned about North American flower remedies that I really understood why I was so attracted to yarrow. The flower essence is for people, especially in the healing field, who are too empathetic. As a result, they feel overly responsible for fixing other people’s problems. The flower essence helps the healer maintain their empathy and compassion for their clients without taking the responsibility for fixing the problem away from their clients. If you find yourself overwhelmed trying to fix everyone’s problems sometimes, you may need yarrow as a flower essence. (People with lymphatic rosaries in their iris are very prone to this.)
Matthew Wood says yarrow is for “the wounded warrior and the wounded healer.” It’s easy to see why. Its ability to stop bleeding and speed wound healing have led it to be used to staunch battle wounds in Europe, America and China for thousands of years. It also fights infection and helps ease pain. Its ability to allow the healer to not “take on” the problems of their clients means it also heals the healer.
Yarrow flowers are one of the best remedies in the plant kingdom for fevers. Yarrow removes “heat” from the blood and helps clear even severe fevers. It promotes perspiration, moves stagnant blood and has an antiviral action. Yarrow is also a lymphatic moving remedy.
Yarrow’s ability to move “stagnant blood” and stop bleeding makes it a valuable remedy for female problems, including heavy menstrual bleeding, painful periods and uterine fibroids.
Yarrow’s many benefits explain why it is included in 12 NSP formulas, besides being sold as a single. It’s tissue healing qualities make it valuable in Bone/Skin Poultice and Golden Salve. It’s ability to help the lymphatic system result in its inclusion in Lymphomax, Lymph Gland Cleanse, and Lymph Gland Cleanse-HY. In fact, yarrow is a key constitutional remedy for people who have a lymphatic rosary in their eye pattern. It not only helps the physical problems people have with a lymphatic rosary experience, it helps balance the emotional traits associated with this iris sign.
The antiviral properties of yarrow help CC-A fight colds and other acute viral disorders. It’s ability to decongest the pelvis and stop heavy menstrual bleeding make it a key ingredient in Menstrual-Reg. It is also found in the blood purifying formula BP-X because it moves stagnant blood and helps perspiration. It lends these same properties to Joint Support.
Yarrow is also helpful as a remedy for side effects of diabetes and urinary tract infections. It is an ingredient in Pro-Pancreas, P-14 and Chromium GTF.
Being the first herb I identified, the first herb I used, and the first flower essence I tried, yarrow will always be a plant near and dear to my heart. For me, yarrow symbolizes the incredible healing powers of the plant kingdom, which even provides a remedy to heal the healer.
Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier
Herbal Therapy and Supplements by Merrily A. Kuhn and David Winston