Yarrow, a soothing herb with healing properties

Yarrow is drought and pest resistant, as well as a great butterfly attraction, and is excellent for cutting and drying, a one-stop (easy to grow plant) shop. Some herbal healing properties present in Yarrow include anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and has been used to catalyze blood coagulation.

Consult with a licensed physician prior to starting any herbal remedy or supplement.

Featured Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels

How to grow

Growing yarrow is close to one of the easiest and most fruitful herbs you can spread in your garden. Sow your seeds indoors 6-8 weeks prior to last frost if starting from seed, if you are starting from a cutting, plant in later spring and early summer. Yarrow loves the heat and will do better with warmer temperatures.

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Keep your yarrow in check! Some species are very aggressive growers and will take over every inch or centimeter they can. As a very drought tolerant plant you only need to water them if you receive less than 1 inch of water per week in the hotter summer months.

Cut off any faded or dead-head flowers in the summer months to help encourage a second bloom.

Flowers should be harvested once they are fully open and before they begin to turn brown or yellow.

Dried yarrow leaf and flower

More on harvesting yarrow from Wildfoodsandmedicine.com:

The flower is higher in aromatic oils, whereas the leaves are higher in tannin. Leaves can be harvested any time of year but is most potent in spring and early summer. The root is used for pain including toothaches and is best harvested in fall.


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How to identify

Yarrow can be identified by the small feathery appearance of the flowers. In Spanish speaking regions yarrow is called plumajillo or “little feather” to further help with the description.

Wild Yarrow typically has white flowers, while cultivated yarrow can have yellow, orange, pink, or red flowers. The flower stalk usually stands 2-3 feet tall with a large cluster of small daisy-like flowers on top.

The stalk itself has hairy / fuzzy leaves that can stick to things. The leaves are larger at the base and spiral up to the top.

Identifying by smell

Practical reliance covers identifying yarrow by smell find the full article here.

Another great way to identify yarrow is by smell.  They have a strong smell that some describe as like chrysanthemums, and others describe as vaguely like cabbage.  There’s actually an old-time dream divination that has you place yarrow under your pillow, saying that you’ll either dream of the one you’re to marry or cabbage. 

Strange way to put it, but either the power of suggestion will work and your mind will conjure up your perfect mate, or it won’t and you’ll just be smelling cabbage all night.  I’ll admit that I tried it once in my teens, and I dreamed neither of cabbage or my true love, so it’s not perfect… 

Queen Anne’s lace, on the other hand, smells distinctly of carrots and you’ll know it if you crush the leaves.

Practical Self Reliance

5 reasons to grow yarrow by Tenth Acre Farm

covered in brief detail below, for the full article click on the link.

  1. Yarrow may accumulate nutrients.
  2. It attracts beneficial insects and pollinators.
  3. Yarrow makes a good ground cover.
  4. It has medicinal uses.
  5. Yarrow is edible and useful in crafts.


Other benefits of growing yarrow

According to the Royal New Zealand Institute of horticulture, yarrow can be used to help prevent soil erosion, with a deep root structure and being drought resistant it can offer nutrients and soil structure during long drought periods. Also as an added benefit it can be added to pastures as most livestock readily graze on it.

Note: It has been said that cow milk flavor may be adversely effected by the animal grazing on this plant.

Medicinal Uses

Consult with a licensed physician prior to starting any herbal remedy or supplement.

Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

Yarrow has a large list of possible medical uses. With many different forms of application and each treating a different aliment be sure to properly prepare and ingest your Yarrow. For topical applications it has been used to help cauterize wounds and slow bleeding. Yarrow contains two compounds that act as a catalyst for blood clotting and can be applied directly to the wound.

For its historical use in wound healing particularly in the military it was called bloodwort, herba militaris, knight’s milfoil, staunchweed, and, from its use in the US Civil War, soldier’s woundwort.


Yarrow when ingested has been known to help with blood pressure, as a treatment for thrombosis (blood clotting), and even menstrual clotting. All around it appears to help the circulatory system by bringing it back in balance, if used externally it will help prevent bleeding, if ingested it will help things flow more smoothly. With this property it is used in many homemade hemorrhoid creams as well.

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities have been seen in different species of yarrow, greatly adding to the diversity of this plant.

Native Americans have been known to use a mixture of yarrow and water to treat sunburns and is sometimes used to treat anxiety or stress.

Cooking with Yarrow

Yarrow is an aromatic herb that will add a distinct flavor to any dish. Cooking with it can be tricky but if done right the results will wow and take almost anyone off guard.

The Forager Chef has designed a dish using yarrow called “Penne Aglio Olio with Yarrow” (recipe located on the website), in this article they cover a lot of the difficulties in cooking with this herb and it’s worth the read.

Some of the difficulties in cooking with yarrow ForagerChef.com

Just like other soft herbs, high heat will destroy yarrow’s flavor. You don’t want to really “cook” it. For example, if you wanted to flavor sauteed meat or vegetables with yarrow, add it at the end of cooking just to heat it through for a moment, with the heat turned off like you would chives or parsley. Seasoning something with yarrow and then sauteing will destroy the flavor.

It’s bitter. It’s going to stay bitter, and nothing you do will change that.

I am an affiliate and links located throughout the article will provide me with a commission on any purchases made.

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Myers Greens LLC

Myers Greens is a nursery located in southwest Iowa. With the main goal of providing top quality microgreens and fresh herbs. Follow the blog to keep up to date on what we are growing.

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