Posts tagged ‘yarrow’

November 2, 2012


Yarrow is one of Canada’s great wildflowers with a popular past, it needs to be used more often today. The Latin species name ‘millefolium,’  means thousand leaves named after the finely divided alternate feathery leaves. Thousand leaf and milfoil are also common names besides the name yarrow. Used externally the leaves are astringent which stops bleeding, reduces inflammation and speeds healing.

The Latin Genus name ‘Achillea’ is named after Achilles who healed his soldiers with yarrow during the Trojan War. Known as ‘herba militaria,’ yarrow helped treat wounds suffered in battle up to the 17th century.  Yarrow was popular and was picked to aid digestion, stop fevers and to use as a nose snuff.

There is a long history of metaphysical uses. The dried stalks were popular for divination for the ancient Chinese oracle the “I Ching.” In the middle ages the common name was Devil’s Nettle because of its use for divination and spells.

Pink Yarrow in British Columbia

The colour of the flowers vary from white to pinks in the wild. Hybrids are usually bigger and are available in beautiful bright colours of gold, yellow and reds. Yarrow is easy to grow because of its wildflower nature and grows in full sun with good drainage.

Country of Origin for essential oil production: Canada and France. Canadian essential oil is diploid and the colour is deep dark blue. European triploid essential oil variety is yellow-green colour. 


Common Name  Yarrow herb aka Milfoil, Thousandleaf
Latin Name  Achillea   millefolium
Family Asteraceae (Aster   family)
Parts Used/ Habitat Growth: Perennial   invasive wildflower grows 2-3 ft. Flowering tops picked in the summer in July
Target Organs Digestion, respiratory,   circulatory, female reproductive, skin, immune, cardiovascular
Common Uses Immune respiratory: coughs, colds, flu, fever, catarrh, infectionsVascular conditions:HBP, (Sitz bath) veins,

Skin/muscle: wounds,   bruises, sprains, strains, cuts,

Digestion:   spasms, ulcers, IBS,

Female reproductive: balancing tonic, spasms

Properties Antiallergenic,   antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic), antimicrobial,  antispasmodic (digestive, general), antiulcerogenic,   antiviral, aperient, astringent, bitter, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic,   diaphoretic, febrifuge, haemostatic (styptic, uterine) hypoglycaemic, hypotensive,   sialagogue, stomachic, styptic, stimulating emmenagogue, vasodilator (peripheral),   vascular tonic, uterine tonic, vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil:.05%-.08%Ketones: thujone, camphor;

 Lactones:achillin, achillicin,   hydroxyachillin, millifin, millifolide,


Sesquiterpenes: Azulene 1-51%   chamazulene, dihydroazulene, sabinene caryophyllene,

Oxides: 1, 8 cineole 10%

Monoterpenes: pinene 16%;

Other: flavonoids,   tannins, bitter alkaloid minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll,   vitamin C, fatty acids, phytosterol

Cautions Mild remedy:Caution due to thujone content-uterine stimulant, neurotoxin. Do   not use during pregnancy, and with babies.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4mlTea: 1-2 tsp. infuse 10-15 minutes

external use: infused water use as a compress, poultice or a wash for wounds

November 9, 2011

Botanical Arrangements

Bring the garden inside with dried botanical arrangements.

This time of year when the garden is finishing and plants are preparing for sleep, I miss having the aroma of fresh plants around. It is getting cold here and before its snows (dare I say it) I raided the garden to see what was leftover. I want to make some botanical arrangements to bring inside to adorn my tables and bring in some fresh scents. If you live in the city and don’t garden plan a walk in nature.

Lavender, Rue, Yarrow dried arrangement

I found some Lavender flowers, dried right on the stock. If I had picked it earlier the colour purple would have been brighter, but it still smells wonderful. I pruned some lavender leaves and added them to the bouquet.

The Rue flowers were starting to turn into interesting green headed seeds that look like tooth molars.

Rue seed heads look like green molars

It shouldn’t be flowering this late but I had cut it back and it bloomed again on Halloween. Rue plants help to keep away cats from doing their business in your garden, and it works because it has a strong smell. Be cautious with Rue, it is poisonous ingested in large doses. To complete the fantastic threesome, I added some Yarrow with its feathery leaves.

This is a dried flower arrangement put in a vase with no water. It will dry and it will keep its aroma for a long time.

Dogwood and Pine in sake vase

I can see why red dogwood twigs are a popular choice, they keep their brilliant colour even when dried. Dogwoods are great ornamentals or grow in the wild near marshy wetlands. I cut some twigs and matched it with a small pine tip and put it in a saké vase for a simple natural look.

Sake vase with pine dogwood and nut

I added a halved nut I found in my backyard from a squirrel no doubt. This is a dried arrangement with no water, making it maintenance free. If you add water make sure you change it often, or it can start to smell.

Dogwood, Spruce and greenery

I also put the red dogwood branches on a larger scale in a vase and paired it with a Spruce branch tip and a green creeper from my yard that dries green and keeps its shape. I put it in a vase with rocks in the bottom and I added water to this one to keep it fresh longer, but it will dry nicely as well.

All of these arrangements smell wonderful and will last for a long time with no maintenance.

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