According the German Commission E, yarrow is approved to support healthy appetite, as well as mild, spastic discomforts of the gastrointestinal tract. It is traditionally used externally to support healthy skin and as a poultice for minor wounds. Its efficacy in this manner is not supported by clinical data. The dried stems, leaves, and flowers have been traditionally prepared in tea infusions, as a compress, and in baths to support respiratory and skin health, for first aid, and to support a healthy immune response.*
Yarrow is a flowering perennial, common in North America but also native to Europe and Asia. Its leaves are soft and highly segmented with a characteristic appearance that is almost feather-like. Yarrow grows stalks during the summer months, with a height that is dependent upon the seasonal rainfall. During dry years, these stalks may only grow a foot or two, preserving energy in its roots. Clusters of tiny white flowers grow atop the stalks, emitting a distinctive and characteristic aroma.
Yarrow received its Latin name Achillea from the legendary Greek hero Achilles. According to the common legend, Achilles's mother dipped him into the river Styx by the ankle in an effort to make him invulnerable. Fighting many battles as a seemingly invincible warrior, Achilles used yarrow to treat the wounds of his fellow soldiers. He later died from a wound to his heel, as it was the one unprotected part of his anatomy.
Constituents of note: Bitters, chamazulene, proazulene, saponins, tannins, fatty acids.
Note: Persons with allergies to other members of the Asteraceae family should exercise caution with yarrow, as allergic cross-reactivity is common in Asteraceae plants.