Wildflower spotlight: Yarrow

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You know what I love about native plants? They are easy to grow and survive basically on their own! They can handle a drought, they can handle weeds, and a lot of what mother nature throws at them. They also usually self seed and therefore are easy to have year after year, without a lot of work. My dad and I go back and forth on what is a weed and what is a flower. Most my my herbal plants he would honestly call a weed. Anyway, two amazing resources for herbal remedies are Medical Herbs: a Beginners Guide and Midwest Medicinal Plants.

Last year I discovered a small patch of Yarrow in my horse pasture. Once it had flowered and was starting to seed I took a few top cuts of the seed heads,  and took them to where I wanted some in my garden. I made sure to leave several established plants in the pasture just in case this crazy idea didn’t work. I put a small cage around them so the dogs didn't disturb the spot and waited for spring. I was shocked this spring when I was cleaning out the weeds and discovered a few small Yarrow plants coming up! They were the first to come up. Now I have a small patch in my garden and in the pasture. 

Once it started to flower, I took a few of the leaves and flowers to make a tincture. I saw more younger plants coming so I wasn’t too concerned about leaving enough for seeds. I took only a couple stocks from the flowering plants so they would continue to grow and have reserves for next year. Later this fall I plan to harvest some more to hang dry for use this winter in teas. 

Yarrow is excellent at helping to stop bleeding. Use as a poultice or tincture by applying topically to the bleeding wound. Yarrow can also help to dispel stagnant blood in bruises. You can make an ointment for bruises. It is also considered a bitter herb that can help stimulate stagnant or sluggish digestion. It has also been known to help stimulate the peripheral immune system during a cold and flu. 

Why a tincture? A tincture is a plant infused in alcohol. It has a very long shelf life (years). Keep it on hand as one more tool in your tool box, that doesn't really expire. 

Yarrow Tincture:

  • A glass jar to fill

  • Fresh Yarrow leaves and Flowers

  •  Alcohol 80 proof or above

  1. Harvest when in full bloom and scent is strong. 

  2. Loosely pack leaves and flowers into a jar. Fill the jar with alcohol until leaves are covered by 2 to 3 inches. 

  3. Place in a sunny spot and shake daily to mix. Allow to infuse for 4-6 weeks (write the date on the jar) you won’t actually remember when you started it. 

  4. strain the material from the liquid and place liquid in an air tight sealed glass jar. 

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