A native to Eurasia, it grows throughout the northern hemisphere, including temperate regions of the Arctic. It takes root in meadows/lawns, open woodlands, wastelands/roadsides and is typically harvested throughout the summer as it blooms.
The size of the plant is influenced by its environment (soil quality, compactness, sun exposure and the like). Its overall height ranges from 8 to 39 inches. The leaves are furry and grow spirally on the stem, and range from 2 to 8 inches long with the largest leaves at the bottom of the plant.
I’ve used yarrow to staunch bleeding of open cuts, especially punctured or deep cuts, bloody nose, using the raw plant, powdered leaf, as well as tincture (which stings, but I say you use what you have on hand). Yarrow is named for Achilles, the Greek warrior who relied on the herb to staunch the wounds of his soldiers on the battlefield, so there’s folklore to back up this particular action of this particular botanical.
Its astringency makes it a great option for treating hemorrhoids, externally and internally. When a “wet or weepy condition” presents itself, I often think: Yarrow!
Henriette Kress says that it “works a little like Echinacea, in that it makes white blood cells more ‘trigger-happy.’”
A tincture of yarrow makes a fine bug spray, deterring mayflies, mosquitoes, and even ticks. I’ve blended it with catnip and other tinctures, but find it, all on its own, to be delightfully effective. Sure, you have to reapply it, especially when starting its use, but I swear the impact is cumulative, for I seem to need less and less as the season wears on, as well as each year.
I’ve made infused oils and balms to support joint and muscle discomfort, and while effective, it’s not my GoTo. It does work nicely to dispel “stuck” blood externally, and in this way I do consider it my local arnica. I’ve also added it to my breast massage balms to enhance blood flow, and Susun Weed indicates just that in her book “Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way.”
The dried stems were apparently used to throw the I Ching. My spouse and I have used them for playing pick-up-sticks on those long summer evenings when kicking back time kicks in.
Balms, ointments, lotions
wikipedia.org for the botany bits
Walk in the Woods, LLC