In folk medicine, yarrow is one of the best remedies for stopping bleeding. Actually, one of its common names, “nosebleed,” originates from its historical use in stopping nosebleeds.
Aside from being a powerful styptic or antihemorrhagic herb, yarrow is also great for digestive upset and other health problems.
Where to Find Yarrow
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a highly adaptable plant that can sprout and invade your backyard. You can identify it from its leaves that look like small ferns, and almost like a fennel. It grows its flowers in an inflorescence, typically in a white chamomile or daisy-like appearance. Some varieties may have yellow, pink, or red blooms.
Depending on your area, yarrow may grow in abundance in marshes and grasslands. They may also thrive in coastal areas, sand dunes and alpines.
You can forage Yarrow in spring or get the dried plant online for this recipe. For tincture, dried herbs are always the best because of the absence of moisture which easily spoils an herbal extract. You can also purchase your own Yarrow here.
The Many Uses of Yarrow
Yarrow leaves work effectively to stop bleeding and promote faster wound healing. Traditionally, people used fresh leaves as a poultice, or powdered leaves with warm wine to heal deep wounds. Knights from the Middle Ages called yarrow the soldier’s woundwort for its styptic, anesthetic and analgesic properties.
Yarrow not only stops the bleeding and neutralizes local wound pains but also prevents infection by disinfecting the wound surface, making it hard for germs to thrive. It can stimulate the production of platelets to provide a protective barrier to the open skin and kill the pathogens on contact.
The anti-inflammatory effect of yarrow is not only good for topical applications. Extract from the plant can be taken to alleviate sore throat, arthritis and other internal inflammation. Some venom antidotes contain yarrow extract for suppressing pain and alleviating swelling.
Infusion of dried yarrow can reduce the number of sick days caused by the common cold and flu. The secret is inducing perspiration by opening the pores and cooling the body to bring the fever down. Drinking yarrow tea increases sweating and urination to relieve high body temperature. For infant fever, a warm bath with a yarrow infusion may also help.
Soothes Digestive Upset
From the wide range of its therapeutic benefits, yarrow is also a very effective herb against digestive issues. It can ease stomach pain, bloating, and gas pains that root from different causes. If you have flatulence, a yarrow tincture can curb this embarrassing situation. Yarrow promotes bile production which helps relieve indigestion.
Helps with IBS
Cramping, diarrhea, flatulence, recurring diarrhea and constipation may point to IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disease of the colon that can be aided by yarrow. As a digestive tonic, yarrow stimulates the digestive tract and boosts the production of digestive enzymes. It also prevents muscle spasms to decrease stomach cramping.
Supports the Liver
Yarrow is a bitter herb with hepatoprotective properties. A randomized controlled trial in obesity shows the improvement of choline levels for better liver performance. Choline protects the liver against fatty liver, liver damage and prevents the development of hepatic cancer. As a synergistic herb, it is used in combination with milk thistle, the top-notch herb when it comes to liver problems.
Urinary antiseptic herbs are those herbs that reduce the bacteria in the urinary tract. It helps clear the infections and prevent the recurrence of urinary tract infections. Mild infections sometimes clear away on their own without the need for antibiotics. But, taking herbs like yarrow can speed up the recovery. It flushes away bacteria from the system and prevents bladder inflammation.
As a powerful botanical plant, yarrow is cultivated and sold as a dried or fresh herb. It is also available as a tincture and liquid extract while some stores may sell it as capsules or tablets.
How to Make a Yarrow Extract
You will need:
- Dried yarrow flowers, leaves and stem (You can also use fresh yarrow if available)
- 80-proof vodka (40% alcohol)
- Sterilized mason jar or glass jar with lid
- Amber bottle with dropper
- Fill the jar to about 1/5 with the dried yarrow. If you are using the fresh plant, fill it halfway.
- Add the vodka almost to the top, leaving a few inches to allow it to be shaken to mix. Make sure to cover the herbs completely with alcohol. Cover the jar with the lid. If you are using a jar with a metal lid, place plastic or parchment paper in between to prevent it from rusting.
- Store the mixture in a cool place. If you are using a clear jar, store it in a dark cupboard. If you have an amber mason jar, that would be better for preserving the potency of the tincture. Shake the mixture regularly, adding more alcohol if needed.
- Let the tincture infuse for 6 to 8 weeks. Strain the tincture using a very fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to completely remove all the herb residue. Any debris left in the tincture may mold and spoil the liquid.
- Transfer the tincture to an amber dropper bottle and store it in a cool and dark place. Yarrow tincture can last for up to 5 years when stored properly.
How to Use
This tincture is best for bloating, gas pains and other digestive problems. You may even use it to disinfect a cut or scrape.
Squeeze 15 to 30 drops of the tincture in a cup of warm water. Drink this three times a day to relieve digestive issues. For chronic indigestion, drink it before meals for better gastric enzyme secretion.
For quick action, dispense the tincture directly under the tongue before swallowing. Do not take any other liquid afterward for quicker relief.
You may also use a dark spray bottle if you intend to use it for topical application. For insect bites, spray the tincture directly to the affected area. But before using, test with a small patch of skin to see if you are allergic to it. You may also dilute it in water and use it as a wound wash to stop the bleeding.