Plant Speak: Yarrow


I remember one of the first amazing experiences that I had with yarrow. I went out to Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City to celebrate the summer solstice. We hiked clear out on the bluff - way out past where you are supposed to go. Ginger was only a month old.

We found this patch of soft looking greenery that we picnicked on. We watched the sun begin to dip down on the horizon. At some point I noticed that in Ginger’s tiny fist was a mini bouquet of the most beautiful yarrow I had ever seen. I then realized that we were sitting on this ground cover of yarrow that I had never seen before. We were in a meadow of lupine, paintbrush, goldenrod, grasses and this beautiful yarrow. I was so fixated on the longest day of the year that I paid no attention to the delicate ecosystem under my feet. I have never hiked back out - it seemed to precious of a spot -that coastal bluff was being gnawed at daily by ocean waves - and I wanted to respect it. I go near it and I remember that beautiful coastal meadow out there and I feel that yarrow is protecting it.

Now I have yarrow in the garden. I have 2 different types growing - well three actually, but one is the golden ornamental type. I grow the officinalis and I also grow the Coastal yarrow (Achillea millefolium L. var. litoralis) which is native to the Oregon & California coast. It has the largest flower of any species worldwide and can reach up to 8 inches across. It is very fragrant and the bees go crazy for it.

Yarrow is very astringent. It is great for tonifying tissues. Yarrow is hemostatic and can stop bleeding. I always carry yarrow essential oil in my back country first aid kit. I have seen it in action in deep cuts when a friend went spilling down an embankment. It works. It is also antibacterial, another bonus for those cuts.

In skin care, yarrow is also an elegant oil. The lace - like flowers seem incredibly feminine to me. The smell of yarrow is highly aromatic. I love how the azulene content of the flower turns the essential oil a vivid blue. The fern like leaves are so soft and the flowers long lasting. We use yarrow in our Oregon lavender lotion for its toning properties. We use yarrow oil in our hemorrhoid salve to help tighten and tone tissues as well as offer hemostatic and anti bacterial properties. In our blue burdock line we turn to blue yarrow essential oil for the toning properties and anti bacterial properties as well. Yarrow in the attitude change calming cream is great for cradle cap, for colic, and to help your child feel safe in the world outside the womb.