Yarrow has been valued since ancient times for its ability to stop bleeding, hence its folk name "nosebleed." Today, yarrow is valued for its ability to fight off colds and flu. It is also an ingredient in many herbal cosmetics. Dried and cut flowers are used in arrangements.
Flowers heads are flat and 2" to 6" across on 2' to 5' stems. Colors include white, yellow, gold, pink and red. The aromatic foliage is green or gray.
Yarrow is an undemanding plant that thrives even in poor soil but does best in a sunny position with good drainage and light soil. Yarrow grows well in zones 3-8 with some cultivars extending to zone 10. Plants are susceptible to disease in humid areas.
Propagate from seeds, by root division or from woody cuttings taken in autumn or spring. They can take a year or two to establish themselves from seed. Place the plants 1-2 feet apart and divide the clumps when they become crowded. Taller cultivars may need to be staked, especially if grown in very fertile soil.
Mildew is a fungal disease which causes grayish downy spots on leaves. Plants which do not have adequate sunshine or air circulation, or those grown in humid climates are most susceptible. Spray with sulfur early in the morning while foliage is still slightly moist with dew. Badly infected plants should be cut down and destroyed.
Do not use yarrow during pregnancy, for undiagnosed bleeding, or for more than two weeks.
Use flowers, leaves and stems.
A piece of the plant held against a wound will staunch bleeding.
An infusion can help to break a fever.
A tea made from yarrow with peppermint and elderflower can be used to fight colds and flu.
Yarrow can be of benefit in mild cystitis.
Improves circulation by acting as a vasodilator.
Lowers blood pressure.
Adds color to a border. The flat heads add contrast to mounding or spiky plants.
Use in fresh arrangements.
Makes attractive dried flowers if cut before the sun bleaches them. To dry the flowers, cut them at their peak before they start to fade and hang them head-down in clusters of six to 12 in a dry, airy place out of the sun.
Fragrant addition to potpourri.
Find out how to make simple skin care products from yarrow at
The Chamomile Times and Herbal News