Achillea millefolium L. synonym Achillea lanulosa Nutt.
Athair thalmhainn (earth/ground father), Cathair thalmainn (ground
seat or chair), Doggie's Brose, Eàrr-thalmhainn, Hundred
leaved grass, Lus na chasgadh na fala (Plant that staunches bleeding),
Lus na fola (blood weed), Meal-and-folie, Melancholy, Milfoil, Knight's
Milfoil, Moleery Tea, Stanch-girs, Thousand-leaf clover, Wild pepper,
Old Man's Pepper (i.e. devil's), Yarra, Yarroway, Thousand Weed,
Nose Bleed, Carpenter's Weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed, Sanguinary,
Devil's Nettle, Devil's Plaything, Herbe Militaris, Soldier's Woundwort,
fairy herb long held in great esteem it grows handily on most
roadsides and waste places. For the tramp on the road, the soldier
behind enemy lines or a last post-apocalyptic survivor in the
wilderness….. this plant is there when and where they need
Despite the myth, that Achilles discovered the healing
uses of this herb, I suspect Palaeolithic hunters knew the virtues
of the plant long before the siege of Troy, as well as many a
later sodger that had never heard of Achilles. It is almost a
panacea. The plants bitter astringent taste is at first off putting
but it is not hard to develop a fondness for it in time. For me
the taste and smell provoke a bittersweet melancholy like a nostalgic
half memory of Tir na nÓg or of a youthful romance (in
Orkney yarrow tea is actually held to dispel melancholy).
Be warned however, for there are reports of habitual
heavy users (culinary or medicinal) developing a sensitivity resulting
in allergic rashes and photosensitive skin.
"I will pluck the yarrow fair,
That more benign will be my face,
That more warm shall be my lips,
That more chaste shall be my speech,
Be my speech the beams of the sun,
Be my lips the sap of the strawberry.
May I be an isle in the sea,
May I be a hill on the shore,
May I be a star in the waning of the moon,
May I be a staff to the weak,
Wound can I every man,
Wound can no man me."
- from Alexander Carmichael's Carmina Gadelica.
Non-medical uses of yarrow
As a food or condiment, in small quantity in
salad or cooked. As a tea (flowers & leaves), also has uses
as an insect repellent, cosmetic cleanser for greasy skin, to
produce a liquid plant feed and as a constituent of a compost
accelerator. Yellow and green dyes are obtained from the flowers.
The dried stalks are used for the ancient Chinese divination rite
of casting the I Ching. In Britain the dried herb has also been
used for love divination by dreaming with it under the pillow.
Medicinal uses of wild
Antiinflamatory, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic,
Aromatic, Astringent, Carminative, Cholagogue, Diaphoretic, Digestive,
Emmenagogue, Odontalgic, Stimulant, Tonic, Vasodilator, Vulnerary.
of medical actions
Yarrow has a high reputation and is widely
employed in herbal medicine, administered both internally and
externally. It is used in the treatment of a very wide range of
disorders but is particularly valuable for treating wounds, stopping
the flow of blood, treating colds, fevers, kidney diseases, menstrual
pain etc. The whole plant is used, both fresh and dried, and is
best harvested when in flower. Some caution should be exercised
in the use of this herb since large or frequent doses taken over
a long period may be potentially harmful, causing allergic rashes
and making the skin more sensitive to sunlight. The herb combines
well with Sambucus nigra flowers (Elder) and Mentha x piperita
vulgaris (Peppermint) for treating colds and influenza. The herb
is antiseptic, antispasmodic, mildly aromatic, astringent, carminative,
cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, odontalgic, stimulant,
bitter tonic, vasodilator and vulnerary. It also contains the
anti-inflammatory agent azulene, though the content of this varies
even between plants in the same habitat. The herb is harvested
in the summer when in flower and can be dried for later use. The
fresh leaf can be applied direct to an aching tooth in order to
relieve the pain.
Plants For A Future,
Flora Celtica, www.floraceltica.com/,
Flora Celtica is an international project based at the Royal Botanic
Garden Edinburgh, documenting and promoting the knowledge and
sustainable use of native plants in the Celtic countries and regions
Carmichael, A. (1997 reprint). Carmina Gadelica: Hymns & incantations
collected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the Last
century. Floris Books, Edinburgh.
The Really WILD Food Guide, www.countrylovers.co.uk/wildfoodjj/index.htm
Back to Other flowers of Scotland"
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