Yarrow is a hardy and versatile perennial plant with yellow, red, or pink flower clusters with 4 petals each and feathery alternate leaves that are a favorite for many pollinators such as bees, beetles, and butterflies. It’s Latin name is Achillea Millefolium which is derived from the Greek hero Achilles who was taught by Chiron the centaur to use the astringent herb to treat bleeding wounds on the battle field. Yarrow is a native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and grows in abundance in many communities throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
Historically humans have used yarrow in burial ceremonies, divination, healing practices, and cosmetic cleansers. We continue to use the plant in oils, poultices, and teas to affect blood pressure, anxiety, and possibly depression. This is due to plant chemicals that have the ability to reduce the production of corticosterone in the body. In fact, this plant contains several flavonoids and alkaloids which have anti-inflammatory properties known to relieve ailments of the digestive tract.
For reproductive purposes we have found evidence of our ancestors using yarrow to tone the uterus helping to regulate bleeding and cramping which reduces the occurrence of menorrhagia. It seems this herb may also improve circulation to the pelvic region, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the area and efficiently removing damaged cells to speed up healing of pelvic congestion. Conditions such as Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis, uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts are all considered congestive states
As a safety note it is wise to avoid using yarrow during pregnancy as the astringent nature may cause restrictions within the uterus. However using this herb after birth to treat postpartum cramping and blood flow can be very helpful to reduce the risk of hemorrhage and help the uterus contract. Take caution if gathering fresh plant material as some people will develop a rash from touching the plant. Folks with allergies to ragweed may also want to avoid yarrow.
As a part of holistic reproductive wellness I create custom herbal blends containing yarrow and other herbs, such as rose, lavender, nettle, red raspberry leaf, calendula, and more to aid in physical recovery, mental clarity, and emotional calm after birth, abortion, or miscarriage. If you or someone you know is interested in creating a custom blend contact me today.
Sarah Foster is a Holistic Wellness Educator and Doula in Altamonte Spring, FL that provides whole person wellness education along with Full Spectrum Doula support for all birthing peoples. This support includes providing thoughtful emotional, spiritual, and physical support before, during, and after pregnancy and pregnancy loss. If you or someone you love in interested in support let's connect! I look forward to connecting!