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The Cottage October/Samhain Issue
Herb of the Month


The Herb of the Month

Yarrow
(Achillea millefolium)

PLANET: Venus
ELEMENT: Water
Gender: Feminine
USE IN MAGIC: Healing, Divination, Courage, Love, Psychic powers, Exorcism
PART USED: leaves and flowering tops, gathered June to September



Other names:

Folk Names: Achillea, Arrowroot, Bad Man's Plaything, Carpenter's Weed, Death Flower, Devil's Nettle, Eerie, Field Hops, Gearwe, Hundred Leaved Grass, Knight's Milfoil, Knyghten, Lady's Mantle, Milfoil, Militaris, Military Herb, Millefolium, Noble Yarrow, Nosebleed, Old Man's Mustard, Old Man's Pepper, Sanguinary, Seven Year's Love, Snake's Grass, Soldier's Woundwort, Stanch Griss, Stanch Weed, Tansy, Thousand Seal, Wound Wort, Yarroway, Yerw.

Features/description: The stem is angular and rough, the leaves alternate, 3-4 inches long and 1 inch broad, clasping the stem at the base, bipinnate, the segments very finely cut, giving the leaves a feathery appearance. It flowers from June to September. The flower, white or pale lilac, being like small daisies, in flattened, terminal loose heads, or chymes. The whole plant is more or less hairy, with white, silky hairs.

Cultivation
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. Tolerates light shade. Soil-moderately rich and moist. Propagating-sow or divide invasive roots in spring or autumn. Growing-thin or transplant to 12 inches apart. Plant will bloom a second time if they are deadheaded. Not suitable for indoor growing. Harvesting-gather leaves and flowers in late summer. Preserving-dry both leaves and flowers.

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.

Culinary-
LEAF, finely chopped slightly bitter, peppery young leaves into salads and cheese dips. Used like flour (the root) to thicken sauces

Yarrow ale was a traditional drink at country weddings for centuries be fore the introduction of Hops to brewing. The ale has all of the healing qualities of the herb.

Yarrow Ale

(makes about 8 16-oz. bottles)

1 gallon water (use bottled spring water)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup organic unsulphured molasses
1 oz. dried Yarrow flowers (enough to pack two muslin tea bags)
1 quart strong Sage infusion
1 packet brewer's yeast

Bring the water to a boil. Add the brown sugar, molasses, and one of the muslin bags of Yarrow. Boil for a half hour. Remove the herb from the "wort," and allow the liquid to cool to 70 degrees (about room temperature -- this will take a couple of hours). While the wort cools, prepare your fermenter. This can be any glass container larger than one gallon, with a wide mouth. Wash with soap and water, and rinse first with boiling water and then with a strong infusion of Sage to discourage unwanted bacteria.

Pour the cooled wort into the fermenting jar. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and let it sit for about fifteen minutes. Add the yeast/water to the jar, and suspend the second muslin bag of Yarrow in the wort. Cover the jar loosely with plastic wrap or a loose top so the developing gas can escape. Let it foam up for a week or ten days. When the foam is gone, wash and sterilize bottles as above (recycled Grolsch beer bottles work well). Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to each bottle. Pour ale into primed bottles and cap or cork, label and date. Set bottles in a cool spot for a couple of weeks to carbonate, then refrigerate and enjoy.

Medicinal-

LEAF, The Yarrow plant has been used throughout the ages for its healing properties. Yarrow is known to help with high blood pressure, digestive problems, and as an antiseptic. Yarrow can help with varicose veins, and other circulatory disorders. It has a balancing effect on urine flow, and help to cure bedwetting. It is used to alleviate muscle pain and headaches infuse as a tea for digestive problems.Aids progesterone production. Shrinks fibroids and hemorrhoids,Dries secretions & reduces menstrual flooding ,Regulates blood sugar levels & mood swings Yarrow tea is a good remedy for severe colds and is useful in the commencement of fevers. It opens the pores freely and is recommended for colds and measles.

NOTE: extended use may make skin light-sensitive Do not use Yarrow during pregnancy, for undiagnosed bleeding, or for more than two weeks.

Yarrow Tea

The infusion is made with 1 oz. of dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water.
It may be sweetened with sugar or honey with a small amount of pepper.
Tea Tips:

Tea - 1 oz herb per 1 cup water.
Drink 1/2 - 1 cup every hour until cold/ fever breaks or bleeding stops

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.

Other Uses

WHOLE PLANT, helps nearby plants to resist disease.

LEAF, speed decomposition by adding one chopped fresh leaf to each wheel barrel-load of compost.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.


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Cosmetic-

FLOWER, infuse flowers for a facial steam and tonic lotion. Yarrow has wonderful effects on the skin and hair; it can be used as a tonic for hair and scalp. It promotes hair growth, and aids the natural healing process for wounds, cuts, dry skin, and rashes. The smell of Yarrow is also helpful in reducing stress felt, and aids in restful sleep.

Yarrow and Chamomile Lotion

**Excellent for oily skin**

Place 1 tbs. dried yarrow flowers and 1 tbs. dried chamomile flowers in a bowl. Add 2 cups boiling water. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Stir again then strain off the liquid. Pour into glass bottles.

AROMATHERAPY USES

acne, burns, cuts, eczema, hair rinse to promote hair growth, inflammatory rashes, scars, tonic for skin, varicose veins, wounds, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, thrombosis, constipation, cramp, flatulence, hemorrhoids, indigestion, amenorrhea.



Magical Uses

When worn, it protects the wearer, and when held in the hand, it stops all fear and grants courage.A bunch of dried yarrow hung over the bed or used in wedding decorations ensures a love lasting at least seven years. It is also used in love spells.Carrying it not only brings love but it also attracts friends and distant relations you wish to contact. It draws the attention of those you most want to see.The flowers are made into an infusion and the tea is drunk to improve psychic powers.Washing the head with a yarrow infusion will prevent baldness but won't cure it if it has already begun.It is also used to exorcise evil and negativity from a person, place or thing.It is sacred to the Horned God The stalks are used for divining in the I CHING. Yarrow lulls the conscious mind and allows psychic communication. Large patches of yarrow growing in a field indicate a very grounded energy spot. Sit there to center and relax.

USE IN PERSONAL GROWTH

-opens the mind and seventh chakra to inspiration from spirit.
-cleanses body and aura
-protects from invasive thought forms

On finding yarrow in bloom under a waxing moon for the first time in
Spring, bow to the plant and ask her permission to gather a sprig.
As you do so, chant:

"Yarrow, sweet yarrow, the first I have found!
"In the name of my Lady, I pluck from the ground.
"As father loved mother, taking her for his dear,
"In my own dreams tonight, may my true love appear."

If you sleep with the sprig under your pillow, you will see the face
of your true love in your dreams.

PSYCHIC TEA

3 parts Rose Petals
2 parts Thyme
2 parts Yarrow
1 part Cinnamon
1 part Clove
Brew in boiling water for about ten minutes.
Strain and add honey for taste if needed, do
not add cream or milk. Use before divination
psychic work, and astral travel to enhance the
awareness.

Yarrow, in the eastern counties, is termed Yarroway, and there is a curious mode of divination with its serrated leaf, with which the inside of the nose is tickled while the following lines are spoken. If the operation causes the nose to bleed, it is a certain omen of success:

'Yarroway, Yarroway, bear a white blow,
If my love love me, my nose will bleed now.'
An ounce of Yarrow sewed up in flannel and placed under the pillow before going to bed, having repeated the following words, brought a vision of the future husband or wife:
'Thou pretty herb of Venus' tree,
Thy true name it is Yarrow;
Now who my bosom friend must be,
Pray tell thou me to-morrow.'
(Halliwell's Popular Rhymes, etc.)

Remember all things are good in moderation. This is no exception for Yarrow. Excessive use can cause headaches and irritate skin. During pregnancy it is advised to use with caution.

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