Common Name: Yarrow
Botanical Name: Achillea millefolium
Place of origin: Yarrow is originally native to Europe and Asia. Brough to North America during colonial times, yarrow is now naturalized in the United States.
Ideal growing conditions: Yarrow is a very hearty plant that makes a lovely addition to any garden. Since yarrow is most commonly propagated by division, you are mostly likely going to be buying yarrow as a plant rather than a seed. If planting multiple, space the plants 1-2ft apart in full sun. Yarrow is not picky about soil, so do not be overly concerned if your soil is of poor quality. Once planted, yarrow only needs to be water infrequently.
Parts of the Plant to use: The flower is the most commonly used part of the plant. You should harvest it when the flower is fully open but not yellowing yet. Cut the flower as close to the head as possible and discard the stem. To harvest the leaves, take the stems and run your hand down it to remove the leaves.
Benefits/Properties: Yarrow can be ingested or applied topically, making it a very versatile herd. When brewed as a tea, yarrow can be used to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding and period cramps. It can also be used for first aid as a powder to stop wound bleeding.
Culinary: All through not frequently used in cooking, yarrow does appear in several recipes such as this Penne Aglio Olio with Yarrow. This unique recipe, and many others that feature foraged herbs can be found here: https://foragerchef.com/cooking-with-yarrow/.
Medicinal: Brewing yarrow tea is the most common way to use yarrow. To make it, add some fresh yarrow leaves and flowers to boiling water, and let it steep for 10 minutes. If you want, you can remove the leaves or leave them in. This tea is notoriously bitter, so it is recommended that you add lemon and honey.
To make it into a powder, add dried yarrow leaves to a coffee grinder and pulse until the leaves are a fine powder. Make sure to store the powder in a dry container and add it to your first aid kit. The powder can be used to spot bleeding by putting the powder on small cuts and wounds to help stop the bleeding.
Anything else: Fun fact! In Eurasia, there are 110-140 species of Yarrow, but only three in North America.