Take a walk along the hedgerows and verges of many parts of Europe during late spring and early summer, and you may very well notice clumps of yarrow growing in the partially disturbed soil.
The plants vary considerably in height, from 6 inches to 3 ft, and they display clusters of little flowers, ranging from white to pink, with an aroma reminiscent of chrysanthemum.
Yarrow is from the asteraceae (daisy) family, and it has a memorable botanical name, Achillea millefolium.
Millefolium means ‘a thousand leaves’ which nicely describes the ‘feathery’ effect that the foliage exhibits. The genus name ‘Achillea’ derives from the legend of the Greek hero Achilles who used yarrow to treat his soldiers’ wounds. As is often the case, folklore gives us a glimpse into uses of the oil.
Key Uses of Yarrow Essential Oil
Physically: The main uses of yarrow essential oil are:
- To soothe the skin in case of skin problems
- To support the muscularskeletal system in cases of pain and inflammation
- To enhance and support the digestive system in case of stomach cramps or bloating (create a blend in a carrier oil and massage into the abdomen)
- Blend with cypress for circulatory issues such as varicose veins and haemorrhoids
In vitro research also shows antimicrobial effects.
Psychologically: Yarrow softens the emotions. There’s something about the complex aroma which displays not only the soft azulene sweetness associated with German Camomile, but at the same time comes with a hint of the freshness of ketones. Use it in a room diffuser or personal diffuser, or add to a massage blend to help to dissolve deep negative emotions.
Yarrow Essential Oil Characteristics
Botanical name: Achillea millefolium
Common names: Soldier’s woundwort, laceplant
Part of plant: Blossom/plant
Origin: Mostly Eastern Europe (Oshadhi offers two oils from Hungary, one certified organic)
Extraction: Steam distilled from the blossoms and plant
Main biochemical compounds: alpha- & beta-Pinene, Sabinene, 1,8-Cineol, Camphene, Chamazulene, Isoartemisia ketone, Borneone
Oil characteristics: Dark blue colour, sweet and pleasant odour
Safety considerations: Considered non-toxic and non-irritating. Contains ketones. Prolonged use is not advised. Consult a medical practitioner if in doubt.
Finally, here’s another picture of that verge. Notice the St. John’s Wort in the foreground:
Two powerful anti inflammatory plants growing side by side!