My love for backyard herb gardening makes winter really tough this time of year. So to celebrate the idea of spring coming in the near future here is a little herb garden tidbit to get us looking to the coming months.
Yarrow-(also known as; Milfoil, Old Man’s Pepper, Soldier’s Woundwort, Knight’s Milfoil, Herbe Militaris, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter’s Weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed, Sanguinary, Devil’s Nettle, Devil’s Plaything, Bad Man’s Plaything, Yarroway) is a tough, hardy perennial and a potent medicinal herb. It grows easily in potted soil or directly in the ground and will come back year after year. Some people, not me, but some people consider yarrow to be a roadside invasive. I say keep it under control and maintain your yarrow and you’ve got nothing to fear.
Yarrow flowers from June to September. The whole above ground portion of the plant is used. Most yarrows grow 2 to 4 feet tall, although low-growing varieties are also available. The plants are durable, tolerate dry spells and low soil fertility. Flower colors include red, pink, salmon, yellow, and white. Yarrow are versatile and look equally at home in a perennial border, sunny rock garden, or wildflower meadow. Powdery mildew disease may be a problem in humid areas. It’s greatest use may be as a wound herb as it staunches bleeding and is antimicrobial and pain relieving. Yarrow is bitter, pungent and aromatic. Please note, yarrow is best avoided during pregnancy.
– Can be used to stop bleeding quickly
– Helps colds and fevers by reducing body temperatures and encourages perspiration. Drinking hot teas of yarrow can help fevers to break by relaxing the circulation and the pores of the skin, allowing us to sweat freely and ridding the body of infection. As a tea it should be combined with peppermint and elderflower.
-Can be a digestive remedy.
– Fresh leaves can be used to relieve toothache
-Yarrow oil can be used in shampoos
Tea – Take hot for colds and flus and warm or cool for cystitis. Or use as a wash for grazes or rashes.
Tincture – For chronic congestion in the reproductive system and high blood pressure.
Baths – For skin irritations.
Infused Oil – For first aid healing ointments or soothing creams for irritated skins.
Poultice or Compress – Spit poultices for wounds and first aid situations, compresses for larger areas of grazed skin.
Spray – The tincture or herb infused in witch hazel can be sprayed on to varicose veins to tone and move stagnant blood.
Essential Oil – A anti-inflammatory for skin conditions.
Yarrow Planting and Care:
Select a site with full sun and very well-drained soil. Yarrow thrives in hot, dry conditions and low soil fertility, but won’t tolerate wet soils. Plant in spring, spacing plants 1 to 2 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly. Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. After the first killing frost, cut stems back to an inch or two above soil line. Divide plants every 3 to 4 years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps.