Yarrow is a hedgerow bush found along many country lanes in Europe, Western Asia and North America. It has fern-like, feathery leaves with clusters of pink and white flowers and grows to about three feet.
It has many country names, such as Milfoil, Thousand-leaf, Nosebleed, and Yarroway.
Yarrow is an age old herbal medicine used for a wide variety of complaints such as fever, nervous tension and sores. It has also been used for the treatment of wounds and according to one researcher goes back as far as Achilles who was purported to use it for injuries inflicted by iron weapons. It has also been used in ointments and as an herbal infusion for dispelling melancholy. A plant of divination and used as a charm in Scotland. It is credited with powers to ward off evil spirits and young maidens placed it under their pillows to dream of true love.
Yarrow essential oil used in aromatherapy is extracted by steam distillation from the dried herb. The oil is a dark blue or greenish-olive liquid with a slightly sweet and spicy aroma. Its main constituents are Borneol, Cineole, Azulene, Limonene, and Pinene. It is anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antiseptic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, haemostatic, and hypotensive.
Uses are for acne, burns, cuts, eczema, inflammations, rashes, scars, wounds; for circulation problems - arterioscleroses, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and thrombosis. It can also be used for constipation, cramp, flatulence, haemorrhoids, indigestion; for the immune system – colds, fever and flu and for the nervous system - hypertension, insomnia and stress related conditions.
For the gentleman in your life who may be suffering a little hair loss, claims have been made that adding Yarrow to a hair rinse can promote hair growth.
In recent years therapists have used the oil on patients suffering with cancer to very good effect. It has been reported in several publications that its use on cancer and diabetes has been known through the ages.
It acts directly on the bone marrow and stimulates blood renewal. It is also an excellent oil for the female reproductive system as it has an hormonal action. Deals with irregular menstruation, especially heavy periods, menopausal problems, and inflammation of the ovaries.
Yarrow blends with Angelica, Clary Sage, Juniper, Lemon, Melissa, Rosemary, Tarragon and Verbena.
Yarrow is non-toxic, non-irritant, with possible sensitization in some individuals. It is recommended that yarrow is not used during pregnancy.
Yarrow is occasionally used in pharmaceutical bath preparations for skin conditions. It has a limited use in perfumes and aftershaves and is employed as a flavouring ingredient in vermouths and bitters.
Most essential oils are quite safe for home use. Used sensibly they are very helpful in many situations to promote good health, relaxation and well-being. It should be remembered that essential oils are extremely powerful and should always be diluted, usually 1 to 2%.
Safety Note Do not take essential oils by mouth. Store essential oils out of reach of babies and children. Avoid contact with the eyes. If in doubt about the use of any oil, consult a qualified aromatherapist.
Glossary: Antipyretic - Reduces fever Antiseptic - Destroys and prevents the development of microbes Anti-inflammatory - Alleviates inflammation Anti-rheumatic - Helps prevent and relieve rheumatism Antispasmodic - Prevents and eases spasms or convulsions Carminative - Settles digestive system Digestive - Substance which promotes digestion of food Expectorant - Helps expel phlegm Haemostatic - Arrests bleeding Hypotensive - Agent which lowers blood pressure
By Myra Lewis
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