Woundwort: the generic name for yarrow, achillea, was granted this herb in honor of the Greek warrior-god, Achilles, who used this herb to stop the bleeding wounds of his soldiers after using the leaves successfully on himself. It has been used extensively since Achilles’ time to stop bleeding in battle wounds and has earned the folk names: soldier’s woundwart, knight milfoil, staunchweed, and herbe militaris. Yarrow is also used for the treatment of colds and flues.
Yarrow roots have been used by many Indian tribes as a local anesthetic. Scrubbed and crushed to a pulp, this medicinal mash is applied to wounds to dull the pain.
Washes made from boiled leaves and stems are also considered effective for bathing injuries. Yarrow acts as a coagulant to help stop bleeding. A healing paste can also be made by crushing the entire plant. The leaves are an aide in treating rashes, bites, inflammations, infections…you name it. A tea made from the leaves is boiled and drunk for a variety of ailments.
Yarrow is a powerful herb with many uses. An ointment for wounds made by blending the leaves with lard provides an old fashioned antiseptic/anesthetic salve. Yarrow has also been relied on as a contraceptive–don’t go there. We have better options these days.
Native Americans shared their vast storehouse of knowledge regarding herbal treatments with early colonists who used these remedies in combination with those lauded cures they brought with them from the British Isles and Europe.
*Common wild yarrow is the white variety pictured above.
I listed several of my favorite medicinal herbal/plant books in the tags below. I used woundwart/yarrow in American historical romance Enemy of the King and light paranormal/The Bearwalker’s Daughter.
For more on my work please visit: www.bethtrissel.com