Type of plant: Common perennial meadow herb growing over 2 feet high with feathery leaves and erect stems on which are heads of tiny white or pink flowers
Part used: Leaves and flowering tops
Method of extraction: Steam distillation
Data: The name Achillea comes from the ancient Greek myth of Achilles, who when wounded in battle was treated with yarrow by the goddess Aphrodite. This is more than myth though, because yarrow was still being used by soldiers in the field during the First World War to dress wounds, both to stem bleeding and to prevent infection. And even today herbalists refer to yarrow as “soldier’s wound wort,” “staunchwort,” and “nosebleed plant.” Yarrow is used in some pharmaceutical products for skin conditions, due to its anti-inflammatory agent, azulene, which gives the oil its characteristic blue color. The long, wood-like, dried stems of the yarrow plant continue to be used as the most traditionally correct tool for casting the I Ching, a mode of prophesy in China.
Principal places of production: Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, France, China
When buying look for: A deep-dark-blue liquid with an herbaceous, fruity aroma
Therapeutic properties: Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cicatrizing, circulatory, expectorant, restorative
Therapeutic uses: Rheumatism, arthritis, inflamed or injured muscles, muscular cramp, menstrual cramp, scarring, acne
Blends well with: Cedarwood, chamomile german, chamomile roman, cypress, geranium, ho wood, juniper berry, lavender, marjoram (sweet), niaouli, orange (sweet), palmarosa, rosemary, rosewood, tea tree
Precautionary advice: Avoid use if on multiple medications. May cause irritation on highly sensitive skins; a skin patch test is advisable.