07.10.2015

YARROW’S NATURAL POWER

Yarrow is an exceptionally medicinal herb of pleasant scent, characterized by its white flowers in the shape of inflorescence at the tip of its stem. It is a wildflower growing at the sides of roads, in meadows and pastures. It blooms during the summer and is picked at that time of year. Its Latin name is Achillea millefolium and originates from Greek mythology. after the hero Achilles who used this plant to heal his wounds. The ancient Greeks used it for the same exact purpose for 3,000 years. It got its Serbian name hajdučka trava (hajduk herb) after the hajduk guerrilla fighters of  South-eastern Europe from 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, who also used it to treat wounds. Native Americans used it for treating wounds, to fight infections and stop bleeding. Chinese medicine recognises this plant as a fine cure for the kidneys, liver and spleen, as well as to invigorating the energy channels of the whole body.

Medicinal properties of yarrow are manifold. Folk medicine uses it most often to ease pain or treat wounds. It belongs to the group of bitter-tasting teas, which makes it an excellent choice for stomach upsets, bloating, indigestion, as well as for detoxification (especially of the liver and the digestive tract), healing the gallbladder, battling the lack of appetite, ovary cysts, and (combined with Lady’s mantle), irregular and painful menstruations while during the menopause it relieves hot flashes. Yarrow tea is also used for its calming, sedating effects – to tackle stress and anxiety – as it increases energy levels and contains vitamin C, which in turn boosts the immune system. Also, it is a good help in treating colds, sinus infections, and the early stages of diabetes, in persistent coughs accompanied by mucus discharge, as well as for alleviating allergies caused by pollen or dust. When it comes to external use, it is used as a mouth wash, for baths and wet compresses, for haemorrhoid problems, for rashes and ulcers, dry and cracked skin, burns, stings, various skin inflammations, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and helps breast-feeding mothers in treating cracked and painful nipples.

Caution is advised to sensitive individuals when using yarrow as it can cause allergic reactions, while pregnant women should avoid it completely. Intensive use over prolonged periods of time can also lead to adverse skin reactions in the form of rash or oversensitivity to sun exposure.

Yarrow is a very useful and respected herb, as it has a wide range of application and is a common ingredient of various cosmetic products. You can make yarrow face compresses – which is recommended to people with oily skin – and the procedure of making one is not complicated. All you need is one flower of each yarrow, calendula and sage. Take three spoonfuls of each of these plants and grind them finely, then pour a glass of hot water over it, drain and use the remaining solid matter for compresses which are applied for 15-20 minutes each (you can wash your face with the drained out liquid). Also, yarrow tea can be used for face steaming, which improves circulation, opens up pores, stimulates release of toxins and prepares skin for further scrub or face mask treatment.

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There is a great many recipes for natural products you can make yourself, and all those of you who are not so keen on home-making your remedies, you can look out for readily available products, whose presence on the Serbian natural cosmetics market is, luckily, growing. Whatever you go for – making it yourself or purchasing a ready made product – yarrow’s medicinal properties are indisputable.