A Wall Painting in Herculaneum

The uses of Yarrow and other herbs were among the Centaur Chiron’s teachings to Achilles. Yarrow, Achilleum millefollium, Milfoil, Nosebleed, Herbe a Dindes, Little Chipmunk Tail in one West Coast Native Canadian language, is among the distinctive and common “weeds” with medicinal and food uses which children can easily learn to recognize. Some others: plantain, dandelion, chicory, lambsquarters, goldenrod, nettles (ouch!), ox-eye daisies, New England aster, purslane, pineappleweed chamomile…

The same as its loud rude cousin in the Daisy family, Tansy, the stalk can be snapped off near the ground with flowering tops solidly attached. Grip the flower head in one hand then strip the leaves off between your pinched thumb and forefinger running from top to bottom. Use Yarrow leaves and the flowers as you would other flavoring herbs in a salad or in tea.

To make a pleasant healthy cold infusion to drink put any combination of leaves and flowers of edible herbs, including green or black tea (or not) whatever your preference, with water in a blender and fire away. Many healthy herbs are too strong, bitter or disagreeable tasting alone but can be less intense and even pleasant when used in combinations. Refrigeration also helps. Add a tablespoon or more dried stevia leaf in the mix to moderate the flavor. Stevia leaf is more than a sweetener; research shows it to have anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive properties.


Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L., Asteraceae) is
among the most widespread and widely used
medicinal plants in the world. It has been popular
for millennia as a treatment for wounds and
infectious diseases, as well as many other conditions.
Chandler et al. (1982) reviewed the
ethnobotany and phytochemistry of yarrow in
this journal. At that time, the extent of human
use data was already enormous, and chemical
research had discovered enough constituents
having known bioactivity that Chandler et al.
(1982) were able to conclude “Many of the
plant’s other uses can also be explained by the
types of constituents present …,” adding further
that their review had “showed that . . . at least
some of the traditional medicinal herbs were
effective.” In the intervening quarter-century,
more direct evidence regarding yarrow’s bioactivities
has been generated by bioassays and animal
studies. Nonetheless, no human clinical trial of a
single-herb yarrow product for its traditional uses
has yet been conducted. The purpose of the
present review is to argue that the weight of
evidence from preclinical research and human use
data, in the absence of such trials, is sufficient to
warrant the presumption that yarrow, used in
traditional fashion, is likely to possess useful
activity, and that the medical research community
ought to initiate more thorough studies of this
promising botanical as expeditiously as possible.