Yarrow received its Latin name from the Greek hero Achilles, son of the Sea-Goddess Thetis and the mortal king Peleus. Being well-versed in the magic arts, Thetis sought to make her baby invulnerable by dipping him into the river Styx. Thus, no arrow or sword could harm him, except on a small area around his ankle where his mother had held him. She also tried to make him invulnerable by fire, but Peleus disturbed her ritual. Thetis fled back to her father and Peleus gave Achilles to the centaur Chiron for his education. Chiron taught the young lad well, both in the use of weapons and in the use of herbs. He not only became one of the greatest warriors in the war of Troy, but he also staunched and healed many of his men’s wounds with the aid of a special herb named Yarrow. In older books Yarrow is sometimes called ‘Militaris’ for the services it has provided to military men throughout the ages. In Chinese philosophy, Yarrow is thought to denote perfect balance between yin and yang, the male and female energies of the universe. Thus it is considered most sacred as a divinatory tool for the famous I Ching. Yarrow is a small herb of the daisy family, which apparently pretends to belong to the Carrot family and some older writers actually seem to have been fooled by it. Yarrow has a very aromatic, bitter scent and in the past has been used for brewing ale.
Yarrow is a balancing herb and may be useful in numerous conditions depending on which herbs it is combined with. It is excellent for various inflammatory conditions, such as hayfever, colds and flu or to treat infections of the urinary tract such as cystitis and vaginits. Its bitter principle acts as a tonic for the digestive system and soothes cramps and colic. Yarrow can help to reduce fever and promotes sweating. It is an excellent styptic and can be used to staunch both internal and external bleeding. It can check excessive menstrual flow, help regulate the cycle and is useful during menopause. Externally it can be used to dress cuts and wounds and to soothe inflammatory skin conditions, rashes, acne and eczema. It is also used in hair care preparations as it promotes hair growth and checks dandruff. Yarrow may be used for varicose veins and to revive tired legs and feet.
Yarrow can be used for protection and courage. It is ideal for chakra balancing and to cleanse the third eye. It may also be used for love divination and to attune to the changing balance between yin and yang when working with the I Ching. It may also be used to seal the bond of friendship.