Monday, July 16, 2012

Gold Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina) - Goldgarbe, gelbe Schafsgarbe

The genus Achillea - the common name yarrow is normally applied Achillea millefolium with white flowers, but may also be used for other species within the genus - has a long history as a powerful healing herb used topically for wounds, cuts and abrasions. The plant family is named for the Greek mythological character Achilles who reportedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds. Navajo Indians considered it to be a 'life-medicine', chewed it for toothaches, and poured an infusion into ears for earaches.  Several cavity-nesting birds use yarrow to line their nests because adding yarrow to nests inhibits the growth of parasites. Yarrow is considered as an especially useful companion plant, not only repelling some bad insects while attracting good, but also improving soil quality. It is considered directly beneficial to other plants, improving the health of sick plants when grown near them.

Yarrow has also been used as food, and was very popular as a vegetable in the seventeenth century. The younger leaves are said to be a pleasant leaf vegetable when cooked as spinach, or in a soup. Yarrow is sweet with slight bitter taste. The leaves can also be dried and used as a herb in cooking.

Even the Neandertal people medicated themselves by eating yarrow, as has been found out these days.

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