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By Granny Earth, ND
The name ‘Yarrow’ is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon name for the plant –gearwe and the Dutch, yerw. It’s said that Achilles staunched the bleeding wounds of his fellow soldiers in the war with Troy, hence the name of the genus, Achillea. Its specific name-millefolium, is derived from the many segments of its foliage, hence its popular name, Milfoil and Thousand Weed. Yarrow is a perennial weed, growing wild, all around here in Pennsylvania. This wild variety has white flowers, grows in full sun and any type of soil, and up to 4 feet tall. (Other types of Yarrow are yellow).
If you’re planting Miss Yarrow in your garden, you’ll want to leave about one foot of space between each plant. She’s easy to grow and will return year after year for your health and sheer enjoyment!
The seeds germinate in 2 weeks at temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. Light is necessary for seed germination, which takes only five to seven days.
A native to Europe and Asia, Yarrow’s foliage is ‘fern-like,’ very gentle and pleasing to the eye. She is drought resistant and will grow well in any type of soil. Blooming in June, you’ll find that if you pick the flowers, she’ll bloom again in September – giving you two harvests. The flowers dry nicely if hung upside down for a few weeks, providing you with a nice dried bouquet to admire all winter long.
Yarrow may be taken internally for a variety of uses:
- fever and infectious diseases
- stops internal bleeding
- cleanses the liver, kidney and bladder
- heals mucous membranes
- stops diarrhea
- heals lungs
- aids circulation
- balances the endocrine system
Externally, Yarrow can be used as an antiseptic for wounds, rashes and deep punctures. For these you would use as a poultice, or compress.
Yarrow exhibits diaphoretic, hypotensive, astringent, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, anti-microbial, bitter and hepatic (good for liver) properties. She has a high content of magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, which makes her a useful candidate for muscle spasms, depression, hyper-tension, muscle weakness, convulsions, confusion, personality changes, nausea, lack of coordination and gastrointestinal disorders.
Yarrow is one of the best diaphoretic herbs, and is a standard remedy for helping the body deal with common colds and fevers. She lowers blood pressure (with dilation of the peripheral vessels), stimulates digestion and tones up the blood vessels, too. Yarrow also helps regulate menstrual cycles, reduces heavy bleeding and eases menstrual pain. As a urinary antiseptic, she’s indicated for use with infections, such as cystitis.
Preparations of Yarrow flower have also been shown to stimulate gastric juices. This would account for her effectiveness as a tonic for improved digestion of foods, due to the presence of bitter substances in the blossoms.
The smell of Yarrow is also helpful in reducing stress and aids in restful sleep. I’ve never tried it, but I’ll just bet that adding some Yarrow flowers to your bath along with Violet would be an exceptional treat! I once planted ‘Golden Yarrow’ from seed and got a tremendous crop. Year after year, she comes back, bigger and more beau-tiful than ever! Cutting the flowers at mid-summer and drying them upside down, the beautiful golden color never changes. It stays that way all winter long . . . just a bit of color to help me endure the long and dreary winter months.
5 Reasons to GET MOVING…TODAY!
1. Activity boosts endorphins! Struggle through your first workout…but walk out feeling GREAT!? This is an endorphin ‘rush’ or a ‘runners high.’ An endorphin rush may be likened to the after feeling of a funny conversation or a warm embrace. Those who exercise regularly have found that this ‘high’ can nearly be addictive! With a mild, sustained elevation in your heart rate, endorphins (natural hormones) are released in the body, which trigger a euphoric sensation! A great reason to be active…a natural ‘pick me up!’
Avid exercisers have reported in clinical research that YOGA and ZUMBA are two of the greatest ‘endorphin’ endorsers around!
2. Activity decreases your risk of disease and need for prescription medication! Although the decrease of disease risk seems too logical to discuss, just remember that your body was meant to be active…we were NOT meant to be couch potatoes. Among ailments and diseases that have been repeatedly proven to lessen with activity are diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, headaches, vascular disease, heart disease, heart attacks, obstructive sleep apea (OSA), dementia, high cholesterol, and more! Although medications may be necessary for many individuals we have proven time and time again, that regular activity can markedly reduce the need for prescription medications (esp. Lisinopril, Lopressor, Lipitor, HCTZ, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Insulin, Glucophage, and more). The studies are out there! And the proof is in print (http://buildingbodeez.net/proven-results.html).
3. Activity increases the likelihood of healthy relationships! A regular endorphin rush, as well as less aches and pains, and ultimately more energy will likely reduce depression, and increase your relationship satisfaction! Moreover, if you pick the right activity, with healthy folks, you may just find a new friend or a new community to enjoy.
4. Activity leads healthier joints! Natural range of motion and aches and pains slowly come about with age and sustained workload. Therefore, activity is imperative to keep the joints lubricated and functioning at a high level. Stretching after exercises is a fantastic way to decrease aches and pains! Try a JUMP STRETCH band for stretching post-workout or even at the end of a long day of yard work. You will be surprised that aches and pains lessen AND your range of motion will increase over time.
5. Activity doesn’t mean long hours on a treadmill! With recent wordlwide focus on fitness and wellness, activity no longer means mandatory hours spent walking on a treadmill! Daily chores is activity. Walking the dog is activity. Chasing your grandchild around the yard is activity. Fortunately, fitness centers are now renowned for a wealth of differing activities including group fitness, circuit and crosstraining, personal training, buddy training, outdoor training, and much, much more. Just ask us how to find ‘your fancy’ at Building Bodeez Fitness. (http://www.buildingbodeez.net).
Activity shouldn’t be thought of as a chore…its a priority. Put down the laptop, and get yourself moving…TODAY!