Yarrow Energetics take your Herbal practice to the next level. One of the first herbs most of us learn for first aid is Yarrow. It’s a handy flower to have in the garden and around the house to staunch bloody wounds, especially those that go deep and run bright red. Yarrow’s fever-quelling properties are another reason it’s at the top of most beginning herbalists’ material medica lists. Yarrow’s forgiving, so when we learn to apply her in those blanket situations, she’ll often lend a hand if she can. Like her leaves, however, her properties and application can be far more intricate and defined when you think about yarrow’s energetics.
In most traditions, Yarrow is considered cooling and drying. While it can cool a fever that’s gone deep, resulting in signs of deep heat like delirium, restlessness, or insomnia and inability to sleep; pale complexion with patches of bright red that looks much like one who’s been out on a windy and brisk day; and hot, dry skin, it can also stir up deeply seated inflammation and cause heat to rise through the tissues to the body’s surface, causing it to seem to intensify or bring on a fever. This is one of the contradictions of yarrow – it seems sometimes to cause what it cures.
Used topically, yarrow can help muscles that don’t want to release their tension finally let go. In this way, yarrow is working to release deeply seated heat (the incident that caused the initial tension) and draw it to the surface to release it. I used a salve of yarrow this way on my shoulders one evening. The first result was that my skin became warm to the touch and circulation increased. As the evening wore on, I became more and more hot, ultimately resulting in a fever that lasted through much of the night. I slept deeply and dreamed of a long-gone incident. The next day, the tension that hadn’t loosened for any of the other balms and massage techniques I’d tried was gone. Yarrow had penetrated the stuck muscles deeply and helped move blood through the tissues, which resulted in the release of inflammation, thus the heat rising to the surface.
Internally, yarrow helps release heat and promote circulation. It’s most helpful when you see signs of stuck heat. Along with the classic signs, Often, the tongue pattern is red with dryness in the center and wetness on the edges, possibly a thin coat. The pulse can be full, rapid, and non-resistant.
In TCM, yarrow is used to help clear stagnant and stuck or blocked blood. Bruising that’s both red or swollen with blue to black coloring is a clear example of stagnant blood, as is menstrual cramping and uterine fibroids. In all cases, the blood, or waters of the body, has pooled and gotten stuck. Internal or external application of yarrow can help improve circulation and get those stuck areas moving again. In Traditional Western Herbalism, yarrow may be combined with elder berry and arnica for an all-purpose anti-bruising remedy to move stagnant blood. In the case of heart conditions and high blood pressure, yarrow can be included in formulas designed to dilate the blood vessels and move blood more easily. This is akin to its use for reducing varicose veins and mover of stagnant blood.
In Ayurvedic practice, yarrow is used to balance Pitta while reducing excess Kapha and increasing Vata. This points nicely to yarrow’s cooling, drying properties as well. By balancing Pitta, or the body’s fires, yarrow reduces heat such as fever and inflammation. Drying helps to reduce excess Kapha in the form of water, which can look like pooled or stagnant blood or other liquids of the body. The action that get Kapha moving is Vata, which is how yarrow moves heat to the surface of the body. It is wise to note that when excess Vata is present, you should look for a Vata-reducing alternative, such as Elder flowers or Lavender.
From an emotional perspective, yarrow flower essence is helpful for clearing excess emotions or energies that have invaded the individual, underscoring yarrow’s affinity for repairing deep wounds and healing boundaries. Emotional and environmental energies that invade sensitive individuals are like invasive forces, fire from which there is no escape. Sometimes, as is the case with many caregivers, they’ll know that a lot of what they’re feeling has been absorbed or is in resonance with that which is beyond themselves, but you don’t need to have that awareness of the energy’s origin for yarrow to help clear your system and create stronger boundaries.
Yarrow flower essence works particularly well when you notice feelings in mind, body, or spirit of irritation, anger, depression, or sadness of unknown origins or that persist no matter what you do to fix it. Likewise, when you have pains or discomforts in your body that mimic those of close family, friends, or co-workers, yarrow flower essence may be a help. Highly Sensitive individuals and Empathic, Intuitive folks or Spiritual Seekers are often best helped by white or standard yarrow flower essence while Caregivers and those in healing professions are often better helped by pink yarrow flower essence.
Resources for Yarrow Energetics:
- The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines by Matthew Wood
- Flower Essence Repertory: A Comprehensive Guide to the Flower Essences researched by Dr. Edward Bach and the Flower Essence Society
- The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine By Dr. David Frawley and Vasant Lad
- Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance Through Essential Oils by Gabriel Mojay