This past Winter showed us one of the worst flu seasons we've seen in a long time. From Woodstock, NY to the East Village in Manhattan, I helped hundreds of people prevent and treat, what seemed to be, a never-ending epidemic. I was coughed on, sneezed on, breathed on, hugged, and, at one point, kissed full on the lips (not by my choice) by these contagious beings yet I did not develop even one sniffle. Why? Yarrow baby!
Last November, on a beautiful Fall afternoon, my gorgeous partner (and personal herbalist) Aemen offered me a cool cup of Yarrow tea. Now, I have heard of love at first sight but I have never head of love at first taste: wow! It felt as if I was drinking in an entire garden - a monastic garden at that. The bitter taste of those magical, delicate white flowers was immediately greeted with the heavenly taste of floral bliss. I could feel it going to work immediately.
Yarrow has, both, anti-septic and anti-viral properties. This means that it is good at sweeping the blood clean and protecting the body against viruses like influenza. It contains a volatile oil, called Alchillein, and tannic acid that tones the body's tissues, strengthens the liver, and stimulates bile production. Its tonifying properties make it a wonderful herb for lessing symptoms of PMS, as well as for anyone dealing with a sluggish interior from years of toxicity.
Yarrow's detoxification properties are unique among other herbs because it gathers the body's impurities then, like a detergent, breaks them down to be easily removed from the body. This allows the blood to be swept clean without us having to deal with headaches, nausea, and other undesired detoxification symptoms that usually arise during a cleanse. Along with breaking down toxins, Yarrow inreases the circulation of the lymph to quickly flush out those toxins. It also increases circulation to the skin, and stimulates our pores to open and release waste - making it, of many things, a beautifying herb. Furthermore,Yarrow is an excellent herb for balancing blood sugar, making it an excellent fasting tea.
I had recently moved from the city and I had been dealing with a harsh skin rash, hypoglycemia, and general fatigue. Within days of drinking yarrow tea my skin became clearer, my blood sugar started to stabalize, and my energy had returned back to me. Since then I fast on 4 cups of yarrow tea every morning until lunch. I believe this, along with an organic whole food diet, kept me healthy during the flu season and continues to rebuild the health of my body and my skin. I even came down with food poisoning three days ago and, after fasting on Yarrow tea for the day of, managed to overcome the toxicity of the food within 12 hours - without a fever, a chill, or even diarrhea. The Yarrow simply pulled out the toxins before they even entered my tissues. Amazing!
Yarrow is, undoubtedly, my herb of choice for balance, detoxification, and immunity. I recommend making a tea from Yarrow flowers. The whole flowers are much stronger, however the cut and sifted will also work well if the whole flowers cannot be found. Use, roughly, a tablespoon of the cut and sifted per 1 cup of boiling water. The whole flowers can be used in the same proportion. I make 4 cups worth before bedtime, screw on a lid, and let it steep until I awake. This makes an extremely potent tea that helps me wake up, cleanse, and build my body and mind for the day ahead of me.
"Yarrow sings of fevers, of cold sores, and of flus,
And to intestinal pain he certainly rues.
Songs of rashes and scratches, clean blood and short fasting,
For help with all these, Yarrow tea is quite lasting."
- From the book "10 Essential Herbs" by Lalitha Thomas