Yarrow has been used as an herbal medicine and for cooking and seasoning foods for centuries in Europe. It is still prized as one of the most important herbs. It is easy to grow with very little care and is suited for planting in zones 3 to 8.
Yarrow can easily be grown from seed with little effort by simply planting them in hills. Prepare the soil by adding some compost and then mixing them together. Then, build a hill about one foot in diameter with a trench around it for water. Make three holes two inches apart and 1/4 inch deep in the top of the hill. In each of the three holes, place two to three seeds and then cover with soil. The seeds should germinate and start growing rather quickly in just one to two weeks.
Yarrow is a drought tolerant plant and grows very well in composted soil that is well drained. It grows rapidly and can overtake areas where it is planted very quickly, so a contained planting area is advised. The plant grows to three feet in height on a hairy stem and can quickly spread by using it's fast growing root system. The flowers are typically white, but other colors are available with the blooms showing up in June and September. Yarrow has bug repellent qualities so bug damage to plants is usually minimal.
The leaves and the flowers are both edible and they have a flavor that is similar to sage. The flowers have a much stronger flavor than the leaves. They have been used in soups, and the young leaves can be boiled and eaten as greens. The very young leaves can be used to add flavor and texture to salads. Some people enjoy making a tea out of the leaves and drinking it with their meals.
Yarrow stimulates digestion and helps those with a poor appetite. It is a diuretic which help to increase the flow of urine. Menstrual cycles can be regulated and menstrual cramping can be relieved with yarrow's use. It is also a remedy to help stop bleeding from wounds. It also has antiseptic and antibacterial qualities.
People that use yarrow should be careful of its ability to build up in the body over time. Large doses should not be taken for long periods.
Yarrow is a uterine stimulant and could cause a miscarriage, so pregnant women should avoid its use. Also, women breast feeding should not use this herb for medicinal reasons.