Achillea millefolium L.
According to Pliny, the Latin word achillea is derived from the Greek achilleía and refers to Achilles, the hero of the Trojan War. Achilles was instructed in the art of healing by the centaur, Chiron, and is supposed to have used medicinal plants to heal his warriors.
Millefolium is a borrowed translation of the Greek word myrióphyllon, which means ‘bearing numerous leaves’. The name is mentioned as early as Pliny and Dioscorides. In English, the name Yarrow is traced through the Old High German Garwa or Garwe, which may mean ‘the provided‘, or ’the healer’ from the Old English gearwe.
The Yarrow's basal leaf rosette and annual, 20cm to 80cm high, leaved stalk rises from a creeping, perennial rootstock. The lanceolate leaves are bi- to tri-pinnate. The leaves and stalk are finely haired. At the end of the stalk stand the small double flowerheads with white, pink or purple lingulate flowers in flat-topped clusters.
Yarrow flowers from May to October.
The Yarrow has numerous subspecies that are not easy to distinguish morphologically but whose chemical composition differs greatly. Bioforce cultivates the tetraploid (= having four times the normal amount of chromosomes) subspecies ssp. collina. It is the only subspecies containing the blue essential oil, azulene.
The Yarrow thrives on dry meadows and sunny roadsides at elevations up to 2500 metres. It is native to Europe, northern Asia, and the Caucasus, and has been introduced into North America, Australia and New Zealand.
A.Vogel/Bioforce uses the alcohol extract from the fresh, organically grown, aboveground portions of the plant harvested when it flowers.
Yarrow herb is often prepared as a tea. It is also used as a bath additive.