Harvesting Yarrow

This will be my first year harvesting yarrow -- I've grown it, but have just recently gotten into learning about all the herbal/flower benefits to use medicinally. I've used them in my soaps, etc., but I let someone else harvest, dry, etc. and then I bought them.

I have plenty and it's in bloom and the leaves are fragrant when crushed so I'm pretty sure it's ready.

Do I separate the leaves and the flower heads and dry separately?

I believe, the leaves are best for tinctures and the flowers more for teas/decoctions/washes.

Also, when is it best to use fresh or dried -- I believe if I use fresh I need Everclear.

Any insight is appreciated.


  • Karyn Pennington
    Karyn Pennington Posts: 71 ✭✭✭

    Sounds great, I'll be cutting this afternoon. I'm excited to having a few tinctures and infused oils on hand. I make lots of salves, lip balms, lotions and soaps, but mostly with essential oils and my classic, lavender buds. I'm making rosemary/lavender soap this weekend, if I have time!

  • greenleaf
    greenleaf Posts: 19 ✭✭

    Good to know. I am also growing yarrow, as much for the stalks as anything else.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,358 admin

    @greenleaf How are you using the stalks?

  • Midge
    Midge Posts: 13 ✭✭✭

    Can I see a picture of the yarrow? It is on my list to plant,I am planning out my medicinal herb garden for next year.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sure. ~ 85+% are white (just ignore projects stuff, plus kiddo). The rest are Red + pink + yellow

    We have many 100's who think they own the place, as they spread with underground rhizomes, forming thick upright to mat-forming overenthusiastic aggressive perennials, good for making medicine.

    How to grow: https://www.almanac.com/plant/yarrow plus 1 of the best medicinal resources I found some years back https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/herbs/yarrow showcases 40+ of common Medicinals

  • Midge
    Midge Posts: 13 ✭✭✭

    Thank you Rainbow, I believe I have some growing on the edge of my property. Its looks feathery from the picture,I do need to learn how to spot the different plants.

  • Midge
    Midge Posts: 13 ✭✭✭

    Is this Yarrow? I have some growing here and there at the edge of my yard/field /woods around our property.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Midge, since your 1st. photo looks identical to all our 4 colored Yarrows, I would say YES 🙂 - (That said,

    am forever bringing all kinds of herbs & other plants to the regional Fruit-organization I'm a member of, so Master-gardeners can positively ID our plants, iow I'm least person to ask re "plant ID's", lol )

    But in this case, I'm pretty sure you too are blessed with Yarrow. - You can't really go wrong, with lots of plants most people call "weeds" for lack of awareness how richly blessed they are with medicinals. - Now how are you planning to specifically put all your Yarrow to good use? <- This is where I'm at, learning the What & How... 🙂

  • katbgardening
    katbgardening Posts: 4

    Can I use the yellow and red yarrow for medicinal purposes as well?

  • Midge
    Midge Posts: 13 ✭✭✭

    Rainbow,I'm right there with you with learning how to use the different plants. I did read you can use the flowers for a tea to bring down a fever. I'm still researching Yarrow and when I get some info I will pass it on to you!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,358 admin

    All colors of yarrow are equally good.

    Be careful to ID properly when using plants from the carrot family, as some are poisonous. I believe this is a part of that family.

    Now that I have said that, here are some ID sites.

  • Midge
    Midge Posts: 13 ✭✭✭

    Thank you Laurie for the info. I am 95% sure that what I have is yarrow,but I will definitely look it again. New to in identifying plants and want to be 100% sure.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    Something I discover years ago, and don't ask why I did it lol. We had a lot of fire ants and I used to react more than I do now. I accidentally got on a nest and they got me good. I was in the pasture at the time, at the edge of the woods. I looked around and saw the yarrow. I grabbed a leaf, mashed it and chewed it just with my front teeth and added enough saliva so it wasn't dry. I rubbed this on the bites and within minutes the pain stopped. I also didn't develop the angry red pustules. I've done that many times since then. The leaves at the base of the plant work the best. Use what you have, right lol?

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    For those in the forum who are interested in making a tincture of yarrow, the percentage of alcohol needed is 35%. If you are using Everclear, here's how you would work out how much alcohol and water to use to make a 1:10 strength medicine.

    Percentage needed to extract medicinal properties (35% - you can check the figure for most common plants in a good medicine making book) divided by the percentage of alcohol you are using (Everclear is 95% but you can round it up to 100 for the sake of simplicity) then multiply by one litre (how much medicine you want to make.) I always use a l000 ml as a guide as it makes the sum easier to work out.

    So the sum would be 35 divided by 100 x 1000 = 350 ml (alcohol) the remainder of the menstruum is water, so 1000 - 350 = 650 ml water.

    To make tincture of yarrow use a mix of 350 ml Everclear and 650 ml water. I would use 100 g of dried plant material to make a roughly 1:10 strength.

    Doing it this way ensures that you don't waste expensive alcohol and also allows you to extract the full spectrum of medicinal qualities in the plant (both water and alcohol soluble.) It also allows you to know the final strength of the tincture which of course is important for dosages. This does look complicated initially, but once you get your head around the sum it's pretty easy to do. Alternatively you can do things in the simple folk method way which is to simply use a lower percentage alcohol (say 40% Smirnoff blue is pretty clean) and steeping the dried plant material in that. This method isn't as accurate as it won't give you the final strength but it does do the trick. I would recommend only using dried material to make a tincture as some fresh plants contain a lot of water which can dilute your final mix.

    Yarrow tincture is very good for improving circulation and lowering blood pressure. It should not be used in pregnancy. The flowering plant can also be used to stem nosebleeds or bleeding from cuts if you are out and about. It was given the Latin name achillea millefolium as it was supposed to have been the plant used to stop Achilles from bleeding from his arrow wound!

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    When I first started harvesting Yarrow several years ago I would harvest the leaves in the Spring and early Summer to either use fresh, freeze, and/or dry. I have used the leaves for teas, in jellies, herbal granitas, and also for a liquid fertilizer. I typically harvest the leaves when they are still white and then dry them and have used them in teas as well.

    Yarrow is in the same family (if I remember correctly) as Poison Hemlock, however, Poison Hemlock does have a purplish stem, stinks (I don't think that it smells good), and grows tall (I have seen it grow up to 10' tall), and it is also can start growing in the late Winter (depends on your location). The flowers for Poison Hemlock are similar to Queen Anne's Lace (aka Wild Carrot), Yarrow, Anise, etc. but there are noticeable differences between the flowers.

    Yarrow has a pleasant smell that is somewhat bitter and also sweet.

  • anita.toler73
    anita.toler73 Posts: 24 ✭✭✭

    Hi there,

    I used to grow Yarrow and I would just cut the stalks, tie together in bunches of 5 and hang upside down to dry in my basement. Then once they are dry I would put the leaves and flowers together and just take off the stems. Fresh yarrow is very good to keep on hand to stop bleeding. Yes you are correct that anything that you tincture "fresh" needs a super high alcohol content like Everclear. If is is dried its water content is not so high and you can get away with tincturing with a lower alcohol content. I hope that helps!

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭


    Yarrow can be used fresh or dried, and the flowers and leaves can be dried and used together - you don't have to separate them out, as "aerial parts" (the parts in the air) are specified. For use in tincture making, dried is best. Fresh can be used directly on bleeding cuts or grazes to stop bleeding. Dried can also be used to make a tea.

    As it is in the same family as hemlock, Queen Anne's Lace, parsley etc, the flowers all do look "similar" but yarrow flowers are quite "soft" looking and tend to be whiter (obviously not if the coloured version :D). Please do take care when harvesting!