Yarrow is a popular component of medicinal compositions. Its healing properties were also noticed by cosmetologists and perfumers: they add oil to skincare products and perfumes.
What is yarrow?
Yarrow is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Compositae family, less than a meter tall with elongated leaves and white or pink flowers. It can be found everywhere from Western Europe to Far East, as well as in both Americas and Australia. The plant has several varieties and blooms throughout the summer. Its most common variety, common yarrow, is used for medicinal purposes.
The medicinal properties of the plant have been known since ancient times. With its help, the mythical hero Achilles and the legendary commander Alexander the Great stopped the blood of wounded soldiers, so the plant was planted near military camps and called herba militaris. It’s also popularly known as devil’s nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, or thousand-leaf.
The plant is also used in cooking. Fresh flowers, shoots, and leaves are put in salads, vinaigrettes, and side dishes. Dried flowers and leaves are added to drinks, kvass, jellies, and mousses for flavor. Because of its bright appearance, this plant is also popular with landscapers.
- Bornyl acetate
- Germacrene D
- Caryophyllene oxide
The essential oil of yarrow is extracted by steam distillation of the inflorescences. The resulting product aids in the treatment of a wide range of ailments, both physical and mental. Only dried raw materials are used. The yield is 0.1-0.4%, which provokes a rather high price for the product. The liquid is similar to German chamomile oil and has a distinct bluish glow. The fragrance is herbaceous, with a hint of camphor and floral meadow, there are bitter notes.
The main active ingredient is chamazulene, which has pronounced anti-inflammatory properties. The rich spectrum of constituents makes the product indispensable in the fight against a multitude of infections. When it comes to internal use, yarrow oil might cause heartburn with a strong herbal odor during the first few days of treatment.
The scent of yarrow essence is fleshed-out and multifaceted. It’s a mixture of sweetness and bitterness, flavored with notes of fresh grass with a warm hint of camphor. The fragrance can be called solid and somber, that’s why the note of yarrow is most often present in men’s perfumes. The scent of the essence can also be found in rich fragrances for women and unisex series.
Blending with other oils
Yarrow oil blend well with such essential oils as strawflower, verbena, vetiver, geranium, lavender, frankincense, rockrose, lemongrass, cedar, cypress, lemon balm, myrrh, myrtle, juniper, carrot seeds, rosemary, rosewood, German chamomile, Roman chamomile, pine, clary sage, garden sage, and citrus.
Caution, safety, and side effects
Before using the oil, be sure to perform a patch test for individual sensitivity. Apply a few drops to the wrist or elbow bend and wait for several hours. If there is no itching, burning, or redness, then the product can be safely added to skincare products.
It’s not recommended for use during pregnancy and lactation, as well as for children under 3 years of age without a doctor’s indication. Avoid using if you have epilepsy. Don’t apply to sensitive skin.
When buying this essential oil, pay attention to the type of plant whose flowers were used to obtain the essence. Yarrow has about 100 species, but the extract with the listed medicinal properties is obtained only from the medicinal variety. The effects of the other representatives of the family are not fully studied and the consequences of the use of such essences are unpredictable.
Home aromatherapy is permissible only after consultation with a specialist.
The benefits of yarrow essential oil
The list of beneficial properties of yarrow oil is as rich as its history. The main characteristics of the remedy are:
- metabolism regulating
Yarrow oil relieves breathing during pollinosis. It has an anti-allergic effect, including when applied to the skin.
It’s also useful during colds and flu: strengthens the immune system, reduces mucous membrane swelling, relieves coughing, helps drain sputum, relieves pain, and promotes recovery.
Yarrow improves blood circulation and is often included in products for the prevention of varicose veins, hemorrhoids, couperosis.
It relieves headaches, muscle and joint pain, spasms, cramps, helps relieve pain in case of sprains and dislocations. It’s also used to treat arthritis, rheumatism, and neuralgia.
The oil normalizes the menstrual cycle, stimulates menstruation, helps with excessive and scarce periods, eliminates cramps and pain, helps during menopause. Yarrow is a powerful anti-inflammatory and healing agent that helps with rashes, wounds, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, scars, and burns. In these cases, a combination of yarrow with immortelle and frankincense is recommended.
The oil is also used to relieve symptoms and recover from alcohol and chemical poisoning.
When newborns are teething, some doctors, based on the clinical picture of the baby’s health, recommend lubricating the gums with yarrow oil to relieve pain.
Yarrow essential oil can help get rid of dandruff caused by fungal skin infections. You can buy a ready-made mask with the essence, or make it at home by selecting oils similar in action, or apply the pure product without added ingredients.
Facial skin requires careful and thoughtful care at all ages. Yarrow works in various ways and helps solve problems such as:
- Loss of skin tone;
- Sebaceous gland hypersecretion
- Acne and overall problematic skin condition
- Dull complexion, post acne and pigmentation
- Itching and allergic rashes
Yarrow extract is suitable for the care of any type of skin. The essence works especially effectively on oily skin, narrowing pores and reducing sebum production. The plant components are often present in dermal care cosmetics, cleansers, and toners.
The skin is our body’s shield, protecting it from pathogens and trauma. Taking the lion’s share of environmental blows, the dermis is exposed to infectious diseases, burns, cuts, and other ailments. For therapeutic purposes, yarrow oil in pure form or as part of ointments and creams is applied to the affected areas to relieve pain and inflammation, promote tissue repair, and speedy healing.
The oil is also added to massage mixtures. The procedure helps not only to relax and relieve tension but also effectively fights excess fat deposits by locally increasing blood circulation. After the massage, the skin looks taut and elastic, pleasant to the touch, and smooth.
Yarrow is useful during major life changes. It eliminates anger, irritability, balances out your psycho-emotional state, and acts as an antidepressant. The oil can help you calm down and fall asleep.
It also helps speed mental and physical recovery and rehabilitation after the illness.
Yarrow inspires and helps to generate new ideas.
How to use yarrow essential oil
The therapeutic properties of the oil have been studied by many certified aromatherapists and doctors. It can be used in multiple different ways beneficial both for your body and mental state. Here are some of the ways to enjoy the benefits of yarrow.
In aroma lamps
1-2 drops per 215 square feet of space will help fight acute respiratory infections, flu, bronchopulmonary diseases, hypotension, and depression).
The concentration in lamps and incense burners should be no more than 3 drops.
1-2 drops per 1 oz. of base oil will be great to treat colds, flu, bronchopulmonary diseases, hypotension, depression, as well as joint diseases, rheumatism, neuralgia, diseases of the biliary tract and liver.
In ointments and creams
2-4 drops per 1-1.7 oz. of base product are good for treating non-healing wounds, abscesses, hemorrhoids, bleeding, or skin issues.
After a hard day’s work, a bath with a little addition of yarrow oil will help relieve the burden of routine and release disturbing thoughts. The product dissolves well in water, so no additional emulsifiers are required. You’ll only need 4 drops for relaxation and tranquility.
For compresses and applications
2-3 drops per 1 oz. of base for treating bleeding, boils, abscesses, furuncles, inflammation, mastitis, bronchopulmonary diseases.
In hair care products
Add 5 drops per 0.6 oz of base products. Apply the mixture before washing: massage it into the scalp and let it sit for 30 minutes, wrapping the head in a towel. These hair marks will cleanse the skin more effectively than standard shampoos. The mask also strengthens the hair follicles, stimulates growth, and prevents the loss of curls. The hair becomes smooth and silky.
You can also add a few drops of the essence to a diffuser to aromatize the room. The oil also works well in steam inhalators as well as personal aroma inhalators. Inhale 2-3 times a day to clear mucus from the lungs and reduce inflammation.
If you’d like to use essential oils for skincare and therapy but can’t get any genuine yarrow oil, substitute it with lavender, tea tree, helichrysum, jasmine, clary sage, calendula, geranium, chamomile, or myrrh.
For relieving painful sensations and aches, lavender, juniper, black pepper, or ginger will work just as well as yarrow.
Lavender and black pepper will be a great replacement if what you need in a relaxing massage.
If you want something to help you with menstrual issues and pains, lavender, clary sage, geranium, rose, or Ylang Ylang will be great alternatives to yarrow.
If your goal is to soothe and heal skin, look for jasmine, myrrh, helichrysum, chamomile, or galbanum.
Is it safe to ingest yarrow essential oil?
In case of gastrointestinal diseases and lack of appetite, to prevent ulcers, gastritis, to treat bloating, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, liver and kidney diseases, headaches, and candidiasis, yarrow oil can be taken internally, combined with honey.
Yarrow is also used in cooking as a flavoring for alcoholic beverages and liqueurs.
NB: Ingest only after consulting with your doctor.
Is yarrow oil safe during pregnancy?
Yarrow should better be avoided during pregnancy or breastfeeding. The oil might contain neurotoxins. For the same reason, it’s not recommended for children below 3 years of age.
Does yarrow oil have any side effects?
Yes, yarrow has some side effects depending on the method of preparation and form of use. Yarrow can cause severe irritation, inflammation, or even poisoning if applied directly to mucous membranes. It is also contraindicated in cases of liver disease, bile ducts obstruction, surface wounds, septicemia caused by Staphylococcus aureus infection. This oil should never be used undiluted.
Does yarrow oil stain?
The majority of essential oils don’t stain but because of its rich blue color, this oil will stain. To remove the stains caused by the oil, use equal parts vinegar and water with a teaspoon of salt in it. Rinse the stained area with this mixture several times to prevent staining again. You can also try hydrogen peroxide for removing yarrow stains from fabric or carpets. It’s important to keep in mind that if treated clothing is dried on an outdoor clothesline, any remaining stains will be permanent. If all else fails, rewash the item using enzyme washing powder effective against fats and oils.
Is yarrow oil toxic to pets?
Yarrow oil is generally considered to be non-toxic for animals, but allergic reactions and slight poisoning are possible. In dogs, yarrow oil can cause digestive issues. The symptoms of poisoning might include drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. If yarrow oil is ingested by a pet, you should rush it to the vet as soon as possible.
Ingesting yarrow oil might also cause adverse reactions in cats. The plant toxins contained in the product might lead to all the common symptoms of food poisoning.
That being said, it’s very unlikely for your pets to be poisoned with yarrow as it has a very bitter taste.
What should I look for when choosing yarrow oil?
To avoid yarrow oil substitutes or adulterated yarrow oil, it’s important to make sure the product is 100% pure. Yarrow essential oil should be fresh in color with a light or dark blue tint and come in glass bottles. Be careful not to buy oil that has turned yellowish or dark purple as this means its ingredients have spoiled. Also, the product should always come with an expiration date. Lastly, make sure the product you choose is safe for topical use.
Yarrow oil is a natural essential oil with many benefits. It can be used for treating menstrual pain, arthritis, headaches, and digestive disorders among others. This product should never be ingested undiluted or taken internally without consulting your doctor first. It’s important to buy it from trusted vendors to avoid substitutes and adulterations. Keep in mind that it has some side effects and can be toxic to pets.