Something pretty, something green, something healthy, something fun: Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is all of that. A native of Eurasia, yarrowherb has been cultivated in Europe since before 1440 and became naturalized in North America.
Yarrow has been valued since ancient times for its ability to stop bleeding, hence its folk name "nosebleed." Today, yarrow is valued for its ability to fight off colds and flu. It is also an ingredient in many herbal cosmetics. Dried and cut flowers are used in arrangements.
Another of the many members of the Aster family, Yarrow is easy to grow, quite cold hardy, has nice feathery foliage and big, flat flower heads that bloom for a long period in yellows, whites, pinks and reds.
Yarrow has a sweet but slightly bitter taste and is generally safe for ingestion. Yarrow's medicinal uses are far greater than its use as a culinary herb. It's been used to reduce fevers because it causes the body to perspire. The flower tops can be made into a lotion for the body that helps reduce fever. Yarrow never debilitates the patient and has tonic qualities that help to purify the blood. It's also used to help digestion and was well known as a digestive and general tonic.
Yarrowherbal tea made with flowering stems is said to be beneficial to oily skin. Yarrow tea is often used to water ailing plants. Since it's a mild disinfectant, yarrow herb is used in water, vinegar, ammonia, or alcohol extraction for surface cleaning. It's also a good insect chaser for moths, roaches, and mosquitoes.
In England it was brought to weddings to ensure that the newlyweds would have at least seven years of love.