This past spring, I was excited to see a couple yarrow plants growing next to my driveway. I watched them as they grew, budded, and unfurled their creamy white flowers, and as soon as they were full grown, I put them to good use.
Back in August, I decided to take some time to quickly tincture the yarrow tops before it was too late and the flowers dried up. Today, I thought that I’d share the steps with you in case you still have some fresh yarrow growing nearby that you’d like to preserve and use in the future.
Disclaimer: Yarrow is an herb that has several look-a-likes, some of which are poisonous and even deadly (poison hemlock and water hemlock). Before harvesting and using what you think is yarrow, be sure you’ve positively identified it first!
How To Make A Fresh Yarrow Tincture
The directions below are for tincturing fresh yarrow using the folk method. You can certainly tincture dried yarrow if you want. Just follow the directions for that here.
- Clip the flowering tops of your yarrow plant (some stem and leaves are fine too), and lay these out on a white towel for an hour or two so any bugs can crawl off.
- Chop your wilted yarrow into small pieces using a sharp kitchen knife, and pack it into a glass jar, filling it up, 1-inch from the top of the jar.
- Cover the plant material with a 190-proof alcohol (Everclear) making sure you completely cover the plant material. (Feel free to substitute this with filling your jar 1/4 full of boiled water and 3/4 full of glycerine if you want to make an alcohol-free tincture.)
- Put a cap on and let this sit in a cool, dark place for 6-weeks (shaking daily if you can remember) before straining the plant material from the liquid. Compost the plant material, filter the liquid through a coffee filter, and bottle in a clean dropper bottle.
- Be sure to label your bottle with the name of your tincture, the date it finished, and what it’s tinctured in (alcohol or glycerine).
5 Ways To Use Yarrow Tincture
Yarrow is one of those plants that can be used in a lot of different ways. Below, I’m gonna share 5 simple ways you can use this tincture if you decide to make (or buy) it.
1. As An Herbal Bitter
Yarrow has bitter properties and is stimulating to the gallbladder and other digestive organs. Not only will taking it before meals help prepare your body to digest your food properly, but if you have a tendency to have sluggish digestion (putting you at risk for gallstones), regular use of yarrow tincture in a small amount of room temperature water before meals along with a high fiber diet can decrease the chance of gallstones forming.
Disclaimer: Do not take yarrow tincture if you currently have gallstones as it can bring on an attack.
2. To Reduce a Fever
Yarrow is a diaphoretic herb which means it stimulates the body’s pores to open allowing heat to escape via sweating. The next time you have a high fever and you want to safely reduce it to a more comfortable level without taking it completely away, try taking a little yarrow tincture in some hot water every 30 minutes or so.
3. To Strengthen the Vascular System
Yarrow has a great overall effect on strengthening and toning the entire vascular system… arteries, veins, and capillaries. If you bruise easily, have varicose veins, or get burst blood vessels in your eyes or hands often, regularly taking yarrow tincture can help to tone the walls of your blood vessels, giving them more support in the work they do.
4. To Cleanse Wounds
Yarrow is a well-known herb for wounds thanks to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, and analgesic actions. The next time you have a cut, scrape, bite, or puncture, dilute some yarrow tincture in some water and use it to wash the wound well before applying other herbal remedies that promote wound healing.
5. To Aid In Urinary Tract Infections
When it comes to herbs, did you know yarrow is one of several herbs that is specifically indicated for urinary tract infections? It is thanks to its antimicrobial and diuretic properties. When yarrow tincture is drunk in cool water, it acts as a diuretic… basically making you pee more. And, because of its antibacterial properties, it can decrease the chance of you getting a full-blown UTI as well as aid the body in healing itself if you already have one.
Disclaimer: Some individuals may be sensitive to yarrow as it’s one of many plants in the Asteraceae family that can cause mild allergic reactions in certain individuals. Be sure to test yourself or your child for herbal sensitivities before taking large amounts of yarrow. Yarrow is also not recommended for pregnant or nursing mamas!
So there you go. Now you know how to make a yarrow tincture using fresh yarrow, and you have five different ways to use it!