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Thread: Stop that bleed. Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

  1. #1

    Default Stop that bleed. Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

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    The Latin name Achiliea millefolium is an homage to Achilles son of the nymph Thetis and the Greek god Peleus. According to legend, when Achilles was born, Thetis tried to make him immortal by dipping him in the river Styx, however he was still vulnerable in the part of the body by which she held him, his heels. It was said Achilles used the Yarrow plant to staunch the bleeding from the wounds his soldiers received on the battle field. It was also used extensively for the same purpose by soldiers on both sides of the American civil war. That is where it came to be known by another popular name, soldier's woundwort.

    Other Names:
    Bloodwort, Carpenter's Weed, Devil's Nettle, Knight's Milfoil, Nose Bleed, Sanguinary, Soldier's Woundwort, Staunchweed

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    Identifying characteristics:
    An erect herbaceous perennial plant that produces one to several stems up to 3ft tall. It grows from a shallow rhizome. The leaves are arranged almost spirally along the stem. The leaves generally increase in size as you move down the stem, with the largest leaves appearing near the middle and bottom. The leaves are almost feathery in appearance, and are 2-8 in long. The leaves are cauline and more or less clasping. The plant has a flower head containing ray and disk flowers which are white to pink, although I have only seen the white variety where I live in Michigan. There are generally 3 to 8 ray flowers that are ovate to round. Disk flowers range from 15 to 40. The plant commonly flowers from May through June. Common yarrow is frequently found in the disturbed soil of waste areas, roadsides, grasslands, and open forests. Active growth occurs in the spring.

    Disturbed soil of waste areas, Roadsides, Grasslands, and Open Forests

    Parts Used:
    Leaves, Stem, Flower Heads.

    Wild Food Uses:
    Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads. A tea can also be brewed from plant leaves and stems.

    Medicinal Uses:
    Vulnerary. Antiseptic. Anti-Inflammatory. Diuretic - A Poultice made from leaves and flowers excels at stopping blood flow from wounds, but it also disperses congealed blood pooled under the skin, like found in bruising. Placing crushed up leaves into the nose will immediately stop a bloody nose. Just be sure to leave enough sticking out so that it can be removed when no longer needed. Yarrow directly effects blood. It moves it from where it should not be, and makes it flow into places where it should. This is a wonderfully useful plant with which everyone should become familiar.

    Herbal tea or tincture can be used for colds, fevers, anorexia, indigestion, gastric inflammations, and internal bleeding. It has also been used by woman to help start menstrual cycles which are slow in coming. It has also been used to slow excessively heavy flow. Yarrow stimulates peripheral circulation, decongests capillaries, dilates blood vessels, and is anti-inflammatory. It can reduce blood pressure by eliminating factors that create "back pressure" on the heart. Yarrow strengthens blood vessels as well as decongesting them, and can be used to treat varicose veins and hemorrhoids. In a small tin, I carry an ointment I made from Yarrow and Plantain quite literally everywhere I go. It works great for small cuts, skin abrasions, or insect stings. It also functions quite well to protect lips from wind and sun.

    Medicinal Actions:
    Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Cholagogue, Hemotatic, Hypotensive, Spasmolytic
    Happy Foraging

    Kirk - Information Concerning Edible And Medicinal Uses For Common Great Lakes Area Plants, As Well As Information On Numerous Aspects Of Outdoor Living And Survival.

  2. #2
    birdman6660 birdman6660's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011


    I'm not sure where all this mushroon / fungus grows exactly except for a fact in southern Ontario Canada BUT " puffballs" are a very tasty mushroom that can be ssliced and fried and grows to the size of a basketball !! it will when in its dying stages create a brown ball of powdery thread like material and it the most effective method I've ever used of stopping any major bleeding .. its quite amazing !

  3. #3
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Central Indiana


    Yarrow contains salicylic acid (aspirin) which is why it reduces fever. It can also increase blood flow because of the aspirin it contains so you have to know how to use it.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Spider webs work too ...

    It's been a long time since I last posted. Although not very sanitary, Spider webs are a good way to stop bleeding. You got to be careful not to collect the spider along with the web. It should really only be used under extreme circumstances without any other option.

  5. #5


    I remember seeing those "puff balls" when I was a teenager in the woods. I'm thinking it was in North Carolina where I saw them. I didn't know they were tasty and that they helped stop bleeding. I know for my dog, I use a styptic pencil which contains silver nitrate to stop his nail from bleeding if it's cut too shirt. Would silver nitrate for a human who is bleeding?
    Robert - the woods is my home

  6. #6
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Central Indiana


    I can't speak to silver nitrate specifically but styptic pencils have long been a staple in shave kits. I have one in mine. Typically, they are composed of titanium dioxide or similar but I've never seen one made of silver nitrate.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RandyRhoads's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Bay Area/Sacramento Delta CA


    Been trying to find out how much salicin is like acetylsaliscyclic acid. I know it occurs naturally in a few plants and trees but exactly how effective plain salicin is i'm still not clear on. It might have to be refined or processed to have any decent effect.

    When you put "hypotensive" under medical actions it made me think the plant had low BP, lol...

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by RobertN View Post
    Would silver nitrate for a human who is bleeding?
    yup- silver nitrate is used to stop bleeding in small areas, but in some forms it colors the skin and can even leave a tattoo when the wound heals.

    And Kirk,
    Thanks for the post on yarrow! Very cool

  9. #9
    Land of a thousand lakes Northern Horseman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    The geographical center of British Columbia


    This might be a good place to mention Cattails, also very good for most of the medical applications that have been listed so far, plus much much more:

    CATTAILS a perfect survival food

    1. Cattails contain ten times the starch of an equal weight of potatoes.

    2. Early spring new shoots pick peel, cook, or eat raw.

    3. Harvest young flowerheads, boil and eat like corn on the cob; or pickle.

    4. Collect early summer pollen in a bag, add to other flours (protein/vitamins).

    5. Winter rootstocks: pick mash rinse, dry, and grind into flour.

    6. Use fresh, pounded root directly as a poultice on infections, blisters, & stings. Tie in place over night. Replace for next day.

    7. Sticky substance at the base of the green leaf is antiseptic, coagulant, & even a bit numbing.

    8. Boil leaves for external skin wash.

    9. Starchy, mashed root use as a toothpaste.

    10. Use pollen as a hair conditioner.

    11. Drink root flour in a cup of hot water or eat the young flowerheads to bind diarrhea and dysentrery.

    12. Use the fuzz from mature female flowerheads for scalds, burns, diaper rash & place in diaper to soak up urine.

    13. Down makes excellent tinder.

    14. Dry stalks use for hand drill, arrow shafts with added hardwood nock and foreshaft.

    15. Leaves excellent for thatching, basket weaving, cordage (one of the most important aspect of outdoor survival), and doll, toy, figurine making.

    16. Dip brown head of a dry stalk in animal fat for a torch.

    17. Pollen is hemostatic & astringent. Place directly on cut to control bleeding. Take internally for internal bleeding, menstrual pain, chest pains, & other forms of blood stagnation.

    18. Mix pollen with honey; apply to bruises, sores, or swellings.

    19. Pollen is also mildly diuretic and emenagogue. Emmenagogues are substances which have the ability to provoke menstruation.
    The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity and the brute by instinct.
    Marcus Tullius Cicero
    (106 BC - 43 BC)

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    Northern Horseman, that's a great bit of info. I copied and printed that. Almost everywhere I go, cattails can be found.

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