for divination in China, to heal soldiers in Greece and Rome, for nosebleeds, toothache, women's problems, as a tisane and foodstuff, for clarifying beer, as an oil for skin problems, to promote sweating and many other reasons. It has a mild aromatic scent, a bit like camphor and a bitter, but not unpleasant taste.
Only pick it if you can be 100% sure it's yarrow. Do not confuse it with Poison Hemlock, which is deadly. The flowers are similar, but it's smaller and the the leaves are very different. It was sometimes called "Devil's Plaything" and I remember reading somewhere it can enhance the way you see colour (if you drink lots of tisane), I have no idea if that is true, but I guess it should be used in moderation for short periods of time..
I have dried some to make an anti- mosquito spray.
I have also collected some more (just the top 10-15 cm) to use the leaves in a "tortino"recipe and the flower heads in an aromatic wine.
Separate the leaves from the stems and wash and dry them.
Tortino of Yarrow and Courgettes
2 cups of Yarrow leaves
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup Cous Cous
2 and a half glasses water
A pinch of salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The recipe calls for rounds of courgettes, but I prefer strips.
Cook the courgettes with the garlic slowly in a covered frying pan Towards the end of cooking add the yarrow leaves. In a separate pan boil the water, remove from heat and let the cous cous absorb the water for 10 minutes. Beat the eggs and mix everything together with a pinch of salt and some fresh marjoram.
Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan and press the "tortino" into it. Cook slowly on both sides until golden. Use a plate to help turn it over.
I found this recipe pleasant tasting, but couldn't really taste the yarrow. It was rather bland for my taste, perhaps I didn't use enough marjoram. It was very easy to make and my kids ate it, although my son commented that he prefers plain omlettes.
Make this with young yarrow leaves before the plant flowers. They are more aromatic and less bitter.