Woolly Yarrow

(Achillea lanulosa) A North American species. Like its European counterpart, it has its magical as well as its medicinal virtues. From the Fire fraternity of the Pueblo Indians, Zuni men used to chew the blossoms and root, and rub the mixture on their limbs and chest before going through the spectacular performance of passing live coals over their bodies. The same mixture was used for bathing the bodies of those who danced in fire. Not surprisingly, they used the plant medicinally for burns (Stevenson). Navajo Indians say that yarrow acts just like iodine when mixed with water and applied to cuts (Elmore), while some of the Plains Indians are quoted as using the leaves as a poultice to cure the bite of a spider; the dried flower heads are used as tobacco to form part of a ceremonial smoking mixture (H H Smith. 1945). Saddle sores are treated by Navajo Indians by grinding the plant up and applying the solution (Elmore), while the Cheyenne drank an infusion for coughs, and a tea made from the leaves for colds and nausea (Youngken).

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