Achilles was dipped in a vat of yarrow tea as a young child, to protect him from the dangers of war. As the story from Greek mythology goes, only his heel was left unprotected as that was where his mother held him when she dipped him into the vat. Achilles’ heel turned out to be his demise when it was pierced by an arrow.
Yarrow flowers are now in bloom around Dawson City and this is the best time to harvest. Yarrow is well known for its many medicinal values as well as being an effective mosquito repellent. However, dried yarrow also has benefits as an edible plant. It is full of minerals such as calcium, potassium and sodium as well as vitamins A, C and thiamine. The dried flowers make an excellent and aromatic tea. Try a tea blend of yarrow, juniper, mint and lemon balm. Infuse birch syrup with dried yarrow flowers, rosehips and rose petals.
The dried leaves make an excellent herb. Try grinding dried yarrow leaves with wild sage, nasturtium seed pod, spruce tip, nettle and celery leaf to make a herbed butter or a chicken seasoning. The best way to harvest yarrow is to cut it at the base of the stem, and then bunch the stems together and hang upside down to dry. Thanks to Bev Gray’s “Boreal Herbal” and to ethnobotanist Leigh Joseph for the knowledge that has been summarized in this post.