Beautiful Yarrow – Achillea millefolium – is good for so many things and one of them is as a styptic powder to stop bleeding. Yarrow styptic powder is safe for both humans and animals and can be used on everything from skin cuts to nails accidentally cut or torn down to the “quick”. I recently gouged a chunk out of my index finger while tapping one of our maple trees and pressure alone wasn’t enough to stop the bleeding. The yarrow stopped it almost immediately. I’ve also used it on our dog when I clipped one of her toenails too short. It does a great job and isn’t toxic when they decide to start licking it, which they will! (I didn’t lick mine… just for the record…) Simply dry the herb, grind it in a mortar and pestle or coffee/seed mill and store it in a lidded jar for when you need it in an emergency. If you’re putting together an herbal first aid kit, this is definitely one to include. The preferred way is to use the flowering parts and top couple inches of leaves, but I’ve had great success with just leaves. A powder made from the dried root is even more effective, but I prefer not to harvest roots from any of my plants unless it’s absolutely necessary. Sometimes it is.
Drying The Herb:
In order to get pictures for this example, I used only leaves since Yarrow isn’t blooming this time of year (February) and quick dried them in a brown paper bag hung high over the woodstove. In the spring or summer, you can put the bag of clipped herb on the dashboard of your car on a sunny day and you’ll have dried herbs in just a few hours. You’ll know they’re sufficiently dry when they no longer have any springiness when bent. I actually hung the ones in the picture back up to dry a little longer once I started inspecting them. Also, blooms and leaves will dry quicker than roots and should be done separately.
Turning The Yarrow Into Powder:
Either a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder will do the trick. You’ll wind up with a much finer powder with a coffee or seed mill than doing it by hand. A finer powder looks prettier, but to my knowledge won’t necessarily be any more effective. You can find either of these tools on Amazon here: 4.5″ Mortar & Pestle or Miracle Stainless Steel Coffee, Nut, Seed, Grain & Spice Mill.
The styptic powder will keep several years in a well sealed jar stored in a dry location. A dark corner away from direct sunlight or tinted jar is even better. If preparing this for a portable first aid kit, check out the small UV Protective Amber Bags sold by Uline.com, Grainger.com or Millerpolybags.com. I’ve used Uline and Miller a bunch of times and have been very pleased with both their products and their prices. Small UV Protective Amber Bags.