Healer of the battlefields

Dear pagan readers,

Let me introduce you to a plant used in medicine for tens of thousands of years. It was even a part of our neanderthal ancestors pharmacy in prehistory. But we use to link it with greek antiquity because the origin of his name is linked to a greek hero which everyone knows, and also because it is mentionned in the great books of herbal lore of antiquity. It is a plant undeniably linked to the battlefield and war in general as the title of this article suggest.

The_Education_of_Achilles,_by_James_BarryGreek_kneewrapping

According to Pliny the Elder, the Roman naturalist of the first century AD, its name comes from Ἀχιλλεύς(Achilles), hero of the Greek mythology, who used it to heal Τήλεφος(Telephus) wounds in the Trojan war. This herbal secret, according to Ὅμηρος(Homer), was conveyed to his pupil by Χείρων(Chiron) the centaur. Achillea millefolium was also mentionned by Πεδάνιος Διοσκουρίδης(Pedanius Dioscorides) as an incomparable plant to heal wounds and ulcers. In antiquity, it was known as herbal militaris  for its use in stanching the flow of blood from wounds. In fact, as far as we can go back in time, it as always been a part of the European pharmacopoeia.

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The second part of the name, millefolium, means thousand leaves because of the shape of the leaf. Achillea millefolium is commonly known as yarrow nowadays. The English name yarrow comes from the Saxon word gearwe, which is related to both the Dutch word gerw and the Old High German word garawa. Other common names for this species include gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal.  It is a flowering plant in the  Asteraceae’s family . It is native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. This herb is purported to be a diaphoretic, astringent, tonic, stimulant and mild aromatic. It contains isovaleric acid, salicylic acid, asparagin, sterols, flavonoids, bitters, tannins, and coumarins. The leaves encourage clotting, so it can be used fresh for nosebleeds and wounds. The aerial parts of the plant are used for phlegm conditions, as a bitter digestive tonic to encourage bile flow, and as a diuretic. The aerial parts act as a tonic for the blood. It stimulate the circulation and can be used for high blood pressure. It is also useful in menstrual disorders, and as an effective sweating remedy to bring down fevers. Yarrow intensifies the medicinal action of other herbs taken with it. It is reported to be associated with the treatment of the ailments such as pain, antiphlogistic, bleeding, gastrointestinal disorders, cholereticinflammation, emmenagogue and stomachache. It can be used as an oil, infusion, tincture, liquid extract or even fresh.

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I could have talked about this plant a whole day but now I have to go back to work; cucumbers, tomatoes, spaghetti squashes, onions, etc… needs to be harvested. So I leave you with the Achillea millefolium who’s also asking to be harvested right now through the whole northern hemisphere. Make good use of the centaur herbal secrets and maybe you will become a European hero yourself! Hail Achillea millefolium!

Frederik Blanchet

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22 thoughts on “Healer of the battlefields

  1. I live in a place where literally none of these plants you mention grow, but I do remember these when I lived up in the Rocky Mountains as a child.

    Thanks for the knowledge, and do your best to stay away from the southeast US.

      • I’m not too sure.
        Still a teenager, still in high school, I’m out soon at least.

        I really appreciate the offer, but I’ve got my eyes on somewhere deep in the rural parts of the Rockies. I’m not sure where I will go, but I will give you this:
        The recent disaster in Idaho got me thinking that I really want to be something along the lines of a wildland firefighter. A park ranger would be a dream job, though.
        And besides, my French is horrible.

        But, really, when the era of multiculturalism, liberalism, cultural Marxism, actual Marxism, and Jewish influences in general come to an end in Europe (and it will soon) then I will surely go home to the fatherland. Or hopefully nationalism will rise and I will go to fight in some sort of civil war. I imagine you’d do the same.

        Now it sounds cowardly, I know, to not go home and strengthen the numbers and join the shieldwall there but money is definitely something to mind. I’m trying to of course dodge any moment in my adult life where I have to give in and take a loan.

        Anyway, best of luck to you up there.

      • Duncan I would recommend somewhere in the same latitude as Europe. That’s what I am doing. Im studying Geology in college ad plan on moving to Maine or Nova Scotia. A place that resembles the area in Europe of which my ancestors came from. Not to mention the people who live there are of the same biological stock as myself. So it should be too much of a cultural shock.

        I scratched the maritime school, do not possess the mathematical ability as of yet and apparently costs as much as 1,000,000 to go there when its all done. I said forget that I refuse to be a debt slave for live. I chose Geology and Forestry to understand the biological and non living world around me. Figured it was my second interest and choose to live somewhere I can study. Out west though? Dust, heat, and dirt everywhere. Sounds like the middle east.

  2. Hi Frederik,

    Did you hear that it was recently discovered that Europeans were spicing their food with Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) as much as around 6000 years ago? The research is stating that the herb has very low nutritional value and that they used it solely for flavouring purposes. I can’t seem to find much on the herb in this context, accept that many people treat it as a weed. Do you know much about it’s health benefits or nutritional content?

    Also, if I may ask; what do you spice your foods with?

    • It is traditionally used as a diuretic, against rheumatism, asthma and gout. It is also an antiseptic when applied fresh as a poultice. The seeds can be used as a subtitute for black mustard seeds in the preparation of the condiment.

      Well. I use a wide variety of herbs and spices. Basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, coriander, oregano, caraway seed, pepper, paprika, sea salt, garlic, onion, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, shallots, chives, parsley, mint, lemon balm, savory, chervil, yarrow, etc. … etc … etc …

      • So it has quite a few practical uses! Thanks! I also found that it is good for your weight, heart, lowers cholesterol, may help prevent cancer. I just thought it curious that the researchers tried to portray it as a useless herb, and they were even surprised that ancient man would consider flavouring his food!

        Ok I suppose it depends on the dish. I don’t know, maybe a part of me was hoping you might reveal a secret recipe 😉

  3. Thanks for the interesting reading, will look for the Achillea millefolium next time im running in the woods. Maybe i will stumble on it when im going out to harvest blueberrys.

  4. Pingback: Ointments and herbalism; Yarrow/Resin | Decaying Art

  5. Pingback: Healer of the battlefields | embla77

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