Colds and ‘flu can still be a problem at this time of year, with miserable symptoms ranging from fever and fatigue to nasal and respiratory congestion and lingering coughs.

Yarrow is an antiviral herb frequently recommended by herbalists for cold and flu symptoms. It is a ‘diaphoretic’ which means that it is brilliant for sweating out the virus in feverish stages and eliminating the infection more swiftly from your system.

Please note, not to be used when pregnant.

Yarrow can be bought loose, (dried and ground) or as a tincture (liquid extracts) from herbalists and online shops. If loose, use yarrow, peppermint and elderflower to create a powerful anti-viral tea.  Peppermint is also a great herb for the chest and will be useful to help with a lingering cough.  Other ways to ingest the herb are to boil the herbs in water, remove from the heat and then inhale the steam.

The cheapest way to attain the plant is of course to track it down in a meadow or field, but make sure it’s the right plant (Achillea Millefolium) and that it hasn’t been contaminated in any way.

Yarrow is an extremely versatile herb, perfect as an immune booster or digestive aid. It’s also good as an astringent (helps to stop bleeding after minor cuts).  It helps to ease upset stomachs, particularly diarrhoea, heavy menstrual bleeding, and can help to strengthen the skeletal structure.  Traditional uses include inserting a fresh leaf in the affected nostril to stop a nosebleed. To sooth the respiratory tract, combine yarrow with a mucilaginous (tissue soothing) herb such as marshmallow root or liquorice root.

For personalised advice, which is always best, consult a Herbalist.  A Herbalist who has also trained as a Naturopath is additionally qualified to provide dietary and lifestyle advice.

Herbal Medicine is the use of medicinal herbs to promote good health. It has a long tradition in all cultures and research has proven its huge benefits. As well as relieving symptoms, herbs work on a deeper level to help us return to full harmony

In an age when mainstream medicine has become complex and ever more technical, Herbal Medicine can offer a simple, natural and holistic way to support the body’s innate drive to heal itself.

By Herbalist and Iridologist Peter Jackson-Main, who is CNM’s Course Leader and a Lecturer in Herbal Medicine.

Find out more about CNM’s Herbal Medicine Diploma Course here.

Find out more about CNM’s Short Course. Herbs for Everyday Living here.