Qanganangua’itukut Kasukuagni. - We don’t have yarrow in Akhiok.
Northern yarrow (Achillea borealis), also known as squirrel’s tail, is a hardy, medium-sized herb that thrives in open habitats throughout the Kodiak Archipelago. This member of the sunflower family has frilly grey-green leaves that are slightly hairy. In late summer, the plant produces clumps of small, white or pale pink flowerets.
Yarrow has many medicinal applications. Alutiiq people commonly use it as a steam bath switch or add it to poultices to relieve aches and pains. Warmed, wet leaves or crushed roots can be applied directly to an afflicted area or wrapped in a moistened cloth. Northern yarrow can also help to cure external infections such as sores, cuts, or in some cases toothaches. Tea can also be made from either fresh or dried yarrow leaves, steeped or boiled. The tea is said to relieve cramps and gas, increase appetite, and alleviate the symptoms of a cold. You can also repel mosquitoes by rubbing the plant on your skin or clothing.
Photo: Yarrow growing on a Kodiak beach. Photo by Priscilla Russell, KANA Collection.