Memories of Pink Yarrow
Did you know....Yarrow pollen was found in the Neanderthal burial caves, meaning that Yarrow has had a very long lasting relationship with humans, and is still in use today.
I first formed a relationship with Yarrow in the Swiss/Italian Alps when I lived there in my 20's. It was the key ingredient in the local 'digestive' liquor named 'taneda' (the name is pronounced in the local dialect which varies from village to village, not in Italian). After every meal a shot of 'taneda' was knocked back, to kick start and improve digestion. Yarrow is a supreme digestive herb.
I remember each season as the Yarrow flowers begun to bloom in the wild, the elderly woman of the village would scramble up into the Alps (literally) to seek out the best Yarrow flowers that they could find, and come home with huge baskets full of blooms. It was a local (not well kept) secret that the pink flowering yarrow was the best for making Taneda. The flowers were so highly sought after, that locals had their own secret spots to forage for the pink Yarrow that they wouldn't tell you about.
The local species endemic to the Alps is Achillea Moschata (not pictured),which grows ABOVE 2000m right up to the iceline. It's used to make the digestive, using a traditional recipe handed down through the generations.
I never really liked the taste of the taneda, but after eating the local traditional meals such as 'polenta taragna' (polenta cooked with melted cheese), or 'pizzocheri' (pasta layered with cheese, potatoes, butter, cheese, pasta, butter, and repeat) you really did need something to help digest your meal, or you would never get up from the table.
Every house had a bottle of taneda and we all knew how important it was to take our 'digestivo' after a meal. I really love this about traditional food cultures, the simple little things that take place on a daily basis, without much thought or explanation, yet that have deep rooted meaning or importance, in this case for our every important digestive system & gut health.
Like what you're reading? Yarrow is featured in my ebook, learn all about it there, available to download from the online shop page.
Yarrow features in my Summer Foraging Guide, which can be downloaded under 'Foraging Guides'. Lots more detailed information, photos, comprehensive ID, nutritional + medicinal properties, how to prepare, recipes, folklore & history.