yarrow

   In Devon and Cornwall, girls wanting to dream of their future husbands would pick this plant at night - some said, from a young man's grave - and put it under their pillows, saying:
   Good night, fair yarrow, Thrice good night to thee, I hope before tomorrow My true love to see.
   East Anglian girls pinned yarrow to their dresses to draw the attention of the lads they fancied; or, barefoot and with their eyes shut, they picked a bunch at midnight by the light of the full moon and kept it overnight, for if at dawn it was still wet with dew they would soon be courted (Porter, 1969: 3); to test a man's love, they would push a yarrow leaf up their nose, saying:
   Yarroway, yarroway, bear a white blow [blossom], If my love love me, my nose will bleed now. (Wright, 1913: 258)
   The plant was actually called 'Nosebleed' in some areas; some said this was because to smell its flowers stopped a nosebleed, others because a leaf up the nostril caused bleeding, which relieved headaches. Medicinal uses in East Anglia in the 20th century include yarrow tea for measles and fevers, ointment for cuts and grazes, and an infusion of its roots for rheumatism (Hatfield, 1994: 33, 343, 46). A bunch tied to a cradle was said to calm a baby and make it sweet-tempered; a pillow stuffed with it brought happiness; yarrow strewn on the doorstep kept witches out (Porter, 1969: 17, 49). However, it was unlucky to bring its flowers into the house as decoration.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Synonyms:
(Achillea millefolium)


Look at other dictionaries:

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