Updated: May 9
I have to confess I hesitated to include herbal teas in this challenge. I was impressed by some Chinese herbal teas some of which are processed as tea and I thought they have a role to play and I should include them. I was not wrong! I am yet to write about those Chinese herbal teas (if/when I manage to go back to China) but in the meantime, I had a chance to discover some herbal teas that are available in Turkey and consumed commonly due to their health benefits. I have to say yarrow tea (civanperçemi in Turkish) is not something I had tried before and it only rings a distant bell. Possibly, it is not one of the most common herbal teas but I was surprised by the number of manufacturers that sell it.
I started to read about its benefits and I came across a study almost like a meta-analysis of different researches investigates the effects of yarrow. Accordingly,  the plant has been applied in different forms to treat some problems among which use of its tea is also mentioned for treating bronchitis, urinary and kidney problems, and for diarrhoea and vomiting (Sulyok and Siklos 1998). Another study  with guinea pigs found evidence concerning the antispasmodic effect of flavonoid-enriched yarrow and argues that yarrow tea would have a similar effect too. While Graf et al. (1994) reported that yarrow tea can be “weakly genotoxic”.
The same article also refers to Duke who argues (e.g., Duke 1986; Duke and Ayensu 1985) that plants used by unrelated groups for similar purposes are especially likely to be effective: given the statistical unlikelihood that multiple cultures would randomly adopt and retain the same use for an inert plant (Moerman 2007). Indeed, the article suggests that yarrow could be such a plant as it is found in Eurasia, with a few species native to northern Africa and North America and it has been used in the treatment of similar health issues by the European folks, Chinese and North Americans.
Yarrow’s Latin name is Achillea millefolium and it was named after Achilles, a powerful warrior in Greek mythology possibly for a good reason! It is also surprising that yarrow was found among other plats in the DNA analysis of tablets that were found in a Roman shipwreck in the coast of Tuscany dated sometime between 140 and 120 BCE.
Well, I cannot say I enjoyed drinking this tea. I found it way too bitter, but it is a result my stubbornness brewing everything gongfu style. The below recommendation for brewing is more suitable for this tea.
 Sulyok, K. and L. Siklos. 1998. Lajor Atya Tanascai. Hungalibri Kiado, Budapest.  Lemmens-Gruber, R., E. Marchart, P. Rawnduzi, N. Engel, B. Benedek, and B. Kopp. 2006. Investigation of the spasmolytic activity of the flavonoid fraction of Achillea millefolium s.l. on isolated guinea-pig ilea. Arzneimittelforschung 56:582–588.
Type: Herbal (non-tea)
Harvest time: 2019
Leave colour: Yellow and green stems and petioles with white flowers
Liquor colour: Light yellow
Tea aroma: Spicy and vegetal
Tea taste: Bitter with vegetal notes
Steeping/brewing: Boil a pot of water and leave it for 5 minutes. Then add about 2 gr of yarrow and infuse for 10 minutes.
Shelf life: Up to 2 years (the freshest the better)