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Disclaimer: The information on is intended to improve your knowledge about herbs and their benefits. Articles on this website are not intended to replace medical treatment from your doctor. Always consult your doctor before starting a new treatment regimen.

Published First in 05/01/2016
Page Update 08/15/2019

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
By Dr.Ashraf Girgis N.D.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Several weeks ago, I discussed medicinal herbs and wildflowers, which are often mistaken for weeds and destroyed. You can review my articles on chicory and dandelions here.

Today I would like to talk about Yarrow. My goal is to explore this wonderful herb and cover  its positive effects on health, so that the plant is used positively rather than exterminated as a weed.


Other names:

 Yarrow belongs to the Asteraceae family with more than 100 different flowering species. Although most are medicinal plants, the focus has been mainly on the Achillea millefolium species. The main parts used are flowers and leaves and stems. Flowers comes in white and pink.

It goes by many names. Some of these are: Bloodwort, Achilee and Bumadaran, a popular name for several species of Achillea in Persian language. Others are: Common Yarrow, Devil's Nettle, Devil's Plaything, Thousand-Leaf, Wound Wort, Nosebleed, Old Man's Pepper, Green Arrow, Noble Yarrow, Soldier's Wound Wort, Sanguinary, Roga Mari ,Millefolii Herba, Carpenter's Weed, Sourcil de Vénus, Band Man's Plaything, 'herbe de St. Joseph' 'Militaris', plumajillo, or “little feather” by Spanish speakers of New Mexico because of the feather shape of its leaves.


Yarrow is native to Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and North America. This herb is known as Achillea after Achilles (the Greek mythical hero) because he would carry the herb in the battle field in order to heal the wounded soldiers. It is also called Soldiers Wound Wort, or Militaris because of its wound healing effects. In China, it has been used to create a balance of Yin and Yan in the body. In Persian traditional literature, Boomadaran or Yarrow has been used as an anti-inflammatory and treatment for hemorrhage, rheumatic pain, pneumonia, gastrointestinal disease, among others.

 In the United States, Native American and early settlers used Yarrow to stop bleeding and help wound healing.

ed for medicinal purposes in both China and Europe.

Chemical composition of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).

 Flavonoids (such as apigenin, luteolin, quercitin), alkaloids (betonicine, stachydrine, trigonelline), Salicylic acid, asparagin, bitters, tannins, azuline, phenolic acids, coumarins, terpenoids (monoterpenes), and sterols are consituents. Anti -inflammatory components, such as sesquiterpene lactones (achillin, achillicin, diterpenes, triterpenes) and volatile oils (such as linalool, camphor, sabinene, chamazulene) and are also found in Achillea species.

Heath benefits:

Anti-microbial Properties:

In a study published in the Journal of Advances in Biomedical Research, Iranian scientists reported anti-bacterial properties. Activity against Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus was reported.

In another study in rats published in the Journal of Applied Sciences in 2013, Iranian researchers concluded that flavanoid in Yarrow leads to immune system induction. Flavonoids can strengthen the immune system because of their antioxidant quality and scavenging of free radicals. In another study by Turkish investigators at Cumhuriyet University published in the Journal of Ethenopharmacology in 2003 concluded that “the essential oil of Achillea millefolium possesses antioxidant and antimicrobial properties in vitro”. The essential oil and methanol extracts of Achillea millefolium oil showed antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus pneumonia and Candida albicans.

Anti-Cancer Activity:

Studies in mice have shown promising results in the treatment of cervical, breast and skin cancer.

Anti-Diarrheal and Gastro-protective Activity:

The astringent feature of yarrow is useful in diarrhea. It is also helpful in stopping intestinal bleeding and healing of intestinal infections. It has been beneficial in treatment of flatus and bloating.

Other Effects:

Yarrow exhibits high angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition and for this reason it is used in the treatment of hypertension.

Yarrow, due to its anti-inflammatory activities, is used in rheumatism and muscle aches and pains in addition to cuts and wounds. The reason for its anti inflammatory affect is due to powerful components of it called azuline.

Other uses are common cold and fever and headache. Because of its tannin and bitter and fragrant constituents it has been used in disorders of the nervous system and heart (Sharififar et al 2009). The German commission E approves Yarrow use internally for loss of appetite and abdominal issues (gastric catarrh, spastic discomfort); externally it can be used in form of sitz bath or as a compress against skin inflammation, slow healing wounds, and bacterial or fungal infections of the skin. In the last decades, pharmacological studies became intensive. Recent findings have confirmed several traditional uses.


Side Effects


There has not been any dosage set for yarrow. According to, 4.5 gm is used for inflammatory conditions. However please check with your doctor before starting to use yarrow. I suggest to follow the instruction on labels for tincture. If you are preparing your own infusion have 1-2 tea spoon of dried leaves over boiling water. Let it infuse for 10-15 minutes, drink it hot 3 times a day (Complete illustrated Holistic Herbal P.53)

Side effects:

Anyone having allergic response to any herbs and flowers in asterecea family should avoid yarrow. Contact dermatitis has been noticed. Photosensitization and other allergic reactions may occur in individuals who are sensitive.

Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid taking Yarrow.

There are lots of drug interactions. Again, make sure to check with your doctor for any herbal usage. If you are on anticoagulant, Yarrow can slow blood clotting and increase the chances of bleeding and bruises.

Other medications are lithium and sedatives because yarrow has some sedative effects and can make you sleepier.

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