Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow: Medical Uses

Yarrow encourages perspiration, appetite, and strength.

Historical Uses

Yarrow was called “soldiers’ woundwort” because the leaves were taken onto the battlefield and applied to stop wounds from bleeding. Yarrow compresses were used for hemorrhoids. In folklore, fresh yarrow root was used as an anesthetic for surgery. Fresh roots or leaves were also mashed in whiskey and used for toothache.


Yarrow grows wild in meadows and on roadsides in North America. The flower heads grow in clusters of different-colored varieties of white, yellow, orange, and bright red. White yarrow is the variety most often used medicinally. Yarrow repels ants, flies, Japanese beetles, and termites.

Part Used

• Flowers (whole white flower heads)

Major Chemical Compounds

• Tannins

• Volatile oils

• Flavonoids

• Vitamins (ascorbic acid, folic acid)

• Coumarins

Yarrow: Clinical Uses

Yarrow encourages perspiration, appetite, and strength. It is approved by the German Commission E for loss of appetite and dyspepsia and externally for psychosomatic cramps of the female pelvis.

Mechanism of Action

The anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties of yarrow may result from its flavonoid content.

Yarrow: Dosage

Tincture 1:5:1 teaspoon three times a day between meals.

Tea by infusion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water onto 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried yarrow and infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink three times a day between meals.

Bath: Place flower heads in the bath water to reduce a fever.

Sitz bath: Use 100 grams of yarrow per 5 gallons of warm water. Have patient sit in bath for 10 to 20 minutes and then rinse.

Side Effects

None are known.

Yarrow: Contraindications

• Yarrow is contraindicated in people with allergies to Asteraceae.

• Federal regulations state that foods or beverages containing yarrow must be thujone-free.

Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding

Yarrow should not be taken internally during pregnancy because it may stimulate the uterus and menstruation. No restrictions are known for breastfeeding.

Herb-Drug Interactions

None are known.