Achillea millefolium (yarrow) medicinal uses and benefits

Related to chrysanthemums and chamomile, Achillea millefolium or yarrow plant is an aromatic, perennial herb with wispy leaves. It has tiny white flowers that grow as flat-topped clusters. It grows 0.2-1 meter in height. Here, we will talk about Achillea millefolium medicinal uses and benefits.

Achillea millefolium (yarrow) medicinal uses and benefits

The distribution of the leaves occur evenly throughout the stem. They are bipinnate or tripinnate and 5-20 cm long. The feathery leaves remain arranged in a spiral around the stem.

It is a butterfly bush that we find in mildly disturbed soils of wastelands and forest areas. Blossoms appear from June to September. The flowers are typically white but they may be pink or pale purple. 

Common names of the Achillea millefolium plant

The common name of the plant is yarrow. Other common names include knight’s milfoil, carpenter’s weed, nosebleed, staunch grass, and old man’s pepper. 

Botanical name and family

The botanical name is Achillea millefolium. It belongs to the Asteraceae family. 

Geological places where yarrow grows

It is a weed that grows natively in the northern hemisphere. In North America, it grows natively. You also find it in northern Asia, Southern Australia, and Europe.

Achillea millefolium medicinal uses and benefits

Yarrow has been used since the ancient times for curing many ailments in Chinese, European, and Indian medicine. This is due to the presence of tannin’s that work as stringent and alkaloids that are hypoglycemic and hypotensive. The flavonoids help increase the saliva and the stomach acid.

1. Preparing an infusion of yarrow

Cure for phlegm: We can make an infusion of the yarrow flower through simply letting them steep in hot water for some time. This is useful for treating congestion due to phlegm in the upper respiratory tract.

Alleviate symptoms of asthma: Put some flowers in hot water and inhale the aroma rising along with the steam. This helps cure mild asthma and hay fever. 

yarrow flowers and leaves

2. Uses of the yarrow essential oil

Helps people with arthritis: The essential oil of yarrow is added to an equal part of St. John’s wort oil. It helps if you rub this amalgam on swollen joints. It reduces the swelling and gives relief from the pain.

Chest rub with oil: Take 50 ml of sunflower oil or almond oil and add 35-40 drops of yarrow oil. Blend it and put a few drops on your chest. Rub it well for 5-6 minutes to get relief from influenza and chesty colds. You can also use thyme, hyssop, eucalyptus, or peppermint oil to mix the yarrow oil. 

3. Antimicrobial activity of yarrow

There are dozens of species belonging to the yarrow group. Many of them show antimicrobial activity which is thought to be due to the presence of phenolcarbonic acids and flavonoids. The method of extraction alters their properties. 

4. Achillea millefolium heals cuts and wounds

Put in the nose: The leaves of the Achillea millefolium plant when inserted into the nose helps to cure nosebleed. Yarrow has an antiseptic nature that helps prevent infections. 

Heal surface wounds: If you have any surface wounds, make a poultice of the leaves and put them on the wound. This will help to stop the bleeding fast. It helps inflammatory skin problems like eczema because it also has astringent properties. Use the crushed leaves for healing burns and ulcers. The use of yarrow helps in reducing the formation of scar tissue. 

5. Gastrointestinal remedy

Yarrow helps remedy many problems affecting the digestion. You get relief from flatulence, cramping, and diarrhea. Studies on animals showed it helps control smooth muscle spasms that give rise to gastrointestinal problems. This is due to the flavonoid content in the yarrow. 

6. Achillea millefolium helps cure infections

Mastitis is a breast infection in women when they are breastfeeding. Use of yarrow can alleviate the symptoms of this infection. Alternate between hot and cold compresses, the warmth helps increase the blood flow while the cold helps to subdue the pain. You can use leaf poultices for cracked nipples. 

7. Yarrow tea can rectify menstrual problems

Women suffering from absence of menstruation can have yarrow. This helps to rectify the problem by encouraging bleeding. You can also use rue and motherwort. Although it is an age-old remedy, the benefits of this have not been confirmed by clinical research.

8. Cure for fever

Achillea millefolium shows antipyretic properties. Make an infusion with the aerial parts of the plant. This will help reduce the fever. It also stimulates the digestive system. So, it is used as a cure for loss of appetite. 

9. Helpful for treating blood pressure problem

The anti-inflammatory and vaso-dilatory properties of yarrow plant help it in getting the blood pressure under control. Studies show that it helps reduce the blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Animal studies show that yarrow can prove to be useful for hyperactive cardiovascular conditions. It also acts as a blood purifier.

10. Cure for colds

Make a tea with the leaves of the yarrow plant. Take this twice a day to get relief from cold. The yarrow dilates the blood vessels and the pores and this helps remove the toxins from the body. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties help to calm any swelling and fight the infections. They help to calm bouts of coughing. It removes the phlegm from the chest.

11. Rectify hormonal imbalance

We get hormonal imbalances occasionally and usually it does not last long. When you have PMS, the hormonal imbalance can cause severe problems. Use yarrow to help gain balance in your hormonal system. Hormonal imbalance may affect your menstrual cycle. By improving the blood flow, yarrow helps restore menstruation and hormonal balance in your body.

12. Treatment for anxiety

Studies conducted on the infusion of the aerial parts of the Achillea millefolium plant showed that it has both long-term and short-term effect on the patients with anxiety. It is used as a sedative for people with anxiety. The anti-anxiety effect helped and lasted for the period of the study. The effect was similar to that of valium. The effect was good even for repeated administration.

13. Relief from toothache

People chew the leaves of the yarrow plant to when they have a toothache. This is another age-old remedy. It is cheap and effective and one does not need any elaborate blood testing or injections. 


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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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