Yarrow (Achillea millefolium, Compositae)

Names: Milfoil

Habitat: Native to Eurasia and naturalized in North America, found in temperate zones.

Collection: The whole of the plant above ground should be gathered when in flower between June and September.

Part Use: Aerial parts.


  • Volatile oil, containing a- and b-pinenes, borneol, bornyl acetate, camphor, caryophyllene, eugenol, farnesene, myrcene, sabinene, salicylic acid, terpineol, thujone and many others, and including the sesquiterpene lactones. Many samples contain high concentrations of azulenes, up to about 50%, including chamazulene and guajazulene.
  • Sesquiterpene lactones; achillin, achillicin, hydroxyachillin, balchanolide, leucodin, millifin, millifolide and many others.
  • Alkaloids and bases; betonicine (= achilleine), stachydrine, achiceine, moschatine, trigonelline and others.
  • Miscellaneous; acetylenes, aldehydes, cyclitols, plant acids etc.

Actions: Diaphoretic, hypotensive, astringent, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, anti-microbial, bitter, hepatic.

Indications: Yarrow is one of the best diaphoretic herbs and is a standard remedy for aiding the body to deal with fevers. It lowers blood pressure due to a dilation of the peripheral vessels. It stimulates the digestion and tones the blood vessels. As a urinary antiseptic it is indicated in infections such as cystitis. Used externally it will aid in the healing of wounds. It is considered to be a specific in thrombotic conditions associated with hypertension.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a mild, slow & stimulating diaphoretic: indicated for the first stage of acute febrile reactions. For atonic & relaxed tissues where there is free discharge or passive hemorrhage of bright red blood. Cold preparations stimulate the appetite and tone the digestive organs They give the following specific indications: Acute stage of colds, influenza and respiratory catarrhs. Chronic diarrhea and dysentery. Epistaxis, intestinal hemorrhage and bleeding hemorrhoids. Uterine hemorrhage, profuse protracted menstruation and leucorrhoea.

Ellingwood considered it specific for hot, dry burning skin, at the beginning of acute asthenic fevers, with suppressed secretion; deficient renal action, with renal or urethral irritation; acute or chronic Brights disease in its incipient stage. Leucorrhoea with relaxed vaginal walls. Menorrhagia and amenorrhoea; hemorrhoids. with bloody discharge, atonic gastric and intestinal dyspepsia; passive hemorrhages. In addition he recommends it for the following pathologies: haematuria, uterine hemorrhage, intestinal irritation, leucorrhoea, fevers, ureamia, edema, tonsillitis, epididymitis.

Combinations: For fevers it will combine well with Elder Flower, Peppermint, Boneset and with Cayenne and Ginger. For raised blood pressure it may be used with Hawthorn, Linden Flowers and European Mistletoe.

Preparations & Dosage:

  • Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk hot three times a day. When feverish it should be drunk hourly.
  • Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.
Author: Life Enthusiast Staff