Monthly Medicinal: Achillea millefolium, Yarrow

Achillea millefolium, common name Yarrow

Quick Guide

  • Medicinal uses: Astringent, Bitter, Antipyretic, Diaphoretic, Antibacterial, Styptic.
  • Methods of extraction: Yarrow makes excellent tea, topical salve, liniment, antibacterial soap, oil and tincture.
  • Part of the plant to use: Leaves and Flowers.

Other common names: Gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf and thousand-seal.

In History: Yarrow has long been a human ally. The discovery of Yarrow in ancient burial graves shows us that humans have had a relationship with this useful plant since prehistoric times. Achillea (Achilles) millefolium ( Thousand-leaved) gets it’s name from it’s presence in the Iliad where it was used by Achilles to treat the wounds of his men. There are reports of peoples throughout time having used Yarrow as a hair rinse, insect repellant, to treat boils, scars, sores, cuts, piles, burns and rashes.

Harvesting Yarrow in the NM mountains with my friend Daisy and our dogs.

Yarrow is a wonderful, apple smelling, flower. Beloved by the birds & bees for it’s healing properties. (I made a rhyme.)

Harvest is best done early in the season.

Medicinal Uses: Use leaves and flowers, dried. Yarrow makes wonderful topical salve, oil, liniment, tincture, antibacterial soap and tea! It is an incredibly useful plant for treating wounds as it can both thin and thicken the blood. Used to treat colds, dry up mucus, mitigate diarrhea, and regulate fever. Yarrow can stimulate circulation, open pores and helps the body to cool itself by stimulating sweating. Because Yarrow is a bitter it can increase digestive function and health. Yarrow tones and tonifies blood vessel walls and is useful for regulating menstrual cycles.

The Science behind it: The effectiveness of Yarrow as a medicine comes primarily from the Alkaloid Achilleine which encourages blood clotting. One study found that 1/2 milligram of Achilleine per kilo/ body weight can reduce the time it takes a wound to clot by 32%. (Miller 1954). Terpenes in it’s essential oil give Yarrow anti-microbial properties making it even more effective in first aid.

Caution: Pregnant women are not advised to use Yarrow unless guided by an herbalist. It is not advised to consume Yarrow leaves in Large quantities. If using Yarrow to regulate fever by inducing sweating make sure you are well hydrated.

Growth & Ecology: Yarrow grows native across basically the entire Norther Hemisphere, Asia through Europe and all over the Americas. It is considered by some to be an aggressive weed and can be found growing wild in a vast array of environments. Yarrow spreads through underground tubers and is an excellent pollinator plant. Some birds including the common Starling line their nests with yarrow and the rich volatile compounds help to prevent insects in the nest.

WARNING! In our litigation loving world herbalists such as myself must point out that we are not doctors and this information is not intended to diagnose or treat or cure any of your diseases. Use any plant medicinal or otherwise at your own risk and harvest with integrity and consciousness. Never take all that nature has to offer from any one location. Do your research and take care to correctly identify any plant you intend to consume. My personal Opinion is that plants have all the medicine we need.

This is my opinion only.

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Published by Bethany Latham

Hi guys! I am Bethany. I am a nature lover, Permaculture designer, passionate about ecology, sustainability and learning. I have two adorable huskies and far too many houseplants.

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