There are many benefits of yarrow. This is one of my favorite plants to grow in the garden because it’s beautiful blossom attracts butterflies; plus it has multiple healthful applications. This ancient herb and decorative plant, Achillea millefolium, has been used worldwide throughout time dating back thousands of years in Chinese medicine, up to Native American healing practices, and throughout Europe even today.
Also called soldier’s wound wort, knight’s milfoil, and the nosebleed plant, yarrow has been used to help reduce bleeding and to put on wounds. Called an amphoretic herb, it has conversely also been applicable to help improve blood flow. It’s spasmolytic action may contribute to its helpfulness during menstrual pain, for digestive complaints, and with aches associated with the flu. Its antimicrobial activities have shown effectiveness in mouthwashes for oral health, and to help fight cold and flu microbes.
Click here for a listing of multiple scientific research studies on the Therapeutic Benefits of Yarrow.
Garden Benefits of Yarrow
Another benefit of yarrow is that butterflies love it! Flowers are usually white, but may also be yellow, pink, red, or orange. This plant grows very easily, practically like a weed, and is a wonderful blooming add for any garden. Plant in full sun, and consider growing yarrow in a pot because it can become invasive. Besides attracting butterflies, you can use the flower tops to make teas, poultices, tinctures, and infusions. Make sure when growing your own yarrow that you avoid pesticides and pollutants: grow organically! (See tea and tincture instructions listed below.)
Here are Some Potential Health Benefits of Yarrow:
- Wound Healing – Yarrow has shown action in studies as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-septic. Yarrow Research
- Topical Skin Health – Yarrow is an astringent, and may help improve skin conditions such as eczema. Yarrow Research
- Menstrual Complaints – Yarrow has been used by our ancestors for menstrual cramping, and may be effective related to its anti-spasmotic action and pain reducing salicylic acid constituent. Yarrow Research
- Upper Respiratory Complaints – Yarrow has been used for phlem, hay fever, and mild asthma. See below for an easy yarrow tea recipe. Yarrow Research
- Oral Health – A few human studies have demonstrated improved oral health with the use of a yarrow tincture. See Yarrow Research.
- Cold and Flu – Traditionally, yarrow has been a plant tea to drink with cold and flu afflictions. Its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and calming actions may help with aches, fight microbes, and aid in sleeping. Yarrow Research
- Digestive Aid – This bitter herb helps stimulate digestion, acts as a spasmolytic, and may help reduce diarrhea, while stimulating the liver’s to production of bile. Yarrow Research
Use it Now – How to Make Yarrow Tea for Drinking or to Apply Topically
- Add 1 tsp of dried herb or 2 tsp of fresh herb (flowers and tops) to 8 ounces of hot water. Cover and steep for 20-30 minutes. Strain and drink or apply topically. Remember to select organically grown herb. Review possible contraindications before use.
Preserve it for Later – How to Make a Yarrow Tincture
- Add 1 cup of dried herb to 4 cups of strong vodka in a sealed glass jar, such as a mason jar. Soak for about 4-6 weeks, shaking a few times a week. Strain all herb from the liquid using a cheesecloth or coffee filter. Bottle the remaining tincture liquid in a sealed glass container away from sunlight. Apply topically or adults can drink up to a few Tablespoons a day.
Yarrow Recipe Flyer
Using Yarrow Safely
As with all herbs, safe dosage amounts can be healthful, but excessive use or use with contraindications can be detrimental. Contact your Doctor with questions and possible interactions. Here are a few items to consider:
- Avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding; possible uterine stimulant.
- Avoid with allergies to plants of the Asteraceae family such as daisies, chamomile, thistle, etc.
- Avoid with aspirin allergy; yarrow contains salicylic acid.
- May interfere with some medications like anticoagulants, blood modifiers, meds for blood diseases, and have sedative and diuretic effects.
- With wild harvesting, you should not confuse yarrow with similar looking poison hemlock!
Read all about yarrow here: Yarrow Monograph
Fun Fact About Yarrow: The Latin name of yarrow: Achillea millefolium, can be attributed to the legend of the ancient Greek warrior, Achilles, using the healing powers of the plant during battle to help stop excessive bleeding.
By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, RA (ARC), NAHA and AIA Professional Member, LMT