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Botanical Description & Habitat

Achillea millefolium


Common names

Green arrowMilfoil
Noble yarrowNosebleed plant
SanguinarySolder's woundwort

Found in Europe, North America, northern Asia, and southern Australia.

Has a light brown, creeping rootstock which produces a smooth, angular, furrowed, 12 to 18 inch long stem. The leaves are linear, and pinnately divided into many small segments. The flowers are white with yellow disks and grow in dense corymbs, blooming from June to November.

Medicinal parts
Whole herb, dried, gathered just after flowering

Historical Properties & Uses

Yarrow is a common bitter, used in the folk medicine of Europe, Asia, and North America. The herb has a considerable reputation in North America and China as an astringent hemostatic, due to its concentration of tannins.

It is used to stop internal bleeding, including that from hemorrhoids, excessive menstrual flow, and bleeding from the lungs. Yarrow is also used to treat dyspepsia. Like most bitter herbs, it is classified and experimentally verified as a cholagogue.

Yarrow contains an essential oil, consisting mainly of cineol, azulene, and proazuline. Its bitter substance is known as achilleine. Due to the presence of volatile oil, yarrow is also an effective antibiotic and spasmolytic agent. Cineol itself has the antiseptic, expectorant, and carminative properties common to most essential oils. A protein-carbohydrate mixture from yarrow has anti-inflammatory properties, but folklore uses do not appear to depend on this characteristic.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E for internal and external use.

Internally it is used for loss of appetite (see appetite disorders) and dyspepsia.

Externally it is used as a sitz bath for female disorders.


Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

Yarrow contains over 80 constituents in its essential oil, mostly chamazulene and camphor.

Yarrow Is A Cholagogue
The cholagogue activity of yarrow may be due to the presence of unsaturated fatty acids. At the least, it has been observed unsaturated fatty acids have good cholagogue effects, and they are present in yarrow.

It is often difficult to discover exactly why a given substance has cholagogue action. In the case of yarrow and other unsaturated fatty acid-containing plants, such as maria thistle, at least some of this one connection has been observed.

Yarrow Has Some Antibiotic Properties
In routine screenings, extracts of yarrow have shown some antibacterial activity against both gram negative and gram positive bacteria. Incubated at 37 degrees C. for seven days with the H37Rv strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, yarrow extract produced inhibition at concentrations lower than 1:80 but higher than 1:40. This makes it one of the poorest plants among those having such activity, but demonstrates the presence of the property nonetheless.

Other Pharmacology Of Yarrow
There are published studies indicating yarrow has hypotensive, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and hemostatic properties.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

There is presently insufficient data on this subject.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Contact dermatitis, photosensitization, and other allergic reactions may occur in sensitive individuals.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.


Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Preparation & Administration

Three times a day

Dried herb
2-4 grams

made from 1 tsp of dried herb

Fluid extract
1:1 in 25% alcohol: 2-4 ml

1:5 in 45% alcohol: 3-6 ml

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:


4.5 g yarrow herb.
3 teaspoons pressed fresh juice.
3 g yarrow flowers.


100 g yarrow per 5 gallons of water.


Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.


Am Hospital Formulary Service. Am Soc of Hosp Pharm. Wash, D.C.

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Bressler, R., M.D. Bogdonoff & G.J. Subak-Sharpe. 1981. The Physicians Drug Manual. Doubleday & Co, Inc. Garden City, NY. 1213 pp.

Chabrol, E., R. Charonnat, M. Maximin, R. Waitz & J. Porin. L'action choleretique des composees. C.R. Societe De Biologie. Paris, 108(12), 1100-1102, 1931.

Committee on Pharmocopaeia of the Am Institute of Homeopathy, The Homeopathic Pharmacopaeia of the United States. 8th ed., Vol 1. Otis Clapp and Son, Agents, Boston, l981.

D'Amico, M.L. Richere sulla presenza di sostanze ad azione antibiotica nelle piante superiori. Fitoterapia, 26(1), 77-79, 1950.

Facts and Comparisons. The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Apr, 1998.

Fitzpatrick, F. Plant substances active against mycobacterium tuberculosis. Antibiotics And Chemotherapy, 4(5), 528-536, 1954.

Goetz, H.G. Cholagoga. Pharmazeutische praxis. Supplement to: Die Pharmazie, 9, 193-, 1971.

Goldberg, A. S., et.al. Us Patent 3,552, 350, 1970. Chem Abstract 73. 102048w, 1970.

Goldberg, A.S. & E.C. Mueller. J Of Pharm Sci, 58, 938, 1969.

Goodman, L.S. & A. Gilman. 1975. Pharm Basis of Thera. Macmillan, NY.

Goranov, K., et.al., Clinical results from the treatment of hemorrhagic form of periodontosis with a complex herb extract and 15% DMSO?. Stomatologia, 65(6), 25-30, 1983.

Hansten, P.D. 1979. Drug Interactions. 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phila.

Hyde, F.F. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Assoc: West Yorks, England. 1983.

Kastrup, E.K., ed. 1981. Drug Facts and Comparisons, 1982 edition. Facts and Comparisions Division, J.P. Lippincott Co, Phila (St. Louis).

Kiangsu Institute of Medicine. Encyclopedia of Chinese Drugs. 2 volumes. Shanghai, Prc.

Kudrzycka-bieloszabska, F.W. & Glowniak, K. Diss. Pharm. Pharmacol. 14, 449, 1966.

Lewis, Walter H. & Elvin-Lewis, Memory P.F. Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man's Health, John Wiley and Sons. New York, l977.

List, P. & L. Hoerhammer. 1969-1976. Hagers Hanbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, vols. 2-5. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Maiwald, L. Pflanzliche cholagoga. Zhurnal Allgemein Medizin, 59, 1304-1308, 1983.

Martin, E.W. 1978. Drug Interactions Index, 1978/79. J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

Mitchell, J.C. Recent Advances In Phytochemistry, Vol 9, V.C. Runeckles, Ed. Penum Press, New York, 1975, p. 119.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Scientific Committee, British Herbal Pharmocopaeia, British Herbal Med Assoc, Lane House, Cowling, Na Keighley, West Yorks, Bd Bd220lx, l983.


Achillea millefolium

Yarrow 2.

? Southwest School of Botanical Medicine


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