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Herb of the week: Yarrow.

Botanical name: 

Photo: Achillea millefolium 13. A short-short profile:

Latin: Achillea millefolium.
Family: daisy family, Asteraceae.
Parts used: Flowers, root.
Taste: Aromatic, bitter.
4 humors: Warm, dry.


  • anti-inflammatory
  • bitter: good for the digestion and the appetite
  • good for the liver and the immune system
  • nice to sweat out fevers
  • aromatic: good for digestive problems
  • extremely good for toothache
  • and almost anything else you can think of.


  • The taste of a freshly dried or fresh flowery tea is too strong for me. I much prefer yarrow that's sat in the cupboard for a few years.
  • It has been used for anything under the sun, and then some. It takes a while for it to work though: don't expect wonders straight away.
  • The stalks can be used for yarrow stalk I Ching.
  • Any colored yarrows that have the yarrow scent and taste work as well. The pink to red ones are even the same species ...

Food uses:

  • You can if you so like use the leaf as a bitter spice. I prefer tastier wild greens ...


  • Look at it like this: take yarrow tea or tincture three times a day for a few weeks for any problem at all, and check what's left of your problem two or three weeks down the line.
  • If you've run out of Echinacea and have a cold coming on, grab your yarrow. It is a milder immune system herb.
  • If you've run out of Silybum and think your liver needs some help, grab your yarrow. It is a milder liver healer.
  • Don't use yarrow if you are allergic to it.
  • The root (the browner underground runners) are astonishing for toothaches. They have to be fresh, or fairly recently dried: 3 or 4 years old root won't work anymore.

Comments on Facebook:

  • From Deborah M.:
    I keep Yarrow powder in my bathroom ... great as a styptic when I cut my legs shaving.
    15 May at 15:42
  • From Rachael Amen:
    i add a low dose of yarrow to some tincture blends, as i feel it tends to help "circulate" the other herbs along with it.
    15 May at 17:21
  • From Donald Purves:
    Just looking back at my MSc thesis on trees - Yarrow considered suitable non-tree substitute for Crataegus, Tilia, Aesculus - looks a bit like a tall tree with big flat canopy but few lower branches.
    16 May at 13:09
  • From Devon Jeremy:
    The Plant Physician. Grow it anywhere, move some to the struggling plants, watch it do its thing!
    15 May at 15:23
  • From Annie Whitney:
    Great for skin stuff!
    16 May at 05:10
  • From Cindi's Sacred Garden:
    I Love Yarrow and grow as much as I can! I have saved numerous ER visits with my kids when they cut themselves pretty bad with the fresh leaves chewed and applied directly to the bleeding wound (coagulates the blood) and not to mention if the child chews the leaves before applying to wound they are getting a dose of blood cleanser (think rusty nail).
    Also, the only herb that has this quality..stops external bleeding then when the leaves are rolled up and inserted into nostril will pull down a sinus infection with a bleeder.
    AWESOME Medicine!!!! Easy to grow :-)
    15 May at 17:46
  • From Kate Davy:
    that and sassafrass for infection
    15 May at 19:08
  • From Kathleen DeBlois:
    Me and my bees love yarrow
    15 May at 13:30
  • From Hidden Hollow Farm:
    The yarrow is blooming - do you have any around you? It is a beautiful and extremely useful plant. It is a valuable first aid plant as well and stops bleeding on contact. Be sure to check out Henriette's herbal page and website, a treasure trove of reliable herbal information!
    15 May at 16:54
  • From Lisa Tunick Boward:
    i don't have any growing wild, but i did acquire some seeds and want to start a patch, i use it in a skin salve i make. good stuff!
    16 May at 00:51
  • From Naturopathic Way:
    My first intro to Yarrow was drinking YEP (Yarrow-Elder-Peppermint) tea. Great for colds.
    15 May at 14:22
  • From David Bruce Leonard:
    This to find up on Mauna Kea so we can use the I Ching... Ho'omaika'i Loa!
    15 May at 12:19
  • From Jeremy R. Coppercat:
    yeah! old school! asymmetrical odds beat coin flips any day!
    15 May at 13:26
  • From David Bruce Leonard:
    Yeah, the math is much better and the time allows one to move more clearly into the question asked.
    15 May at 22:56

Comments on the herblist:

  • From Sharon Hodges-Rust:
    Date: 2012 05 15 - 14:03:45 +0300

    Good for stopping bleeding
    Lowers diastolic BP

  • From Sarah:
    Date: 2012 05 15 - 14:04:35 +0300

    I love yarrow. It is one of my "can't do without" herbs.

    At the moment I'm using it in a tea along with thyme and calendula to help heal my husband's post urethral surgery for it's anti-inflammatory and "yarrow knows what to do with blood" properties.

    I make an old wound salve from yarrow, plantain and comfrey.

    I tend to pop it in any healing tea just because.

    Energetically, yarrow is amazing. I use it for boundaries, for knowing where I am and where I stop. The first time I grasped at it was after kissing a friend goodbye in a cancer ward. The taste of his sweat was hideous and I didn't know what to do. As I walked down the concrete steps to the car park, there was yarrow growing happily in the cracks. I pulled up a few fronds and chewed them. It got rid of the taste and mae me feel a whole lot better. This was when I'd first started my journey with herbs and didn't know anything about energetic uses.

    The second time was when a friend had been involved in a fatal road accident. I spent a horrible few days physically sick at the thought he might go to prison leaving his wife with their two kids. I'd recently made some yarrow flower essence, so eventually I took it into work with me and put a few drops in my water glass. Within 20 minutes, the excrutiating pain in my solar plexus had gone and didn't return.

    I had another incidence where things were bad and yarrow kept yelling at me - I literally had to brush it out of the way every time I went out the back door into the garden, but it took me several weeks to take notice. I made some more flower essence, took it and things improved.

    I used to have a large patch of yarrow in one of my herb beds that I bought from Poyntzfield nursery because I couldn't find any on the rest of the farm. For the first few years it was totally weak and watery compared with other wild yarrow, but gradually it naturalised and was a wonderful medicinal source - so much so I made tincture, oil, vinegar, dried it etc etc. The next year it didn't come up. In fact it disappeared for about five years, but last Saturday we noticed it has returned. It doesn't like growing in the bed, it likes the edges of the grass and further in. There is one group of plants which grows inside and outside my parents' greenhouse. The outside flowers are white and the inside ones pink - very beautiful! I'm nurturing other patches so we have loads to harvest this summer.

    I love yarrow.


  • From Debbie N.:
    Date: 2012 05 15 - 15:32:37 +0300

    I must comment and say that yarrow is one of my very, very favorite herbs, too.

    I am currently using it for female hormone balance along with raspberry leaf, nettle and oat straw.

    I have also used it with great success for urinary tract infections, and to help stabilize blood sugar issues.

    It is anti viral, anti bacterial, anti fungal, and seems to help just about anything.

    Can't say that I enjoy the flavor, but the results are worth it.

  • From Henriette:
    Date: 2012 05 16 - 08:57:31 +0300

    Ooh yes. Thanks for that reminder: I use it for the electricity sensitive as well. A flower essence, a tea or a tincture, or even a bunch of dried flowers right next to the computer.

    Lovely yarrow.


  • From Jane MacRoss:
    Date: 2012 05 15 - 17:55:30 +0300

    Possums eat all attempts of mine to grow yarrow here so I have to go back to Scotland (1973) where we visited Podolinsky in charge of Bio-Dynamics there, wearing at least 4 overcoats in his kitchen chatting over a cup of something and putting a fifth one on top of them to show us around his amazing garden where he demonstrated plunging armfuls of yarrow into his compost pile as the very best plant for good compost.

  • From Michelle Morton:
    Date: 2012 05 16 - 14:51:29 +0300

    Yarrow tea makes an excellent postpartum sitz bath. It is also great used as tea in the postpartum peri bottle/rinse water.

    Ive also heard of people using the extract to repel ticks but I haven't tried that.

Yarrow is in my book "Practical Herbs" - go get that, if you haven't yet!

Please add your own experiences etc. in the comments.