Achillea millefolium

Almost everyone who enjoys the healing secrets of herbs makes sure that some yarrow is always available. This hard working herb is said to have soothing effects on irritated and inflamed mucous membranes.

Other Names: Band Man’s Plaything, Bloodwort, Carpenter’s Weed, Devil’s Nettle, Devil’s Playtning, Milfoil, Nose Bleed, Old Man’s Pepper, Sanguinary, Soldier’s Woundwort, Staunchweed, Thousand Weed, Yarroway, Thousand Seal, Noble Yarrow, Knight’s Milfoil

yarrowYarrow grows everywhere, in the grass, in meadows, pastures, and by the roadside. As it creeps greatly by its roots and multiplies by seeds it becomes a troublesome weed in gardens.

Yarrow was formerly much esteemed as a vulnerary, and its old names of Soldier’s Wound Wort and Knight’s Milfoil testify to this. The Highlanders still make an ointment from it, which they apply to wounds, and Milfoil tea is held in much repute in the Orkneys for dispelling melancholy.

It was one of the herbs dedicated to the Evil One, in earlier days, being sometimes known as Devil’s Nettle, Devil’s Plaything, Bad Man’s Plaything, and was used for divination in spells.

Yarrow as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

The dried flower clusters and above-ground parts of the herb are used medicinally.

Yarrow has been employed as snuff, and is also called Old Man’s Pepper, on account of the pungency of its foliage. Both flowers and leaves have a bitterish, astringent, pungent taste.

Yarrow is used to stimulate and regulate the liver. It acts as a blood purifier and heals the glandular system. It has been used as a contraceptive, and as a part of diabetes treatment, as well as treating gum ailments and toothache.

Also is used in formulas for treating colds, flu, and fevers, promoting sweat in fevers, and healing fibroid tumors. It stops internal and external bleeding during childbirth. It is used to stop the bleeding of external wounds.

Yarrow Tea is a good remedy for severe colds, being most useful in the commencement of fevers, and in cases of obstructed perspiration. The infusion is made with 1 OZ. of dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water, drunk warm, in wineglassful doses. It may be sweetened with sugar, honey or treacle, adding a little Cayenne Pepper, and to each dose a teaspoonful of Composition Essence. It opens the pores freely and purifies the blood, and is recommended in the early stages of children’s colds, and in measles and other eruptive diseases.

A decoction of the whole plant is employed for bleeding piles, and is good for kidney disorders.

Yarrow has the reputation also of being a preventative of baldness, if the head be washed with it.

In Sweden it is called ‘Field Hop’ and has been used in the manufacture of beer. Linnaeus considered beer thus brewed more intoxicating than when hops were used.

It is said to have a similar use in Africa.

Yarrow is approved by Commission E for:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Dyspeptic complaints.
  • Liver and gallbladder complaints.

Folk medicine: Externally, the herb is used as a sitz bath for painful, cramp-like conditions of psychosomatic origin in the lower part of the female pelvis. Yarrow is also used externally as a palliative treatment for liver disorders and for the healing of wounds. In folk medicine, it is used for bleeding hemorrhoids, menstrual complaints, and as a bath for the removal of perspiration. It is also used as an adjuvant in preparations for many other indications such as laxatives, cough treatments, gynecological agents, cardiac agents and preparations for varicose veins.

Homeopathic Uses: Used for varicose veins, arterial bleeding, convulsions.

Culinary Uses of Yarrow

In the seventeenth century it was an ingredient of salads.


Yarrow, in the eastern counties, is termed Yarroway, and there is a curious mode of divination with its serrated leaf, with which the inside of the nose is tickled while the following lines are spoken. If the operation causes the nose to bleed, it is a certain omen of success:

An ounce of Yarrow sewed up in flannel and placed under the pillow before going to bed, having repeated the following words, brought a vision of the future husband or wife:

Source: Halliwell’s Popular Rhymes, etc.

Magical Uses: Use yarrow in your wedding decorations to ensure your love will last at least seven years. Carry yarrow to make people sit up and notice you. Yarrow tea improves psychic powers.


No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.

Pregnant women should avoid this herb.

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