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Plant Family: 



Habitat & Cultivation: 

Achillea millefolium is native to and abundant in Eurasia and has naturalized to temperate zones worldwide according to Mountain Rose Herbs (2017). They explain that “it is often found in alpine meadows… [and] prefers standard garden soil or poor soil and requires little water.”  Yarrow has naturalized throughout the united states.  It can be found abundantly near the coast in northern and central California. You’ll see this when hiking in many ecosystems.  


Jackson and Berrgeron (n.d.) tell us that yarrow is “a very good companion plant” and that it heightens the essential oil content and health of nearby plants, “thus making them more resistant to insect predations” and that it improves the fertility of the soil.  Yes, also helps rebuild landscapes by stabilitizing erosion, and adds diversity to ecosystems as a pollinator species


The Native American Ethnobotany DB (2017) came back with more than 350 “drug use” entries for Achillea millefolium! Traditional use of yarrow by Native Americans included giving whole plant infusions to children for colds, which speaks to its internal use being very safe. Sometimes the leaves would be rubbed on the body for respiratory diseases or a poultice of leaves and eulachon grease applied to the chest and back for bronchitis. Clearly it must have an affinity to the respiratory system. It was also used for headaches, swelling, sprains, strains and broken bones. As a gynecological aid, yarrow was used in the Blackfoot community by taking an infusion of leaves when labor pains began and to “ease the delivery”, as well as to help “expel the afterbirth” (Native American Ethnobotany DB, 2017). Some groups used the plant for hemorrhoids, nose bleeds, boils and sores, diarrhea, and even as an eye wash.



Parts Used/Collection:

The aerial parts, containing leaf and flower, are used medicinally and often together. The plant
flowers from May through June and can be harvested throughout this time, with active growth occurring in the spring (Ali, Gopalakrishnan, and Venkatesalu, 2017).


Herbal Actions: 

  • Diaphoretic

  • Hypotensive

  • Astringent – helps tighten the muscle tissue and prevent/treat hemorrhage.

  • Anti-inflammatory – this is useful since all of the tissues of the birth canal are inflamed after birth.

  • Antispasmodic – this may ease some of the “after pains” that comes in the pp, especially for multiparous clients

  • Diuretic – for postpartum urine retention, to encourage client who is unable to void.

  • Antimicrobial – to reduce client’s chance of infection, i.e., chorioamnionitis.

  • Bitter

  • Hepatic

  • Alterative – this is indicated because the postpartum is a time for healing, when clients need to be able to absorb nutrients and get rid of waste products efficiently.



All anthraquinone-rich herbs Cls apply (eg. pregnancy, prolonged use, acute inflammatory bowel disease, etc.) however, it is generally gentler and less extreme in its effects when compared to other laxative herbs.


Plant Constituents: 

  • Anthraquinone glycosides (chrysophanol & emodin)

  • Tannins

  • Iron and other minerals

  • Oxalates (high in leaf)


System Affinities:

  • Immune system

  • Gastrointestinal

  • Urinary

  • Respiratory

  • Reproductive



  • Drying

  • Cooling



Pregnancy category B2 


Personal Experience:

I enjoyed yarrow as a tea, steeped for about 1 minute. It was slightly sweet with followed by a bitter tang to it, I found it enjoyable but didn't feel the medicinal effects. 




ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. New York, NY: American Botanical Council. Accessed online at


Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Healing Arts Press: Vermont.


Native American Ethnobotany DB. (2017). Achillea millefolium. Retrieved online at


Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)

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