Yarrow is one of Canada’s great wildflowers with a popular past, it needs to be used more often today. The Latin species name ‘millefolium,’  means thousand leaves named after the finely divided alternate feathery leaves. Thousand leaf and milfoil are also common names besides the name yarrow. Used externally the leaves are astringent which stops bleeding, reduces inflammation and speeds healing.

The Latin Genus name ‘Achillea’ is named after Achilles who healed his soldiers with yarrow during the Trojan War. Known as ‘herba militaria,’ yarrow helped treat wounds suffered in battle up to the 17th century.  Yarrow was popular and was picked to aid digestion, stop fevers and to use as a nose snuff.

There is a long history of metaphysical uses. The dried stalks were popular for divination for the ancient Chinese oracle the “I Ching.” In the middle ages the common name was Devil’s Nettle because of its use for divination and spells.

Pink Yarrow in British Columbia

The colour of the flowers vary from white to pinks in the wild. Hybrids are usually bigger and are available in beautiful bright colours of gold, yellow and reds. Yarrow is easy to grow because of its wildflower nature and grows in full sun with good drainage.

Country of Origin for essential oil production: Canada and France. Canadian essential oil is diploid and the colour is deep dark blue. European triploid essential oil variety is yellow-green colour. 


Common Name  Yarrow herb aka Milfoil, Thousandleaf
Latin Name  Achillea   millefolium
Family Asteraceae (Aster   family)
Parts Used/ Habitat Growth: Perennial   invasive wildflower grows 2-3 ft. Flowering tops picked in the summer in July
Target Organs Digestion, respiratory,   circulatory, female reproductive, skin, immune, cardiovascular
Common Uses Immune respiratory: coughs, colds, flu, fever, catarrh, infectionsVascular conditions:HBP, (Sitz bath) veins,

Skin/muscle: wounds,   bruises, sprains, strains, cuts,

Digestion:   spasms, ulcers, IBS,

Female reproductive: balancing tonic, spasms

Properties Antiallergenic,   antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic), antimicrobial,  antispasmodic (digestive, general), antiulcerogenic,   antiviral, aperient, astringent, bitter, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic,   diaphoretic, febrifuge, haemostatic (styptic, uterine) hypoglycaemic, hypotensive,   sialagogue, stomachic, styptic, stimulating emmenagogue, vasodilator (peripheral),   vascular tonic, uterine tonic, vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil:.05%-.08%Ketones: thujone, camphor;

 Lactones:achillin, achillicin,   hydroxyachillin, millifin, millifolide,


Sesquiterpenes: Azulene 1-51%   chamazulene, dihydroazulene, sabinene caryophyllene,

Oxides: 1, 8 cineole 10%

Monoterpenes: pinene 16%;

Other: flavonoids,   tannins, bitter alkaloid minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll,   vitamin C, fatty acids, phytosterol

Cautions Mild remedy:Caution due to thujone content-uterine stimulant, neurotoxin. Do   not use during pregnancy, and with babies.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4mlTea: 1-2 tsp. infuse 10-15 minutes

external use: infused water use as a compress, poultice or a wash for wounds

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