Yarrow - Best Herb for Digestion | Stomach Ailments | Constipation


Achillea mille folium Compositae/Asteraceae Also called Milfoil

This European herb grows on rough ground in meadows and on roadsides. Its thin dark green leaves are divided into many segments, reflected in its Latin name oj 'millifolium', which means 'a thousand leaves'. Flat heads oj numerous tiny white, or sometimes pink,flowers appear in summer.

Parts used

  • Flowerheads, non-woody parts of the plant and seeds
  • The plant is harvested just after flowering from June to October.
  • Yarrow is usually dried for use as an infusion but it can also be used fresh. It is also available as a liquid extract, a tincture or as a powder.


The flowers contain 0.2-0.5 per cent essential oil, whereas the leaves contain 0.02-0.07 per cent. The oil contains sesquiterpenes, namely azulene and lactone achilleine, which have an anti-inflammatory action. Anti-inflammatory flavonoids are also present as well as tannins, alkaloids and bitter compounds.


For internal use

TO TREAT digestive disorders LIQUID EXTRACT Take up to 2ml three times a day. INFUSION Put 1 teaspoon of the dried plant into 250ml of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes, then strain. Drink 3-4 cups a day.

For external use

TO TREAT uterine pains
SITZ BATH Put 100g of the dried plant into 20 lit res of hot water.


Medicinal uses

As a result of its numerous active components, yarrow has many medicinal uses. Its antispasmodic, carminative(ability to relieve the build-up of trapped wind), its anti-inflammatory and anthelminthic (capacity to destroy intestinal worms) actions are mostly due to its essential oil. Animal studies published in 1982 in Economic Botany established the anti-inflammatory action of the constituent azulene. Azulene also possesses antibacterial qualities,as reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 1986.

The plant is commonly used for the relief of digestive disorders including stomach ailments, inflammation of the intestinal walls, constipation and flatulence.

Used externally, yarrow's antiinflammatory action relieves rheumatic pains and haemorrhoids. It is also used to treat mouth infections, conjunctivitis, eczema and other conditions including fevers.

Yarrow is diuretic, it lowers blood pressure and is also indicated for treating thrombotic diseases, and hypertension. In addition, it can be used to combat urinary tract infections.

The plant has traditionally been used to soothe uterine cramps during menstruation and childbirth. Taken regularly in small doses it can also help to regulate the menstrual cycle, particularly when menstruation is scant or infrequent.

It is used to reduce phlegm and treat conditions of the respiratory tract. Common yarrow can.also cleanse greasy skin and is often found in cosmetic products.


Plant in well-drained soil and position in a sunny location


  • Common yarrow may cause contact allergies.
  • It is not advisable to use it when pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Exposure to sunlight is not recommended. Yarrow may act as a photosensitiser.
  • Large doses may produce vertigo and headaches.


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