Introduction

Yarrow is a plant with white and yellow flowers. The flowers have been used to help wounds heal. It can be applied as an oil or ointment. Yarrow has also been used to ease digestion and can be taken as pill, powder, or extract. It can also be made into a tea.

Dosages

There are no advised doses for yarrow.

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Episiotomy —may ease pain and swelling when applied as an ointment B1
  • Menstrual cramps —may help ease pain C1
  • Multiple sclerosis —may prolong time to relapse when used with standard care D1

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Cancer treatment support A1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe for most adults to apply yarrow to the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People taking blood thinners should talk to their doctors before taking yarrow. It may interact with the medicine.
  • People with allergies to certain plants may have allergic reactions to yarrow.E1-E4
 

References

A. Cancer Treatment Support

A1. Miranzadeh S, Adib-Hajbaghery M, et al. Effect of adding the herb Achillea millefolium on mouthwash on chemotherapy induced oral mucositis in cancer patients: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2015 Jun;19(3):207-213.

B. Episiotomy

B1. Hajhashemi M, Ghanbari Z, et al. The effect of Achillea millefolium and Hypericum perforatum ointments on episiotomy wound healing in primiparous women. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2018;31(1):63-69.

C. Menstrual cramps

C1. Jenabi E, Fereidoony B. Effect of Achillea Millefolium on Relief of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2015;28(5):402-404.

D. Multiple Sclerosis

D1. Ayoobi F, Moghadam-Ahmadi A, et al. Achillea millefolium is beneficial as an add-on therapy in patients with multiple sclerosis: A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2019 Jan;52:89-97.

E. Safety

E1. Schempp CM, Schöpf E, et al. [Plant-induced toxic and allergic dermatitis (phytodermatitis)]. Hautarzt. 2002 Feb;53(2):93-97.

E2. Jovanović M, Poljacki M, et al. Contact allergy to Compositae plants in patients with atopic dermatitis. Med Pregl. 2004 May-Jun;57(5-6):209-218.

E3. Calapai G, Miroddi M, et al. Contact dermatitis as an adverse reaction to some topically used European herbal medicinal products - part 1: Achillea millefolium-Curcuma longa. Contact Dermatitis. 2014 Jul;71(1):1-12.

E4. Paulsen E. Systemic allergic dermatitis caused by sesquiterpene lactones. Contact Dermatitis. 2017 Jan;76(1):1-10.

Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 3/24/2020