Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a common wildflower with medical properties and a rich folklore, which should be welcome in any garden. It belongs to the large sunflower family, Asteraceae, and is quite closely related to chamomiles. The most striking feature of Yarrow is the feathery fern- like leaves with finely cut segments which are quite characteristic. The name millefolium indicates the many segments of its foliage. It is sometimes called Milfoil and Thousand Weed. 

Wild Yarrow Leaves, Credit Stillblog

From June to September, the flowers appear which range from white through yellow to pale lilac. They look like tiny daisies, in flattened cymes (loose terminal heads). The whole plant is covered with varying degrees of closely pressed white silk- like hairs. The stem is angular and rough.

Yarrow has a reputation as a wound healer (vulnerary). This is borne out by its generic name; Achillea. When the warrior Achilles was injured in his weakened ankle, Yarrow was used to treat his wounds. The ancients referred to Yarrow as Herba Militaris, the military herb. The classic herbalist John Gerard tells us it is the same plant with which Achilles stanched the bleeding wounds of his soldiers. Yarrow makes an excellent wound healing ointment, with beeswax and olive oil. Essential oil of Yarrow is a beautiful pure blue colour on account of the component Chamazulene. It is particularly beneficial for allergies, skincare, stress-related conditions and insomnia.

Chamazulene: Chemical Structure (left); Essential Oil (Right)

Photograph credit: Kristof Hegedus


Used internally Yarrow acts as a soothing relaxant to counteract cramps and spasms. Yarrow can bring on delayed menstruation, soothe painful periods and menstrual cramps and reduce excessive bleeding. Its bitter principles also support the digestive system admirably. Yarrow is even an effective anti-inflammatory and diuretic in cases of urinary infections, such as cystitis. A combination of Elderflower, Peppermint and Yarrow tinctures can be taken in equal parts to induce a sweat during the onset of colds & flu. Some individuals however are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family and may develop allergic reactions, so please only use under the guidance of a naturopath or medical herbalist. It also interacts with certain drugs.


Depending on the outlook of the gardener, Yarrow can be seen as an invasive weed of grass lawns, or as a welcome perennial of the flower border, rock garden, or wildflower meadow. When encouraged, yarrow plants grow 2- 4 ft tall, but low-growing varieties are also available. The main advantages of Yarrow as a garden plant are; (i) low maintenance, (ii) reproduces readily from seeds or by division, (iii) good for cut flowers and floristry, (iv) many varieties of form and colour are available (v) attracts butterflies & other insects, and (vi) Yarrow is highly durable and tolerates dry spells, low soil fertility and a variety of soil types. Although Yarrow thrives in hot, dry conditions and low soil fertility, it does not tolerate wet soils very well so this should be kept in mind during site selection. If you are interested in horticulture of wildflowers, ADL has many suitable courses to help.


Achillea millefolium: Summer Pastels from Thompson & Morgan




Griffith-Jones, Joy. Schimacher, E.F. A Virtuous Weed. Blond & Briggs Publishers,1978


Grieve, Mrs M. A Modern Herbal. Dorset Press, 1992.


Mills, Simon Y. The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine. Arkana Publlishers, 1994.


Lavelle, Christine and Michael. The illustrated Practical Guide to Wildlife Gardening.

Anness Publishing, 2007

Blog article written by Andy Patterson





ADL Success Stories – Dairy Cattle Farming with Annabella Baker

Education opens doors to success windows of opportunity and in at least one case, gates to new possibilities. Such is the case with ADL success story Annabella Baker.  Originally from Italy, but now living in the UK, Annabella faced a tragedy all too familiar to many when she lost her airline job during the Covid

Read More »

Horticulture – Learn the Basics: Three Problems for New Gardeners

Gardens are hard work.  Behind every immaculate lawn and carefully tended flowerbed is a never-ending struggle between nature and gardener. Of course simply leaving the garden to its own devices isn’t really an option; Untended, plants will grow freely for the whole of spring and summer and even into autumn. Worse yet, an uncared for

Read More »

Henry Hoover’s Broken Plug

Some stories of educational achievement soar into the heavens.  Of individuals who through hard work and toil overcame the challenges in their life to achieve. Certainly, at ADL we’ve seen and helped many individuals achieve their dreams through completing a course which helped them get a place at university or begin a new career. This,

Read More »

King Charles and the Grey Goo

If you’ve been in the UK over the past weekend you might have noticed you had a day off on Monday (or looked on enviously as other people had a day off).  The coronation of a new monarch in Charles the Third means a new era. One that the Monarch is especially keen does not

Read More »

Could You Be a Personal Trainer?

If you’re looking for a side business or career that combines a love for fitness and a mentoring role. personal training might be for you Personal training is at it’s heart all about being able to help people live healthier, happier lives.  By combining physical exercise with essential lifestyle changes like diet they help their

Read More »


Scroll to Top


To speak to one of our course advisors, please enter your name and phone number below and click the "Please Call Me" button. We will call you back as soon as possible!

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.


required fields are marked with *

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.