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"Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul."
Library at Thebes, inscription over the door
Yarrow has traditionally been used as an ancient medicinal remedy for a wide variety of health problems; today, yarrow essential oil is also used in aromatherapy.

Ancient Use of Yarrow

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is ancient herb that gained the nickname soldiers' woundwort.  Ancient Greek legend tells that yarrow was used by the soldier Achilles to stem the bleeding wounds of soldiers in battle.  In addition, the botanical name for yarrow, Achillea, is reputedly named for the ancient Greek Achilles.

Botanical Profile of Yarrow

Yarrow is a member of the Asteraceae or Compositae plant family, commonly known as the daisy plant family; it is a perennial herb that has daisy-like flowers of pink or white.  Yarrow grows up to three feet in height and has pinnate leaves.  Yarrow flowers between June and October and is native to Europe and Asia, including the UK; it is also naturalized in North America.

Distillation of Yarrow Essential Oil

Yarrow essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the dried herb and is produced mainly in Germany, Hungary and France; yarrow essential oil is also produced by Africa and the United States.  Yarrow oil is dark blue/green, due to the strong presence of the chemical component, chamazulene, which is also present in some of the chamomile oils. Yarrow essential oil has a fresh, herbaceous, green aroma.

Use of Yarrow Essential Oil in Aromatherapy

Yarrow essential oil has the following properties:


Yarrow essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat burns, wounds, inflammation, skin problems, constipation, indigestion, high blood pressure, arthritis, dysmenorrhoea, cystitis, colds, flu, insomnia, stress, stomach ache and skin allergies.

Cautions for Using Yarrow Essential Oil

Yarrow essential oil is non-irritating and non-toxic; however, yarrow essential oil should not be used in epilepsy and may cause skin sensitization in some people.  It is also important to ensure that yarrow essential oil has been extracted from Achillea millefolium species and not from, or adulterated with, other yarrow plant species.

Yarrow essential oil is not generally recommended for use in pregnancy or with babies and young children; in pregnancy, yarrow essential oil has been known to act as an emmenagogic.  As is the case when using any essential oil, exercise care and take professional advice if you are unfamiliar in the use of a particular essential oil and how to use it correctly.


- Harding, Jennie 2005 Aromatherapy Massage for You UK: Duncan Baird Publishers
- Lawless, Julia 1995 The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils UK:Thorsons
- Podlech, Dieter 2001 Herbs and Healing Plants of Britain and Europe UK: Collins Nature Guides
- Price, Shirley, Price, Len 2002 2nd Edition Aromatherapy for Health Professionals UK: Churchill Livingstone

This article was written by Sharon Falsetto and appeared in its original format on Suite101 as Yarrow Essential Oil

It is expressively prohibited to copy or use this article in any way unless written permission is given by the author Sharon Falsetto.  If it is discovered that copyright laws have not been complied with, legal action will be pursued by the author Sharon Falsetto.

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