Plant Profiler

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Image
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Achillea millefolium, arrowroot, Asteraceae (family), bad man's plaything, carpenter's weed, Compositae (family), death flower, devil's nettle, eerie, field hops, gearwe, hundred leaved grass, knight's milefoil, knyghten, milefolium, milfoil, millefoil, noble yarrow, nosebleed, nosebleed plant, old man's mustard, old man's pepper, polyacetylenes, sanguinary, sesquiterpene lactones, seven year's love, snake's grass, soldier, soldier's woundwort, stanch weed, thousand seal, woundwort, yarroway, yerw.

Mechanism of Action


  • Constituents: Sesquiterpene lactones, polyacetylenes, simple coumarins, flavonoids have been identified among the many components of yarrow.3,4
  • Antimicrobial effects: Based on an in vitro study, a mouthwash containing 6.3mg/mL herbal extract mixture (Juniperus communis (juniper), Urtica dioca (nettle), Achillaea millefolium (yarrow)) did not show any inhibiting effect on plaque and gingivitis as compared to a minus active control mouthrinse.2 However, due to the combination of herbs used, it is unclear whether a rinse of yarrow alone would have similar effects. Based on laboratory study, yarrow grass water extract showed antibacterial effects on Staphylococcus aureus.1


  • In a laboratory study, 6.3mg/mL of an herbal mixture (containing Juniperus communis (juniper), Urtica dioca (nettle), Achillaea millefolium (yarrow)) was tested to measure acid production of Streptococcus mutans and the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of the following micro-organisms: Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus mitis, Actynomyces viscosus, Actynomyces naeslundii, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Prevotella intermedia, Campylobacter rectus, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Veillonella parvula .2 The MIC-values for A. viscosus and P. gingivalis were 100mg/mL. The MIC-values for A. naeslundii and A. actinomycetemcomitans were considerably lower (10mg/mL). S. mitis was the most susceptible of the tested organisms to the extract with a MIC value of 1mg/mL. S. mutans, C. rectus, V. parvula, and F. nucleatum were not influenced by the extracts. No inhibitory effect of the 6.3mg/mL herbal extract mixture was observed on the acid production of S. mutans.


  1. Molochko, V. A., Lastochkina, T. M., Krylov, I. A., and Brangulis, K. A. [The antistaphylococcal properties of plant extracts in relation to their prospective use as therapeutic and prophylactic formulations for the skin]. Vestn Dermatol Venerol 1990;(8):54-56. 2256382
  2. Van der Weijden, G. A., Timmer, C. J., Timmerman, M. F., Reijerse, E., Mantel, M. S., and van, der, V. The effect of herbal extracts in an experimental mouthrinse on established plaque and gingivitis. J Clin Periodontol 1998;25(5):399-403. 9650877
  3. Hausen, B. M., Breuer, J., Weglewski, J., and Rucker, G. alpha-Peroxyachifolid and other new sensitizing sesquiterpene lactones from yarrow (Achillea millefolium L., Compositae). Contact Dermatitis 1991;24(4):274-280. 1868717
  4. Final report on the safety assessment of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Extract. Int J Toxicol 2001;20 Suppl 2:79-84. 11558643

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