A yarrow plant in bloom with a spider walking through the scene. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a flowering plant in the Sunflower (Asteraceae) family. It grows in temperate regions throughout North America and the Northern Hemisphere.
It is a very useful herb and throughout history various parts of the plant have been used to treat rheumatism, sore throats, toothaches, wounds and abrasions, high blood pressure, nosebleeds, colds, fevers, the flu, and variety of other ailments. It also has been used used as an anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, astringent, tonic, and stimulant. It contains the alkaloid achilleine, which can be used to suppress menstruation. The Secwepemc peoples put the leaves on fires to keep mosquitos away.
Despite all its uses, yarrow can cause severe allergic skin rashes and prolonged use can increase the skin’s photosensitivity.
Other names for common yarrow include gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal.