Yarrow: The Woman’s herb

Yarrow: The Woman’s herb


What is Yarrow? Why is it known as a woman's herb?

Yarrow is a flowering plant that has been used for many centuries due to its healing properties. In fact its genus name, Achillea millefolium, refers to the Greek warrior Achilles as he used Yarrow to treat his soldiers wounds. Due to its variety of healing properties, it has been brewed over the years as a tea, used during cooking, and ingested directly. In the holistic world, Yarrow has been popular amongst women and has been classed as “a woman’s herb” due to specific healing properties detailed below.



Helps Regulate Menstruation

Known as an Amphoteric herb, Yarrow can be used to normalise a body system. This is what makes Yarrow very helpful to women with irregular periods. It can be used to bring on delayed or absent menstruation and also reduce heavy bleeding. In the holistic worlds, Yarrow has been the number one choice for women with amenorrhea (absent periods) due to its ability to act as a uterine stimulant.

Relieves Menstrual Cramps

During your menstrual period, your uterus contracts to help expel its lining. Hormone-like substances (prostaglandins) involved in pain and inflammation trigger the uterine muscle contractions. Yarrow has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. These two properties are crucial to easing cramps as it promotes the relaxation of the uterus muscles whilst treating inflammation (main cause of the pain).

Birth and Postpartum

Yarrow should not be taking during pregnancy only during labour and post partum

Due to its antispasmodic and astringent properties, Yarrow promotes the relaxation of the Uterus and has been used by midwives to make childbirth easier. The benefits of yarrow continue even after giving birth. It's a wonderful healing herb and can help with pain and soreness postpartum.


Wound Healing

Yarrow is known as a styptic – An astringent herb that slows down and stops bleeding. The wound healing ability of Yarrow comes from an alkaloid called acchilleine which facilitates the coagulation of blood which promotes the rapid closing of wounds. Yarrow also activates the blood platelets in the affected area, forming a protective layer to protect the body from infection. It analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties promotes healing whilst relieving pain and inflammation. A 1954 study found that just half a milligram of achilleine per kilogram of body weight can reduce the time it takes a wound to clot by 32%.

Furthermore, this study noted that yarrow leaf extract may increase fibroblasts, which are the cells responsible for regenerating connective tissue and helping your body recover from injury

Reduces symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

Yarrow contains flavonoids and alkaloids that may alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Flavonoids contain compounds that can latch onto the brain and promote the release of GABA (low levels of GABA is usually associated with depression). Another sign of depression is a measure of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neuro Trophic Factor), a key molecule involved in plastic changes related to learning and memory. Flavonoids stimulate the release of this molecule which can reverse the effects of low and less frequent neuron signals in the brain, also associated with depression and brain deterioration. Studies show that plant-based alkaloids like those in Yarrow, also reduce the secretion of corticosterone, a hormone that’s high during chronic stress.

Yarrow has many other benefits such as aiding digestion, protecting the body from oxidative stress and reducing inflammation. However, those mentioned above are more closely related to women hence why Yarrow has been classed as “A woman’s herb”


Further Reading






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