What is Yarrow?
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) oil is produced by steam distillation of the leaves and flowery tops. Most of the therapeutic yarrow oil on the market today is exported from Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, and Hungary, even though the plant grows in abundance in North America.
If you thought that the family name "Achillea" looks familiar, you are right. It comes from the ancient Greek myth of Achilles. When he received his famous wound in battle, the Greek goddess Aphrodite treated him with yarrow.
The healing power of yarrow is much more than the myth of its namesake. Soldiers in the field during World War I used yarrow to stop bleeding and as an antiseptic to fight infection of their wounds.
Yarrow, also known as common yarrow or blue yarrow, is an anti-inflammatory as well. This is due to its high chamazulene content, a dark blue constituent also found in German chamomile and wormwood.  Depending on the source, the oil can be a beautiful deep blue to an olive green.
Due to the its proven anti-inflammatory capabilities, you can find Yarrow listed as an ingredient in some pharmaceutical products for skin conditions.
Yarrow Essential Oil Uses
Yarrow has gone by many names, including "knight's milfoil," "soldier's woundwort," and "nosebleed plant" for its ability to stop bleeding.
If you get a cut, you can add the oil to some water and use as a wash to alleviate pain and slow blood flow. However, it should not be used for large or deep gashes. To enhance its healing effects, mix with aloe vera juice.
Besides this classic use for the plant, yarrow has many other uses for your body and health.
Hair Rinse for Oily Hair
It is interesting to note that in the 1980's, L'oreal applied for a patent to create a hair solution based on non-allergenic dry yarrow to aid in the treatment of oily hair. 
You can get this benefit at home by adding 12-15 drops of yarrow oil to two cups of water and using this as a final rinse after washing your hair.
Alternatively, you can add a few drops to your regular herbal shampoo and mix well. Besides controlling oily hair, this can also aid in hair growth.
Control Oily Skin
Yarrow extract is an astringent. Mix two drops of yarrow essential oil with six drops each of lavender and tea tree into a tablespoon of shea butter. Apply to problem areas as needed.
Ease Anxiety and Sleep Better
Yarrow blends well with other stress-reducing essential oils like chamomile and lavender, and a mix of these in a diffuser can help calm the nerves.
Yarrow Essential Oil Benefits
The benefits of Yarrow Essential Oil range from tightening skin and reducing pores to soothing muscle spasms and regulating menstruation. It can provide a multitude of mental health benefits as well.
Soothes Sore Muscles and Joints
The anti-inflammatory properties of yarrow make it beneficial for arthritis, rheumatism, and menstrual or muscular cramping.
Massage blends and ointments can be used for these conditions. These may also help to inhibit the buildup of uric acid in joints and reduce muscle spasms.
The following massage blend utilizes a variety of oils known for their benefits for both pain and aching muscles and is a one percent dilution. Start with this and always do a skin test first by applying a small amount to the inside of your elbow.
If you determine that a stronger mix is required for your particular muscle issue, you can increase the dilution to two percent by adding up to a total of 12 drops in one ounce of carrier.
- 1 ounce of your favorite carrier oil
- 2 drops Yarrow EO
- 2 drops Lavender EO
- 1 drop Peppermint EO
- 1 drop Rosemary EO
Tightens Pores, Skin, and Controls Oil
Both the essential oil and hydrosol from Yarrow is beneficial for a variety of skin conditions. You can use the hydrosol as a facial spray to refine pores and tighten the skin. Simply spray on after you clean your face. Adding Rose (Rosa damascena) or either Chamomile extends this benefit.
If you do not have access to the hydrosol, you can add a couple drops of the oil to a Witch Hazel extract with no more than 12 percent alcohol. Shake it well, and dab on the face for an excellent spot treatment.
If you are trying to fight wrinkles while reducing pores, add a couple drops of Yarrow Essential Oil to a teaspoon of Argan Oil. This is a wonderful carrier that is high in Vitamin E. This mix will help firm the skin overnight.
As an added bonus, you can make a bit more of the Argan and Yarrow oil mix and leave it on your hair overnight for a healthy, beautifying and strengthening boost.
Eases Anxiety and Breathing
Anxiety can make a person feel like they are breathing through a straw and that the world is closing in. A millefolium was shown to provide anxiolytic effects in a study on rats.
Besides easing anxiety, the anti-spasmodic effects of Yarrow essential oil can help relax bronchial tissue, thereby making breathing easier during episodes. You can diffuse the oil as mentioned above, or place a drop on a tissue and inhale for immediate relief.
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Yarrow Essential Oil Research, Facts, and Studies
The genus of Achillea is one of the most studied of all of the Asteraceae/Compositae family, and are widely recognized for their chemical properties and pharmaceutical applications in both folk and traditional medicine. 
Yarrow is an herb with many medicinal uses; the benefits are not just in the oils. The yarrow root was traditionally used in Native American medicine as a contraceptive and abortifacient.
Many people enjoy yarrow tea, which is made from the leaves and flowering tops. This benefits the circulatory system and can help break fevers, since it is diaphoretic and stimulates sweating. It is a carminative as well, so can help with flatulence and other gastrointestinal complaints.
Reducing Varicose Veins and Hemorrhoids
Yarrow is a known astringent that also works with the circulatory system to promote the flow of blood and lymph. Both of these can aid in the reduction in size of troubling varicose veins or painful hemorrhoids.
How to use: mix five drops of the essential oil with a tablespoon of castile soap and swish into your bath water for a relaxing soak.
When essential oils are steam distilled, there are two products that are created. One is the essential oil. The other is what is left over from the steaming process. It is the oil-infused water known as the hydrosol, hydrolat, or aromatic water.
The hydrosols have some of the constituents and therapeutic properties of the oils. Where essential oils are highly concentrated and can be too harsh or even toxic to take internally, the hydrosols are widely recognized as safe for internal use.
The Persians use these by-products of essential oil production to make hydrosol soft drinks. There are many people in this country that do not have access to traditional Western medicine, and they use aromatic waters to treat many conditions.
One of the main aromatic water drinks produced is Aragh-e-Boomadaran, which is the hydrosol soft drink created from Yarrow distillation. Many respondents to a study questionnaire reported that they used it to regulate menstruation. 
The main chemical isolated in this hydrosol of yarrow was camphor, at 41.88 percent. More studies need to be done to determine the efficacy of this use of yarrow essential oil and its by-products, but these results are promising.
Contraindicated in Pregnancy
There has been speculation that Yarrow Essential Oil is a contraceptive and an abortifacient. Not many studies have been performed to either acknowledge or deny this line of thinking.
However, in one study, rats were given 56 times the human dose. Some of the results included increased placental weight and reduced fetal weight. This is not a conclusive determination; nonetheless, it is advised to stay away from yarrow during pregnancy.
Achillea millefolium is showing promise in the preservation of food and cosmetics. In a study of the essential oils from a variety of areas in France, it was demonstrated that Yarrow Essential Oil strongly inhibited sunflower oxidation. 
The different varieties all showed strong antimicrobial activity, effectively inhibiting both bacteria and fungi. These results show promise for the use of the oil to extend shelf-life and provide a certain level of safety in some food preparation techniques.
There are many benefits and uses of Yarrow Essential Oil. It is not one of the more widely known oils, and is thereby not studied as much as an oil like lavender.
However, the more studies that are done, the more this oil's benefits become clear. Research is showing that hundreds of years of use in folk medicine has its merits based on science.
If you have not used this oil, it is definitely one to add to your routine for its many benefits from skin and hair to muscles and mental health.
Keep in mind, this oil should not be used if you are pregnant or are on multiple medications. It is also a very strong volatile oil and must be diluted. Prolonged exposure to the oil may cause headaches in sensitive individuals as well.
If you respect the potency of this oil, it can provide you a wealth of benefits.