Milfoil Herb

Other Names of Milfoil: Achilleamillefoilum, yarrow,gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier's woundwort, arrowroot

Useful Parts of the Plant: Flowers, leaves

Milfoil or Achilleamillefoilum is an ancient medicinal herb and it gets its name from the Greek mythological figure Achilles. He is supposed to have used this herb to heal the wounds of his soldiers. It is a herbaceous plant with a hairy stem that can grow up to 1m in height. Its flowers are white with a rosy tint and have a very distinctive smell and a bittersweet taste. It grows in Europe, North America and West Asia and has been used for centuries to heal wounds. It was also a popular ingredient in some of the 17th century cuisines. It is useful when grown in gardens as it helps improve soil quality and keeps it free of bugs.

Nutritional Information and Properties

The flowers of milfoil have the largest concentrations of beneficial compounds and are the most commonly used part of the plant. Some of the compounds present are salicylic and folic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), flavones, amino acids, proteins, tannins and minerals like iron, copper, manganese, zinc, nickel, silicon and calcium. It has a strong astringent effect that has been used to heal wounds and today, it is used to treat a variety of illnesses and disorders, from stomach and liver ailments to circulatory problems and even cancer. It can stimulate the curative effects of other medicinal herbs and can also help in the removal of toxins from the body.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

Milfoil is used today to treat many illnesses.

  • It has been used to treat hemorrhoids, stomach ache and distension, liver disorders, intestinal parasites, angina pectoris and circulatory disorders as well as pulmonary bleeding and lung cancer.
  • The flowers help improve venous circulation and can also be used as an aid to digestion. This makes them useful in the treatment of anorexia and other eating disorders.
  • They are sometimes used as an expectorant, anti-spasmodic, sedative, hemostatic and to decrease gastric secretions.
  • Milfoil is also used in the treatment of menstrual cycle disorders.
  • Its high salicylic acid content also makes it useful as an analgesic and in the treatment of fevers, common colds and flu.
  • It is also used in cases of cough, bronchitis, allergies and hepatic and biliary colic, ulcers and stomach bleeds.
  • When applied externally, the herb acts as a disinfectant and an anti-inflammatory, helping to kill microorganisms and heal wounds including ulcerative wounds. It can also heal eczemas, burns, contusions and dental abscesses.

Other Uses

Milfoil tea is made by infusing two spoons of milfoil with a cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Consuming two to three cups of milfoil tea every day is said to be good for treating multiple sclerosis and other diseases of the spinal cord. It is supposed to help in the formation of new cells and stimulates blood renewal in the marrow. It may also help in cases of paralysis.

  • The tea is also used to treat common cold and flu and inhaling the vapors while preparing the infusion are said to be good for treating asthma and bronchitis.
  • A concentrated infusion of milfoil (10gm. Milfoil in 100gm. water) can be used to eliminate intestinal worms and must be consumed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • Milfoil tincture can be used to treat urinary disorders. It is made by placing the flowers in a bottle of rye or fruit brandy. The bottle is left in the sun or in a hot place for about 14 days to prepare the tincture.
  • High doses have been known to produce headaches. It may also cause allergic skin rashes and should not be used by pregnant or lactating women.