Plants are the main source of molecules with antioxidant and radical scavenging properties that aid the natural defence systems of cells and may be involved in the preservation of human health, particularly preventing all the physiopathological conditions where oxidative damage is a hallmark. Achillea collina Becker ex Rchb. is a medicinal plant of the Achillea millefolium aggregate (yarrow) traditionally used, particularly in mountain areas, as an infusion or alcohol extract for its digestive, antiinflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic and wound healing properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the antioxidant capacity and cytoprotective activity against oxidative stress of infusions obtained from the leaves and inflorescences of Achillea collina Becker ex Rchb., assessed by chemical (free radical scavenging activity by DPPH and Folin Ciocalteu assay) and biological assays (in vitro model of cytotoxicity and lipid peroxidation in PC12 cells line). Infusions of leaves had the highest antioxidant properties and cytoprotective activity. The antioxidant capacity was significantly correlated with the total phenolic content but not with the cytoprotective profile. Achillea collina Becker ex Rchb. has good antioxidant and cytoprotective properties, suggesting further investigations on its chemical composition and potential health value, particularly for traditionally prepared infusions of leaves. (c) 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.