by Webmaster, All4NaturalHealth.com
The yarrow herb, or the Achillea millefolium, is native to Europe and naturalized to the temperate regions of North America as well as other temperate regions. Yarrow plants have been used for the treatment of external skin wounds for since as far back as at least the ancient Greeks.
Achillea actually refers to the ancient hero Achilles, who is said to have used yarrow for himself and his soldiers. Millefolium, on the other hand, means “of a thousand leaves” – this refers to the fine, delicate and feathery leaves of the plant. The yarrow plant is also known as “bloodwort”, “carpenter’s weed”, “common yarrow”, “knight’s milfoil”, “milfoil”, “noble yarrow”, “nosebleed”, “old man’s pepper” and “staunchgrass”.
Modes of use
Yarrow flower tops and leaves are the parts of the plant used for medicinal purposes. Yarrow can be taken as an infusion (yarrow tea) or as a tincture. Yarrow essential oil, extracted from the plant, is also used.
Yarrow has the following beneficial properties.
anti-inflammatory – due to its oils
antiseptic – due to its oils
astringent – due to the presence of resins
sedative – a mild one, useful for dealing with mild insomniac conditions
The yarrow herb also has the following positive effects.
helps to improve cardiovascular conditions, partly by regulating blood pressure
improves the appetite
purifies the blood
regulates the menstrual cycle – due to the sterols in yarrow, which function in a similar fashion to hormones
repairs damaged or worn out body tissues – due to the presence of silica
removes heat and toxins from the body, by increasing sweating
stimulates the circulatory system
stimulates the flow of bile
In addition, yarrow helps to deal with the following health conditions.
allergies, such as hay fever – helps to alleviate the symptoms
chest and respiratory congestion – helps to clear the condition
colds and the common flu – provides relief from these conditions, especially when taken hot
coughs – provides relief
diarrhea and dysentery – astringent quality helps to alleviates these conditions
digestive system – improves digestion and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients
enteritis – anti-inflammatory property helps to alleviate this condition
fever – provides relief, especially when taken hot, as it promotes sweating
gastritis, stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal conditions – anti-inflammatory property helps to alleviate these conditions
hemorrhoids – helps to heal the condition, as it stimulates blood flow
high blood pressure – helps to regulate blood pressure
infections – aids healing, due to its anti-inflammatory quality
intestinal bleeding – astringent quality helps to alleviate this condition
intestinal issues like colic, cramps and flatulence – antispasmodic quality helps to relief these symptoms
menstrual conditions, such as heavy menstruation or menstrual bleeding, uterus blockages – provides relief and helps to heal
sore throats – provides relief, especially when taken hot
Externally, the yarrow herb has been used, and is reputedly very effective, for helping to heal bruises, burns, cuts, swelling, ulcers and wounds on the skin or body surface. This is usually carried out using poultices made from the whole plant, yarrow leaves, or powder produced by grinding up dried yarrow tops.
Infusions are also used to wash the skin to help deal with skin conditions, for example eczema. In addition, the essential oils of yarrow are sometimes rubbed on affected skin. In the past, the leaves of the yarrow plant were chewed on to reduce the pain arising from toothaches. The gas rising from boiling yarrow infusions were also inhaled to alleviate mild asthmatic symptoms. For its other uses, yarrow oil is sometimes included as part of hair shampoos.
Caution when using yarrow
There are no significant side effects noted from the use of the yarrow herb. However, yarrow should not be used during pregnancy as it may stimulate the uterus.