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Yarrow Root and Yarrow Herb

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Achillea millefolium L.; Family: Compositae

COMMON NAME(S):Yarrow, thousand-leaf, mil foil, green arrow, wound wort, nosebleed plant

Yarrow is a hardy, weedy perennial, grows 8-18 inches (20-45 cm), sometimes to 24 inches (60 cm), tall. If cultivated and fertilized, can grow to 5 feet. It is identifiable in part by the finely divided leaves (millefolium = of a thousand leaves) and the erect flowering stalk with the white or reddish composite flowers that are arranged in panicled false umbels, and in part by its aromatic scent, which is released when the leaves and flowers are crushed.

Yarrow is a very valuable medicinal herb, with much scientific evidence of use in alternative medicine as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, stimulant, and tonics, vasodilator and vulnerary. Yarrow is used against colds, cramps, fevers, kidney disorders, toothaches, skin irritations, and hemorrhages, and to regulate menses, stimulate the flow of bile, and purify the blood.

History

Yarrow is native to Europe and Asia and has been naturalized in North America. Its use in food and medicine dates back to the Trojan War, around 1200 B.C. In classical times, yarrow was referred to as "herba militaris" because it stopped wound bleeding caused by war. Yarrow leaves have been used for tea, and young leaves and flowers have been used in salads. Infusions of yarrow have served as cosmetic cleansers and medicines. Sneezewort leaves (A. ptarmica) have been used in sneezing powder, while those of A. millefolium have been used for snuff. Yarrow has been used therapeutically as a strengthening bitter tonic and astringent. Chewing fresh leaves has been used to relieve toothaches. Yarrow oil has been used in shampoos for a topical healing effect.

Botany :- The name yarrow applies to any of roughly 80 species of daisy plants native to the north temperate zone. A. millefolium L. has finely divided leaves and whitish, pink, or reddish flowers. It can grow up to 0.9 m in height. This hardy perennial weed blooms from June to November. Golden yarrow is Eriophyllum conjertiflorum.

Uses of Yarrow

Yarrow has been used to induce sweating and to stop wound bleeding. It can also reduce heavy menstrual bleeding and pain. It has been used to relieve gastrointestinal (GI) ailments, for cerebral and coronary thromboses, to lower high blood pressure, to improve circulation, and to tone varicose veins. It has antimicrobial actions, is a natural source for food flavoring, and is used in alcoholic beverages and bitters.

In more recent times, yarrow has been used in connection with a number of health conditions including menstrual ailments and bleeding hemorrhoids. Similar to chamomile, yarrow is also a common herbal remedy for bloating, flatulence, and mild gastrointestinal cramping.

Side Effects of Yarrow

Contact dermatitis is the most commonly reported side effect. It is generally not considered toxic.

Dosage

he following are recommended adult doses for yarrow:

  • Dried herb: 2 to 4 g in infusion or capsules three times a day
  • Extract (1:1, 25% ethanol): 1 to 4 mL three times a day
  • Tincture (1:5; 40% ethanol): 2 to 4 mL three times a day
  • Yarrow flowers, or equivalent preparations: 3 g a day as infusion or tea
Toxicology

Contact dermatitis is the most commonly reported adverse reaction from yarrow. Guaianolide peroxides from yarrow have caused this reaction,as have a-peroxyachifolid,10 sesquiterpene lactones, and 3 polyines.Terpinen-4-ol, a yarrow oil component, has irritant properties and may contribute to its diuretic actions.Thujone, a known toxin and minor component in the oil, is in too low a concentration to cause any health risk. Yarrow is not generally consIdered toxic.

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