Achillea millefolium is commonly known as Common Yarrow, Yarrow, etc. It is a 3 feet tall perennial plant with flower heads at the top. Flowers are yellowish-white in colour and arranged in clusters.
The genus Achillea is known for its bioactive agents that have various health benefits (1). Similarly, Yarrow is a traditional medicinal plant with several therapeutic benefits.
Edible & Medicinal Parts
- The whole plant of Achillea millefolium is edible as it is a soft herb.
- Leaves and flowers particularly have culinary use.
- The leaves and flowers can be used in fresh and dried forms. These are also used as spices.
Achillea millefolium is a therapeutic herb that contains vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and other antioxidants. This plant is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. The minerals found are iron, magnesium, potassium, etc.
Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses
Achillea millefolium (Common Yarrow) is a hepatoprotective herb that has many other therapeutic values. It is used to treat kidney stones, cough, fever, high blood pressure, pneumonia, psoriasis, etc. (2).
The therapeutic activities of Achillea millefolium have been used for centuries and used in traditional folk medicine in some parts of the world. Some of the main health benefits of Yarrow are as follows:
This plant has been used as a wound healer for centuries. It is used to treat bleeding wounds, scars, and other skin problems. Fresh leaves of this plant can be used to wrap any wound or cut. It helps the wound or cut to heal naturally.
The oil extracted from A. millefolium plant has antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. It might help to treat skin diseases (3).
Washing with the infusion made from its flowers is helpful to treat eczema. Its flowers are boiled in water to make the infusion.
Cough and Cold
This plant is used to treat cold, cough, fever, and sinus problems. Yarrow tea is a traditional remedy to soothe sinus problems, and it also reduces fever.
Chest rub is prepared from the essential oil extracted from the leaves and flowers of this plant that relieves chest congestion. Essential oil is also mixed with other essential oils to enhance the efficacy of the chest rub.
Fresh common yarrow flowers can be boiled in water and inhaled to alleviate mild asthma.
Achillea millefoliumhas antiulcer properties. Studies have shown that the aerial parts of this plant such as leaves, and flowers have antiulcer properties when experimented with Wistar rats (4).
Achillea millefolium for Neurodegenerative Disorders
Studies have shown that long term administration of A. millefolium aqueous extract in patients who have Multiple Sclerosis have helped them by decreasing the annual relapse rate (5).
Thus, A. millefolium is effective against treating neurological diseases.
Other studies also prove the efficacy of A. millefolium against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy (6).
These studies confirm that certain flavonoids present in the plant parts contribute to its therapeutic benefit.
Achillea millefolium for Gastrointestinal Disorders
A. millefolium leaves and flowers infusion or teas have been used for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, dysentery, gastritis, enteritis, etc., for ages. Scientific studies have also proven its efficacy to treat digestive tract related problems by relaxing and healing the organs in rats (7).
The phytochemical compounds extracted from this plant in the form of teas and tinctures are used to treat liver diseases (8).
How to Take Achillea millefolium?
There are various methods by which Achillea millefolium can be prepared and consumed. Leaves and flowers can be consumed fresh or dried and can even be made into concoction or tea.
Powder, ointments, and aqueous extracts of leaves and flowers are also prepared.
Achillea millefolium is considered safe even for long term administration. No side effects have been reported to date if consumed with food.
Short-term side effects might include:
- Skin irritation.
- Contact dermatitis.
- Increased urination: Some people might also experience increased urination after consuming any form of this plant.
The toxic effects of common yarrow are not known to date.
Pregnant women should likely avoid any consumption of common yarrow because it affects the menstrual cycle and might harm the developing fetus.
Some people are allergic to common yarrow and other related plants, so they must avoid consuming products containing common yarrow.
The bioactive compounds in Common Yarrow might interfere with certain drugs, such as sedatives or anticoagulant drugs.
You must contact a physician before using this plant and plant product if taking any other medication.