In the realms of traditional herbal medicine, yarrow has placed its feet (or roots) a long time ago as an ingredient for various remedies. What makes yarrow really great is actually the wide range of variety of its usages. People have been using yarrow to treat fever and common cold, menstruation problems, digestive problems and also to boost appetite. Some people even chew the fresh leaves to relieve them from toothaches.
For those who are unfamiliar with yarrow, this article might be a good start to get to know what exactly is yarrow and why is it considered as an important herb. Yarrow has a scientific name which is Achillea millefolium, which is a close relative to chamomile and chrysanthemums. Despite being a herb, yarrow actually used to be popularly consumed as a vegetable. Nowadays its uses mostly related to medicinal herb and rarely is it used in cookings.
To give you a hint, yarrow has the sweet yet bitter flavors. Which is quite similar to other herbs such as tarragon. Therefore, upon knowing that hopefully it will spark your interest in consuming this herb whether in your daily meals or as an traditional remedy. The myriad of benefits from consuming this herb is just far too great to look away from. That said, we will discuss the health benefits of yarrow in the following paragraphs.
- Relieve the Symptoms of Inflammation
Some of the problems suffered by our internal organs are caused by inflammations. Take for example, sore throat, stomachache, and some respiratory conditions. Since a long time ago, yarrow has been used in many countries as a traditional medicine to treat those inflammation symptoms. That is because the extracts of yarrow are said to contain many anti-inflammatory properties.
Many researches suggested that yarrow extracts contain some flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones. Those compounds are known to have not only anti-inflammatory properties, but also have astringent abilities, which is basically the abilities for certain substances to draw together or contract soft body tissues. That’s most likely the reason why yarrow can be used as both internally and externally for the inflammations suffered by various body parts.
- Treatment for Wounds and Bleeding
Besides its common name, yarrow also known as many things. People have been calling it by various names such as devil’s nettle, gordaldo, nosebeleed plant, old man’s peper, old man’s mustard, sanguinary, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal. Those terms are coined by people of old most likely to address the wound-healing abilities of the herb. Even its scientific name, Achillea millefolium, is derived from Homer’s mythical great Trojan War hero, Achilles. It was believed that Achilles and his soldiers used the herb to heal their wounds and thus made them possible to go on fighting the numerous fierce battles.
Turns out, there’s this unique chemical compound called achilleine found in yarrow which has the ability to stop bleeding. Not only does it support in coagulating blood, but also can help numbing pain and preventing the wound from getting infected. There is even one study which suggested that yarrow can be used to heal burn wound from napalm, which is burning liquid incorporated in the warfare. Having those abilities, no wonder yarrow is also dubbed as “soldier’s woundwort” and some even referred it as “herba militaris” which basically means “herbs used in military”.
- Works as a Potent Sedative for Anxiety Disorders
Yarrow is proven to be able to heal as well as ease many physical wounds and even preventing some direr, uglier consequences such as infections. But how about the non-physical wound? The most common mental disorder, anxiety, is reported to have affected 40 million adults in the United States, or 18% of its total population. Fortunately, the condition itself is highly treatable.
There is a study on 2012 published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology which reported the result of anti-anxiety effects of yarrow in animal models. It was turned out that the hydroalcoholic extract from yarrow had anti-anxiety effects on both short-term and long-term administration, which means the effects don’t wane after repeated uses. There is even a finding suggesting that yarrow had a similar effect to diazepam, which is a drug prescribed mostly to treat anxiety.
- Solution for Menstruation Problems
Besides stopping bleeding, apparently, yarrow can also be used to urge bleeding in certain situations. There’s this condition called amenorrhea, when menstruation is absent because of abnormal causes. Combined with herbs such as rue, motherwort, and partridge berry, yarrow is categorised as emmenagogues. Emmenagogue can be described as some herbs whose ability is stimulating blood flow in the pelvic area, including the uterus, which in turn encourage blood flow in menstruation period. However, albeit being practiced for centuries already, there is no research present to back up the claim on this benefit.
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- Helps in Treating Mastitis
Mastitis is a form of breast infection that mostly happen on women in their breastfeeding period. The most common treatment for this condition is to alternatively compress the infected area with warm and cold compress, to relieve the pain as well as increasing the circulation. Alternatively, yarrow can also be used. As yarrow has the pain-relieving as well as anti-inflammatory properties, incorporating yarrow in the treatment can help relieving the pain as well as restoring the infected area to its normal, healthy state.
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- Cures Some Gastrointernal Problems
Besides anti-inflammatory, yarrow also has antispasmodic properties, which means it can help relieving the spasms which the involuntary muscles in the digestive systems do in some conditions. Therefore, consuming yarrow internally can help relieving some gastrointernal conditions such as diarrhea, flatulence and stomach cramping. Researches suggested that the antispasmodic properties is mostly owed to the flavonoid compounds naturally contained in the plant.
- Helps in Dealing With High Blood Pressure
What makes yarrow such a complete medicinal herb is that it has anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and also vasodilatory properties. In the study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2013, yarrow is found to have the ability to lower high blood pressure, as well as relaxing the blood vessel and the airways which improves breathing. The study on animal subjects suggested that yarrow can be administered on hyperactive cardiovascular condition which caused by high blood pressure.
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- Might Relieves Asthma Symptoms
The ability to ease the circulation system apparently also works the same way in the respiration system. That means, yarrow can also be used to relieve the symptoms of asthma. That is because yarrow has this special ability called “bronchodilatory” which basically means that it can help relaxing the bronchi and easing the inflammation along the airways. Using yarrow can help relieving from asthma because the inflammation and tension in the airways are few main causes of asthma symptoms.
- Traditional Cure for Cold
Consuming yarrow as a tea can do wonder to your body. It is even known to be the second greatest benefit of yarrow, the first being its wound-healing ability. It is believed that drinking tea made of yarrow can induce more perspiration. That is because yarrow can help dilating the pores and blood vessels under the skin, which in turn can help our bodies getting rid of some toxins along with the sweat. As we all know, the most common and also proven traditional way to cure cold is to break some sweat, therefore, drinking yarrow tea can help relieving and even curing the common cold.
- Used Externally as Treatment for Skin Problems
Besides being used on wounds and also being drunk as internal medicine, yarrow can also be used as ointment for skins, mainly to treat some skin problems. For example, eczema, which is a form of skin inflammation. Using yarrow as an ointment can soothe the inflamed skin and for the case of opened wounds, can also quicken the recovery of the tissues by killing off the bacteria or other microbes that might cause infections.
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With that being said, those are the health benefits of yarrow both for internal and external uses, collected from various researches as well as other sources. The complete, well-rounded curative ability from healing wounds and stopping bleeding, to treating internal inflammations as well as soothing the tension in the circulation, digestive and nervous systems would make yarrow comes across as some kind of panacea.
More Yarrow Benefits
Indeed, there are more health benefits of yarrow below:
However, as the case with many herbs, especially with rather strong effect like yarrow, plenty of cautions should be taken.
Cautions of Yarrow Intake
Also, despite being soothing to the skin, yarrow can also makes your skin less resistant to sunlight. Therefore be careful not to let yourself exposed to sunlight too much when you’re under yarrow treatment. Lastly, being a vasodilator, it is best for pregnant and breastfeeding woman not too consume yarrow for the time being, for the herb may induce miscarriage by manipulating the contractions in the uterus.
Always take consultation with your doctors or other experts before starting to consume yarrow, especially in case of allergy towards any member of the aster family. Indeed, we now know the health benefits of yarrow.
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Finally, by reading this article we hope that you will gain some insight about this wonderful herb. The serious healing ability of this herb has backed by handful of researches, therefore you can be certain that you’re on the right hand. Please take care, however, of the potential side effects that might entail from the herb usages. Thanks for reading, stay healthy and stay informed.
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