Common name: Yarrow
Part used: Flowers and leaves, gathered just as the flowers open
Habitat: Yarrow is a perennial herbaceous plant, common in grassland, meadows, scrubby wastelands and on the margins of paths and hedges. It's latin name millefolium describes the appearange of the foliage as if there were thousands (mil) of tiny leaves (folia) though these are in fact just many segments and lobes of the basal leaves. These leaves are aromatic, the flowers white to pink, but be cautious of cultivated varieties which will have different chemistry.
Constituents: The constituents in yarrow plants vary greatly according to habitat and number of chromesomes (geek fact: yarrow is polyploidy, it can have different numbers of chromesomes even between neighbouring plants!). The essential oil contains over 60 different constituents; top quality yarrow essential oil is prized for it's blue colour due to chamazulene (also present in German chamomile, but more pricey). Other constituents of the flowering plant alongside the essential oil are: sesquiterpene lactones, tannins, a bitter glyco-alkloid achillene, flavonoidsm cyanogenic glycosides, sterols, hydroxycoumarins, henolic acids and low levels of saponins. Nutritional constituents include folic acid, vitamins A, C, E and K.
Actions: Antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, amti-pyretic (used to reduce fever), antispasmodic, astringent, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, hypotensive (used to reduce blood pressure), haemostatic (used to reduce or stop bleeding).
History and Folklore: Yarrow is another plant wth an ancient lineage of use, with the latin name reflecting legends of Achilles using yarrow to staunch bleeding in battle. More recently it has been chemically studied for 200 years, validating many of the traditional uses for this plant, alongside adding new nuance and limitations to it's sope of use.
Traditional and current uses:
- A drying remedy for catarrh: colds and flu with associated fever and runny nose, asthma and bronchitis, rhinitis
- Varicose veins, varicose ulcers, haemorrhoids, poor venous circulation, high blood pressure, phlebitis, palpitations
- A bitter astringent for gastric complaints: intestinal colic, lack of appetite or not eating, dyspepsia, gastritis, gastric bleeding (seek urgent advice from your GP or call 999 if in doubt or with new symptoms), diarrhea
- For menstrual regulation: irregular periods, painful periods, clotting in menstrual blood, absent or very heavy periods, leucorrhoea, pelvic atonia
- Urinary tract infections; cystitis or urethritis
- Rheumatic pain
Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided for educational use only, and is not intended as a replacement for the services of a qualified medical herbalist, doctor or licensed health practitioner. The information contained herein is not diagnostic, always consult a medical health professional before embarking on a treatment programme. Urban Fringe Dispensary disclaims any liability, loss, injury or damage incurred as a consequence of the use and application of the advice given herein.