The yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a plant of the Asteraceae family. In addition to the well-known healing properties, yarrow also possesses haemostatic properties and is also useful in case of muscle spasms. Let’s find out better.
Properties of yarrow
The flowers and leaves of yarrow contain essential oil (azulene, chamazulene, ß-pinene, caryophyllene), flavonoids, organic acids (caffeic and salicylic), hydrolyzable tannins, sterols, lactones, coumarins.
The fame of the yarrow is due to its healing and tissue repairing action and for this reason it was and is still used to treat skin lesions, wounds and sores of all kinds.
The plant is now considered an excellent antispasmodic remedy, as it helps to relax smooth muscles, in the presence of menstrual pain, colitis or irritable bowel accompanied by abdominal cramps; while for its stomachic properties, it is used to promote digestive and liver function.
Furthermore, the presence of flavonoids (in particular vitexin) gives the plant a rebalancing action of the hormonal system useful for all those symptoms related to the premenstrual phase, associated with nervousness, irritability, mood swings, weakness and fatigue.
The yarrow also has astringent, anti- inflammatory and haemostatic properties and therefore is able to stop bleeding, and various bleeding problems due to inflamed gums, heavy menstruation or hemorrhoids; while the achilleine would be able to control the pressure changes and restore normal blood circulation.
How to use
INFUSION: 1 tablespoon of yarrow flowers, 1 cup of water
Pour the plant into boiling water and turn off the heat. Cover and leave to infuse for 10 min. Filter the infusion and drink 2 cups a day between meals. The infusion and decoction are indicated for fissures, hemorrhoids, ulcerations, diarrhea,
Yarrow mother tincture : 40 drops in half a glass of water, to drink 2 times a day, between meals.
An alternative use of the infusion are beauty packs; an infusion of yarrow is prepared by letting 10 grams of drug rest in half a liter of boiling water, compresses are made with cotton patches that are placed on the face to eliminate blackheads and fight excess sebaceous skin.
Finally, you can use the herb for sitz baths by soaking a handful of it in cold water for about a dozen hours and then boiling it for a few minutes. After filtering, it mixes with the bath water and plunges up to the kidneys, to heal fissures or to soothe abdominal spasms.
The use of yarrow is not recommended for people taking anticoagulant drugs due to its coagulating properties (which could affect the effectiveness of the drug).
It can also cause allergic reactions in subjects sensitive to plants of the Astaraceae family.
Description of the plant
Perennial herbaceous plant, has rhizome roots, has a hairy, simple or branched, leafy, ascending stem that can reach 80 cm in height.
The hairy leaves have a lanceolate and linear outline, have an alternate arrangement and have a slight camphor aroma; the basal ones are usually petiolate; while the cauline leaves are sessile.
The flowers are white or pink, whitish achenes. It has a sour, bitter taste and is gathered in more or less large dense flower heads. The fruits are achenes
The habitat of the yarrow
It grows in the prairies, at the edge of paths and railways, up to 2500m.
The name of the genus was fixed by Linnaeus and derives from the legend reported by Pliny. According to the latter, the hero Achilles used the plant during the siege of Troy, on the advice of the centaur Chiron, to heal the wounds suffered in battle by his soldiers. It is called millefeuille for its leaves 2-3 times pinnatosette, that is, with very narrow laciniae jaggedness.
The therapeutic properties were described “I gave the juice of millefolio with great utility to drink in the spit and vomit of the blood and in all the intrinsic ruptures of the veins, as well as in the ancient flows of menstruation. Put in the nose the flow of blood stagnates. with no little benefit in enemas“.
The stems of the yarrow variety ptarmica (once used as a medicine, but little used today), provide under the name of Che Pou, the 50 plant rods used in the divination method practiced in China for 3000 years and explained in detail in the famous book of I-Ching mutations.
In the countryside, yarrow is not only used for its numerous medicinal properties, but also for its property to preserve wine (it is customary to put a bag of yarrow seeds in the barrel).