A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
Yarrow is a perennial herb. It is found world wide and grows almost in all places. The plant can be found flourishing in waste lands, countryside, meadows, pastures, edges of the railway tracks, along the highways and in many other places where it is most unlikely to be plucked primarily owing to the chemical spraying done in those areas to keep the weeds out. The uncomplicated stems of yarrow bear scented bi-pinnately separated (having doubly pinnate leaflets) and cut up leaves making them resemble like laces. A yarrow herb can grow up to one yard in height and produces attractive flower craniums that possess white rays and have yellow flat circular plates or discs inside them. The yellow discs in the flower heads gradually turn brown. The yarrow plant has a pale brown crawling rootstock (a swollen root together with the whole or a portion of a very short stem) that yields a circular, even, condensed stem which branches out at the top.
Containing anti-inflammatory and antiseptic unstable oils as well as astringent tannins, yarrow is very resourceful as a medicinal herb. Resins present in yarrow possess astringent properties, while the silica helps in repairing damaged or worn out tissues in the body. These properties in the yarrow makes it a versatile remedy which when applied externally is useful in curing cuts and wounds, burns and ulcers as well as swollen and irritating (inflammatory) skin. When taken internally, yarrow invigorates appetite, increases digestion as well as absorption of nutrients by the body. The astringent feature of yarrow makes it an useful medication in stopping diarrhea and dysentery as well as impedes hemorrhage from the intestinal coatings. In addition, yarrow's sterile and anti-inflammatory qualities help in healing infections and swollen organs like in the case of gastritis and enteritis. The bitter properties of yarrow make the herb in invigorating the liver. On the other hand, the herb's antispasmodics (an agent that relieves spasms or cramps) help in relieving cramps arising out of tensions, wind, colic or nervous dyspepsia (imperfect or painful digestion).
When consumed hot, yarrow is a superb medication that helps in getting relief from fevers and contagions like colds, flu, coughs as well as sore throats. Yarrow is also beneficial in removing heat and toxins from the system through increased perspiration. Yarrow can also be used as a stimulant for the circulatory system and helps in healing varicose veins, hemorrhoids, phlebitis (inflammation of superficial veins that results in pain) and thrombosis. The herb is also useful in lowering blood pressure. The herb is also an efficient diuretic (an agent that promotes urine production and flow) and helps in letting out excessive fluids and toxins through enhanced urination. Yarrow also helps to get relief from cystitis (a bladder infection marked by pain as well as frequent, painful urination), irritable bladder, stones and irritation. In addition, the herb is useful in soothing painful joints and also clears the skin. The herb contains sterols, which have actions similar to hormones and aids in controlling the menstrual cycle. That yarrow is an extremely beneficial remedy for womenfolk; it is established from the fact that the herb moderates serious bleeding during menstruation as well as heals uterus blockages. It also helps in providing relief during heavy periods. Yarrow's versatility as a herbal medication is again proved when it is said to be useful as a stimulant or tonic for the nervous system.
For centuries, yarrow has been used to heal wounds, especially in Scotland people made a conventional wound liniment from yarrow to treat cuts, bruises and other injuries. Going by Greek mythology, Achilles was reported to have intensively used yarrow to cure his wounds. Chamazulene, found in yarrow and also in some volatile oils, strikingly possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. On the other hand, sesquiterpene lactones contained in yarrow are bitter and act as a stimulant, while achilleine aids in curbing internal as well as external hemorrhage. Flavonoids present in yarrow are perhaps responsible for the herb's anti-spasmodic results. In addition, yarrow is useful in controlling the menstrual cycle, curbing heavy bleeding as well as relieving women from menstrual pains.
Researches have established yarrow to be an excellent herb to heal abscesses (a localized collection of pus in the tissues of the body). When yarrow is blended with other herbs, it helps in healing colds and flu. The herb's sour stimulant possessions render it helpful in promoting poor digestion and colic (a disease characterized by severe pain in the intestines owing to various affections of the gastrointestinal tract). In addition, yarrow is also effective in healing hay fever, lowering high blood pressure, enhancing blood circulation in the veins, and taunting up swollen or knotted veins. When applied externally, yarrow is also useful as a herbal cleanser for skin wrinkles.
Other medical uses
Habitat and cultivation
Basically indigenous to Europe and western Asia, now yarrow can be found flourishing in all the temperate regions of the world. As mentioned earlier, the herb grows in all places, including in waste lands, countryside, meadows, and pastures, edges of the railway tracks and along the highways. Yarrow is propagated through its roots. The aerial parts of the plant are plucked during summer when it is in blossom.
Despite its many uses, yarrow has been poorly researched.
Yarrow can be consumed both as a tea as well as a tincture. If taken as a tea, yarrow can be mixed with other herbs. For effective results one needs to take 200 ml of the tea three times a day. Alternatively, one ml or 20 drops of yarrow tincture can be taken in thrice daily.
How it works in the body
Scientific researches have established that apigenin found in yarrow plants possess anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic actions. Azulenes as well as salicylic acids content in the herb are also antispasmodic (an agent that relieves spasms or cramps). On the other hand, alkaloids present in the yarrow plant act as a hemostatic (an agent used to stop internal bleeding) and hence are beneficial in curbing hemorrhage. Again, like in chamomile, chamazulene found in the herb is anti-allergic in nature. Significantly, yarrow is a versatile herbal medication and has different actions in different parts of the body. Nevertheless, yarrow is perhaps best known for its usefulness in healing respiratory problems. The plant has diaphoretic properties (increases perspiration) and hence has been found to be very effective in curing colds and fevers.
Many herbal medicine practitioners also use yarrow to heal allergy as in the case of hay fever. Since the herb has multiple properties, it is useful in various different conditions. The herb is very useful when consumed after a bout of flu or other illness as it acts as a digestive tonic and helps in enhancing appetite. While treating cardiovascular problems, the herb's antispasmodic properties are of immense use, while yarrow's diuretic functions has made it an important medication in lowering high blood pressure as well as enhancing the blood circulation in the veins. Specially in women, yarrow is also useful in healing the problems of the reproductive system and in regulating the menstrual cycle. Yarrow has multifarious and often diverse functions in the same organ. While the herb helps in curbing heavy bleeding during periods, it can also set in periods.
That the yarrow plant has flexible medicinal use and it is very resourceful as a herbal medication is established from the fact that various parts of the plant can be used for healing different disorders. The herb's flowers, essential oil, leaves as well as aerial parts are useful in some way or the other. Listed below are some of the applications of the yarrow plant.
Crush the flowers in a mortar or an electric blender. Let stand for 1 month in a glass jar away from light, then strain.