Yarrow

“Yarrow”

Yarrows’s Latin name is derived from the Greek hero Achilles.  During the Trojan wars, Yarrow was reputedly used to treat wounds. It was later known as ‘Wound-wort’ and ‘Carpenter’s Weed’.

A folk name, ‘Nosebleed’, confirms Yarrow’s traditional first aid use as an emergency styptic to stop bleeding.

In China, divining sticks are made from yarrow stalks.


Latin Botanical: Achillea millefolium

Family: Asteraceae

Part Used: Aerial Parts. Harvest during flowering. 

Qualities: Cool, dry (Holmes); sweet and astringent with slightly bitter taste (Ody); dry 1st degree, warm 1st degree (Thomsen & Gennat).

Energetic / Emotional: Psychic protection and protection from radiation. Wood says American Indian Practitioners have used Yarrow to revive people from a coma. It appears to heighten consciousness. Good for people who are ‘too delicate and susceptible to their environment’. ‘Wounded warrior remedy’ ideal for modern day servants – e.g. doctors, lawyers, therapists.  A remedy for ‘those who jump in to save the day but get hurt’. 


“Most men say that the leaves chewed, and especially greene, are a remedy for toothache” – John Gerard, 1597


Constituants: 

  • Volatile oil (chamazulene, azulene, and thujone) – stimulate mucosa of respiratory tract
  • Flavonoids (including rutin)
  • Sesquiterpene Lactones (Achillicin-bitter)
  • Tannins and Alkaloids
  • Vitamins A,C,E & K
  • Minerals Cu, Mg, K, Fe, Iodine
  • Camphor

Actions:

  • Antipyretic
  • Diaphoretic
  • Peripheral vasodilator
  • Hypotensive
  • Venous Tonic
  • Astringent 
  • Antihaemorrhagic
  • Haemostatic / Styptic (local, such as nose bleeds)
  • Antiplatelet  (achilleine, an alkaloid constituent, may ↓ clotting time)
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antiinflammatory (chamazulene / volatile oil)
  • Spasmolytic
  • Bitter tonic
  • Vulnerary
  • Stimulant
  • Emmenagogue (abortifacient – thujone) – may work to release stagnant blood
  • Thins the blood and some herbalists consider it a blood cleanser

Indications:

  • Fever (especially in cases where the mind in dimmed and restless, there is a reddish complexion showing congestion of blood, tongue is red and dry in the centre, and pulse is rapid and full); haemorrhage resulting from fever
  • Common cold / flu
  • URTI’s
  • Digestive complaints (i.e. anorexia, dyspepsia, GIT spasm).  Yarrow stimulates digestion and may act as a catalyst to ‘clean out the digestive tract from bottom layer up’. Yarrow tones mucosa and increases cellular activity and secretion.
  • Loss of appetite (Commission E)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dysentery
  • Hypertension
  • Varicose veins
  • Haemorrhoids (bleeding)
  • Varicose veins (sitz bath) – blood stagnation in the legs
  • Diverticulitis and colitis (Wood) – especially when the tongue is cracked down the centre which opens to to display a ‘chaining’ effect (little lines crossing back and forth) which looks like a feather running down the centre of the tongue
  • Intestinal inflammation – IBS, liver congestion, skin lesions associated with digestive symptoms
  • Amenorrhoea – stagnant blood
  • Menorrhagia
  • Yarrow will help bring on a supressed period, will staunch menstrual flooding and help to stir stagnant blood in the gynaecological tract.It can be used for irregular menstruation (young girls), mental restlessness in menopause, ovarian inflammation, uterine prolapse, and fibroids.
  • UTIs
  • Mild uterine bleeding – tones mucus membranes of reproductive tract and reigns in heat and restlessness associated with hormonal episodes (Wood says that Yarrow can work both ways, to staunch excessive bleeding and also to break up stagnant blood, therefore it is a ‘menstrual regulator’ with an affinity to the blood)
  • Pelvic cramping (Commission E)
  • Uterine Fibroids (sitz bath twice a week) – stagnant blood
  • Ovarian cysts (those filled with blood)
  • ‘Restlessness due to hormonal shifts’
  • Aneurism – suck up blood leaking out of vessel (Wood). 
  • Topically for wounds and to stop bleeding; for slow healing wounds
  • Topically – cuts and bruises of VIOLENT ORIGIN; blood blisters
  • Topically – skin Disorders (inflammatory)

**Specific for thrombotic conditions with hypertension including cerebral thrombosis and coronary thrombosis**

For ‘cuts to the bone and cuts to the third level of the blood’ (Wood). Arteries. Deep cuts; used to stop bleeding.

Can potentially thin and decongest the blood – a ‘blood purifier’ (Wood).

Hot, feverish.

Mind – dimmed, restless.

Tongue – red and dry in centre.

Pulse – rapid, full, and non-resistant.

Use to ‘expel heat’.  

May bring on sleep when given in time of fever.

  • FULL, RAPID PULSE 
  • TONGUE RED – Dry in centre moist outer
  • RUDDY, RED COMPLEXION 

SUMMARY: Used for…

  • Catarrhal conditions – COLDS & FLUS
  • Bitter Tonic – to ENCOURAGE BILE FLOW
  • DIURETIC Action
  • Tonic for BLOOD
  • Stimulate CIRCULATION
  • Used for HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
  • MENSTRUAL Disorders
  • Sweating Remedy – to bring down FEVERS

Contraindications/Cautions: Known Allergy and Pregnancy are both contraindicated

Cautions:

  • Lactation (CC)
  • Sensitivity to plants containing sesquiterpenes (eg laurel, magnolia, liverworts) or Asteraceae plants

**Prolonged use can increase skin’s photosensitivity**


DRUG INTERACTIONS:

  • Anti-coagulants/anti-platelet drugs CAUTION due to theoretical increased risk of bleeding
  • Barbiturates CAUTION due to theoretical increased sedation
  • Lithium CAUTION due to theoretical increased risk of drug toxicity

(Hechtman 2018)


Dosage: 

Liquid Extract:

2 – 6ml 1:2 liquid extract / day

20- 40 ml 1:2 liquid extract / week

DROP DOSE: 1 to 3 drops t.d.s. (Wood) or 20-40 drops t.d.s. (PPC)

Dried Plant Equivalent:

6 – 12 g / day dried aerial parts (infusion). Use infusion of leaves to reduce fevers and a digestive tonic. Use infusion of flowers externally as a wash for eczema.

Compress / Poultice – bruising, cuts, stop bleeding


Combinations: 

FEVER – YEP tea – Yarrow, Elderflower and Peppermint

DEEP WOUNDS with POTENTIAL NERVE DAMAGE – St John’s Wort

ANEURISM –Wood Betony & Rescue remedy (Wood)

TENSION and RESTLESSNESS / HYPERTENSION: Combine with tilia


OTHER USES:

  • To stop a Nosebleed: Insert Leaf into Nostril
  • Poultice: Bind washed, fresh leaves to cuts and grazes
  •  Inhalation: For hay fever and mild asthma, use fresh flowers in boiling water
  • Compress: Soak a pad in the infusion of aerial parts or dilute tincture to soothe varicose veins
  • Sitz bath for Uterine Fibroids – 2 x week. 100 g whole, cut herb seeped in cold water overnight – bring to boil and then pour into a bath. Also good for varicose veins 

ARTICLE & MONOGRAPH LINKS:

Extended Comm E Monograph

HerbClip Monograph

 REFERENCES: 

Bone, Kerry (2003). A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs: Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient. St. Louis: Churchill Livingston

Ody, Penelope (1998). The Herb Society’s Complete Medicinal Herbal. Milan: Dorling Kindersley

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