Yarrow is a very hardy and prolific plant which can be found growing naturally in many regions of Europe, North America, and Asia. It is also a very attractive plant that is used in residential and commercial landscaping. The flowering tops of yarrow are used to produce herbal remedies and preparations.
Yarrow is believed to have originated in the milder climates of Europe and Asia and has been around for over 3,000 years. In ancient times the leaves and flowers of yarrow were eaten and tea-like drink was made from yarrow leaves. Medicinally, fresh leaves of the yarrow plant were applied to wounds to stop bleeding, fight fevers, treat gastrointestinal conditions, lessen heavy menstrual bleeding, and improve circulation. Fresh leaves were chewed to relieve toothaches.
In more recent times, yarrow has been used in connection with a number of health conditions including menstrual ailments and bleeding hemorrhoids. Similar to chamomile, yarrow is also a common herbal remedy for bloating, flatulence, and mild gastrointestinal cramping.
A number of chemicals may contribute to yarrow's medicinal properties. The volatile oil of yarrow, which is rich in sesquiterpene lactones and alkamides, is believed to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown that yarrow can reduce smooth muscle spasms, which might further explain its usefulness in gastrointestinal conditions. The alkaloid obtained from the herb known as achilletin has been reported to stop bleeding; however, no human clinical trials have confirmed the effectiveness of these traditional uses of yarrow.Dosage and Administration
The following are recommended adult doses for yarrow:
- Dried herb: 2 to 4 g in infusion or capsules three times a day
- Extract (1:1, 25 ethanol): 1 to 4 mL three times a day
- Tincture (1:5; 40 ethanol): 2 to 4 mL three times a day
- Yarrow flowers, or equivalent preparations: 3 g a day as infusion or tea