Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Traditional Indications

Yarrow is anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, odontalgic, stimulant, tonic, vasodilator, vulnerary and restorative and regulator for menstrual system. Yarrow is indicated for fevers, common cold, essential hypertension, digestive complaints, loss of appetite, amenorrhoea, dysentery and diarrhoea. Yarrow lowers high blood pressure by dilating the peripheral vessels, and it also tones the blood vessels. It is considered to be a specific in thrombotic conditions associated with high blood pressure. The flavonoids help to dilate the peripheral arteries and are also believed to help clear blood clots. Specifically indicated in thrombotic conditions with hypertension, including cerebral and coronary thromboses. Yarrow has also been used in the treatment of heavy and painful periods, and the presence of steroidal constituents may help to explain this activity. (1)

Yarrow is specifically an upper respiratory tract (URT) mucous membrane tonic. Yarrow is effective in treating all conditions affecting the URT. The flowers are rich in chemicals that are converted by steam distillation into anti-allergenic compounds, of use in the treatment of allergic catarrhal problems such as hay fever. The dark blue essential oil, azulene, is used as an anti-inflammatory, or in chest rubs for colds and influenza. (2)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Yarrow is called Ya Luo. Ya Luo enters the Spleen, Lungs and Kidney channels to moves Qi and Blood to treat angina, chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal cramping, headaches, vertigo, palpitations, varicose veins and haemorrhoids. Ya Luo reduces inflammation and resolves Damp to treat bladder infections, urinary stones, frequent urination, spermatorrhea, and leucorrhoea. Ya Luo tonifies Qi and releases the Exterior to treat viral infections and rash. Ya Luo heals wounds and arrests bleeding. (3)

Pharmacognosy

Active constituents include flavonoids, phenolic acids, coumarins, terpenoids (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes) and sterols . (4)

A study investigating the anti-inflammatory (antiphlogistic) mechanism of yarrow concluded the in vitro-antiphlogistic activity of Achillea is at least partly mediated by inhibition of human neutrophil elastase (HNE) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and -9) confirming the traditional application as antiphlogistic drug. (5)

A study investigating the antispasmodic effects of Achillea millefolium extract in the isolated ileum of rat conduled that the results suggest that the relaxatory effect of A. millefolium on ileum contractions can be due to the blockade of voltage dependent calcium channels. (6)

The spasmolytic activity is said to be due to the flavonoids component of Achillea millefolium, quercetin, luteolin and apigenin. (7)

A study investigating the flavonoids apigenin fund that apegenin inhibits antiestrogen-resistant breast cancer cell growth through oestrogen receptor-α-dependent and -independent mechanisms and concluded that apigenin, through its ability to target both ERα-dependent and -independent pathways, holds promise as a new therapeutic agent against antiestrogen-resistant breast cancer. (8)

Human clinical trials examining the effect of supplementation of apigenin on disease prevention have not been conducted although there is considerable potential for apigenin to be developed as a cancer chemopreventive agent. (9)

A study looking at the effect of Achillea extract on blood pressure of anaesthetized male rat concluded that Achillea induced hypotensive effect via lowering total peripheral resistance and cardiac output that may be synergist with cholinergic and independent of nitrergic system. (10)

A study investigating the he radioprotective effect of Achillea millefolium extract against genotoxicity induced by ionizing radiation (IR) in human lymphocytes concluded that Achillea millefolium extract may play an important role in the protection of normal tissues against genetic damage induced by IR. (11)

 

1. PFAF. Achillea millefolium 2019 [Available from: https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Achillea+millefolium.
2. Future Pfa. Achillea millefolium - L. 2018 [Available from: https://pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Achillea+millefolium.
3. Healing WRIo. Yarrow (Ya Luo) 2019 [Available from: https://www.whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com/herbs/yarrow/.
4. Saeidnia S, Gohari A, Mokhber-Dezfuli N, Kiuchi F. A review on phytochemistry and medicinal properties of the genus Achillea. Daru : journal of Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences. 2011;19(3):173-86.
5. Benedek B, Kopp B, Melzig MF. Achillea millefolium L. s.l. -- is the anti-inflammatory activity mediated by protease inhibition? Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2007;113(2):312-7.
6. Moradi MT, Rafieian-Koupaei M, Imani-Rastabi R, Nasiri J, Shahrani M, Rabiei Z, et al. Antispasmodic effects of yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.) extract in the isolated ileum of rat. African journal of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines : AJTCAM. 2013;10(6):499-503.
7. Lemmens-Gruber R, Marchart E, Rawnduzi P, Engel N, Benedek B, Kopp B. Investigation of the spasmolytic activity of the flavonoid fraction of Achillea millefolium s.l. on isolated guinea-pig ilea. Arzneimittel-Forschung. 2006;56(8):582-8.
8. Long X, Fan M, Bigsby RM, Nephew KP. Apigenin inhibits antiestrogen-resistant breast cancer cell growth through estrogen receptor-alpha-dependent and estrogen receptor-alpha-independent mechanisms. Molecular cancer therapeutics. 2008;7(7):2096-108.
9. Shukla S, Gupta S. Apigenin: a promising molecule for cancer prevention. Pharmaceutical research. 2010;27(6):962-78.
10. Anvari S, Bahaoddini A, Moein M, Khosravi AR. The effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Achillea eriophora DC. on blood pressure of anaesthetized male rat. EXCLI journal. 2016;15:797-806.
11. Shahani S, Rostamnezhad M, Ghaffari-Rad V, Ghasemi A, Allahverdi Pourfallah T, Hosseinimehr SJ. Radioprotective Effect of Achillea millefolium L Against Genotoxicity Induced by Ionizing Radiation in Human Normal Lymphocytes. Dose-response : a publication of International Hormesis Society. 2015;13(1):1559325815583761-.