According to ancient Greek myth, it was the yarrow that healed the wounds of the Achilles Trojan warrior. Some believe that it was on his behalf that the Latin name of the plant, Achillea millefolium, came from. Ancient healing tribes of the Aztecs knew about the healing properties of yarrow. They used the juice of this herb to treat acne, to brighten pigment spots and freckles.
Yarrow is distributed mainly in latitudes with a temperate climate. This grass is found on pastures, meadows, clearings, where it forms a dense sod. Yarrow is easily recognizable thanks to the leaves of a special shape and a spicy-bitter smell. This is a fairly tall (up to 80 cm) perennial strongly growing grass.
At the initial stage of development, it forms a dense rosette of cirrus leaves, but rapidly grows in height during spring-summer. Its inflorescence from a large number of small white flowers crowns the top of the fibrous stem. In mountainous regions, plants with pale pink or yellow petals are sometimes found. Yarrow inflorescences resemble baskets with small flowers. Botanists have calculated that several thousand small flowers can fit on a single plant, and by the end of summer, seed fruits appear in their place.
Useful ingredients in the grass
The bright smell of yarrow indicates that the plant contains large reserves of essential oils. Mostly it is cineole and azulene. Large portions of these substances are concentrated in the flowers of the plant. In addition, the grass is rich in tannins, flavonoids, vitamins C, K, A. It contains organic acids and minerals, including cobalt, molybdenum, copper, iron, sulfur, manganese.
Chamazulen (also found in chamomile) and apigenin contained in yarrow give the herb anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. Thanks to sesquiterpenes, the grass is able to suppress internal and external bleeding, and flavonoids make this plant an anticonvulsant.
How to use grass at different times
In the Middle Ages, yarrow was specially grown in the monastery gardens of the Benedictines and Dominicans. This herb was revered for stopping bleeding. In those ancient times, herbalists treated yarrow for colic in the stomach, nosebleeds, and toothache. Starting in the 18th century, tinctures, extracts and yarrow essential oils began to appear in European pharmacies. Freshly squeezed grass juice in those days was considered one of the best remedies for treating liver diseases and removing kidney stones.
Our great-grandmothers from yarrow and St. John's wort made tea for liver treatment (including cholecystitis). In the company of mint, a grass with a thousand leaves helped to soothe irregular heart rhythms, along with chamomile, it helped with stomach pains, and fresh grass juice helped pregnant women to produce milk.
In ancient times, yarrow was considered an almost magical plant. And in some regions, today it is one of those herbs that are sanctified in the church on the Trinity.
Use in modern herbal medicine
Most often, the phytotherapeutic properties of yarrow are associated with 3 functions:
- stop bleeding;
- improve digestion;
- treat insomnia and relieve excessive anxiety.
But besides these functions, modern researchers have discovered many other yarrow abilities. In modern medicine, it is known as a bactericidal agent, anesthetizing, general strengthening, stimulating digestion. This herb is useful for loss of appetite, muscle cramps, inflammation, infectious diseases, and fever. And some researchers claim that she also has anti-cancer capabilities.
Many herbalists use yarrow infusion to treat digestive upsets. In particular, this plant helps with bloating, belching, nausea, constipation. The juice of the plant contains beneficial plant substances flavonoids. When they enter the body, they contribute to the secretion of saliva and stomach acid, which in turn improves the digestion of food. In addition, yarrow juice helps stop internal bleeding (including stomach bleeding) caused by an ulcer, anemia, or other diseases.
In addition to the digestive organs, the benefits of yarrow are felt by the bronchi and other organs of the respiratory system. For women, the infusions of this herb are useful for painful menstruation and cycle disorders. This is because the grass contains substances that relax smooth muscles, including in the uterus and intestines, thereby relieving painful cramps. Due to the presence of phytoestrogens in the grass, yarrow is useful for women during menopause - it improves the general condition, stabilizes the hormonal background. Herbal teas are good to drink to cleanse and detoxify the body. Yarrow is important for the prevention of kidney stones, gall bladder.
Phytosterols and flavonoids contained in the flowers soothe inflammation in the throat and mouth. A glass of hot tea from this herb will relieve migraines and poor health caused by weather sensitivity. In addition, infusions and decoctions of this herb improve blood circulation, soothe nerves.
Why are different parts of the plant useful?
- decoction, infusion - for the treatment of respiratory organs and skin diseases;
- inhalation - to reduce the symptoms of hay fever, asthma.
- to stop nosebleeds (stretch and place in the nostril);
- to accelerate the healing of abrasions and wounds.
- decoction - to reduce temperature, improve digestion, strengthen immunity;
- tincture - for problems with urination, menstrual irregularities, some cardiological diseases;
- compress - with varicose veins.
- compresses - for the treatment of arthritis (combine well with St. John's wort essential oil);
- inhalation - for the treatment of colds and flu (can be combined with essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, hyssop, thyme, almond or sunflower).
Other use cases
A decoction or infusion of herbs is useful not only for internal receptions. In folk medicine, they washed the places of burns, wounds, including suppressed ones, ulcers, boils. Thanks to the zinc contained in the juice, it is useful for treating acne and lichen.
Yarrow extract is often included in intimate hygiene products. And all because the plant has a fungicidal and antibacterial effect. It protects against infections and prevents irritation of the mucous membranes.
In almost any pharmacy, you can buy dried grass or alcohol tincture of yarrow, as well as useful dietary supplements in tablets or capsules containing plant extract.
Another useful property of a yarrow will be appreciated by the mistresses. The specific smell emanating from a fresh twig repels many harmful insects. Not sure how to get rid of moths, aphids or other pests? Try scaring them with yarrow. They say it helps.
Potential Harmful Properties
Oddly enough, but yarrow can be harmful. For example, in combination with some medications, undesirable reactions are possible: from a decrease in the effectiveness of medications to allergic reactions. Allergy to yarrow is also possible in people reacting to plants from the family of asters (daisies, ragweed, chrysanthemum). The reaction is most often manifested by an itchy skin rash.
Preparations containing yarrow extract and teas from this plant are contraindicated for pregnant women, since the plant relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus, which can cause miscarriage or premature birth.
It is undesirable to simultaneously take blood thinners and yarrow. Together, they can cause serious bleeding. Drugs to reduce the acidity of the stomach lose their pharmacological properties if combined with yarrow, which, on the contrary, enhances the secretion of gastric juice. To prevent an excessive decrease in blood pressure, it is worth knowing that the yarrow enhances the effect of medications against hypertension. The same applies to drugs with sedative properties - yarrow will further enhance their effect.
Use in cosmetology
The benefit from yarrow as a cosmetic product was evaluated by women many centuries ago. This herb is best for oily and combination skin. Broths are wiped from her face, and a green slurry from crushed leaves is used as a mask. Herbal baths are also useful for eczema, seborrhea, acne. Yarrow decoction has a beneficial effect on burnt or frostbitten skin.
Mask for oily skin and against acne
Wash a handful of fresh herbs and grind to a state of gruel. Add 1 chicken protein, mix and apply for 20 minutes on the skin. After the procedure, rinse the skin with warm water.
Mask for dry skin
Grind a handful of young yarrow, add a spoonful of sour cream and a little honey. Mix thoroughly until smooth and apply on face. Keep at least 20 minutes. Remove with a damp cloth.
Pour a tablespoon of herbs with boiling water and leave for 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of vodka to the liquid filtered from greens. Pour into a glass vessel and close tightly. With this tool, it is good to wipe the problem skin (with acne, including purulent, age spots, freckles).
Hair Growth Accelerator
Yarrow herb decoction is useful to rub into the scalp. This procedure not only promotes hair growth, but also treats dandruff, dry skin and hair, strengthens curls and gives them shine. Therapeutic broth is prepared from 10 g of crushed flowers of a plant and a glass of boiling water. The mixture is preferably insisted in a thermos for about an hour. Then cool the broth a little and rub into the scalp. Moisten the hair with the remaining liquid along the entire length. Cover with cling film and wrap with a towel. Hold for an hour or two, then wash your hair, as usual. In addition, a yarrow decoction can be used to rinse already clean ringlets.
Yarrow in cooking
Young yarrow leaves harvested in early spring are a good addition to spring salads. The young leaves contain everything necessary to strengthen the immunity of the substance. In addition, yarrow contains components that improve metabolic processes. This herb goes well with spinach, watercress, parsley, cucumbers, dill, lemon balm leaves, cheese and hard-boiled eggs. All these ingredients can be mixed in one bowl and seasoned with mayonnaise - you get a delicious salad. You can experiment by combining these and other components. And in some countries, brewers add yarrow to the wort. The result is a stronger drink.
How to harvest
For medicinal purposes, use leaves, stems with inflorescences or only flowers. For medicinal needs, the grass is harvested in the initial stage of flowering. Shoots and inflorescences are dried in ventilated rooms (it is possible under the roof of the house) at a temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius. When the grass is completely dry, it is rubbed through a sieve, thus getting rid of the woody parts of the plant.
Traditional medicine recipes
Digestion for digestion
For 120 g of chopped yarrow flowers, 6 glasses of dry white wine are taken. Insist in a dark, cool place for about 4 weeks. The finished medicine is taken in small glasses for cramping in the abdomen, after overeating, to facilitate bloating.
A decoction for regulating the menstrual cycle
Mix equal parts of yarrow stems with flowers, calendula and sage. Two tablespoons of the herbal mixture pour 3/4 liter of water and put on low heat for 20 minutes. Cool, strain the broth, if necessary, add water, so that the volume of the broth is 3/4 liter cans. Drink a glass half an hour before meals (three times a day). The course of treatment should not exceed 7 days.
People have known about the beneficial properties of yarrow for a long time. In ancient times, ancient Roman warriors sowed plantations of this plant near their camps. Thus, the Romans always had at hand an effective means for healing wounds. Our ancestors also actively used this medicinal plant to heal a variety of ailments. We use it too. And for thousands of years, a plant with a thousand leaves has been helping people.