We have a large list of medicinal plants to use, simple cultivation, and without major transformation processes. A plant that is commonly used for infusion is yarrow, of historical world knowledge and very present in traditional medicine.
In recent years, there has been a boom in scientific research that aims to boom this type of plant, especially for the selection of its active ingredients and chemical components selectable for modern pharmacology.
In this article, we want to highlight the main scientific research and clinical trials related to yarrow (Achillea millefolum), one of the most well-known and used medicinal plants in history. We have the opportunity to choose several ways to take advantage of its principles, although taken in, infusion is one of the best known and easiest to prepare.
To talk about its history, the gender Achillea It is composed of more than 650 species, although only 150 of them accepted. This genus brings together different groups of species, many of them with medicinal potential. In fact, the term Achillea it is referred to in honor of Achilles, since historically these plants are used for promote wound healing.
How can we take yarrow?
Yarrow is usually consumed by most of the population, and is present in different formats, such as powders, creams, extracts of dried leaves and flowers, infusion, etc.
However, the most common form of consumption of this medicinal plant is in the form of an infusion. To do this, between 5 and 10 grams (1 or 2 tablespoons of coffee) of dried flowers and leaves are selected, bringing the water to a boil and mixing both components.
In any case, if you reject the traditional method of preparation, there are many shops and herbalists where they offer you the yarrow already bagged and ready to prepare.
Likewise, there are many products for personal hygiene that include yarrow among their ingredients. It provides an unmistakable aroma and offers antioxidant benefits for the skin, helping to correct excess oil and facilitate the healing of wounds, especially those of acne.
Medicinal properties of the yarrow plant
1. Reduces inflammation
Inflammation is a response of our body to a harmful cause. Historically, yarrow has been used to improve the appearance of the skin and reduce cell damage caused by sun exposure, bumps or burns.
Applied to the skin, it offers great potential to relieve inflammatory processes. Taken as an infusion, it acts directly on the inflamed liver, for example, for reasons of fat accumulation. However, no positive effects have been reported for and liver inflamed by excessive alcohol consumption. [consulted source]
The preliminary studies have pointed out that skin inflammation is considerably reduced within a few hours of applying any yarrow extract on it. However, most of these trials have been conducted at the laboratory level, so more research is needed.
2. Promotes wound healing
One of the historical uses of the yarrow plant was to help heal wounds caused by rubbing and pointed weapons, so it was widely used by soldiers. In addition, it also has anti-inflammatory properties and reduced infection processes, very common at that time. The yarrow was applied directly to the wound in the form of ointments or poultices, forming a paste that reduced bleeding.
Early in vitro and animal studies have shown that yarrow increases the number of fibroblasts, cells crimped to regenerate healthy tissue and facilitate recovery from injury.
In humans, several ointments and healing creams based on this plant have been tested and the results have been very satisfactory, especially in women undergo episiotomy, a common surgical procedure performed during childbirth.
3. Reduces digestive problems
There are a large number of plants, such as chamomile, where rigorous trials have confirmed its potential to reduce digestive problems. The same goes for Achillea millefoluim, whoses active substances are used to relieve irrigable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive problems related to ulcers, stomach heaviness, diarrhea or constipation.
The positive answer is found in the high concentration of alkaloids and flavonoids of this medicinal plant, frequently used for the relief of digestive problems. Currently, most of the Trials have been performed in animals, but the results are hopeful to apply in humans.
Other studies have looked at the spasmodic activity of the infusion of yarrow, with positive results.
4. Yarrow fights symptoms of depression and anxiety
There are medical references that support the properties of different flavonoids to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. [See study]
Therefore, the application of yarrow to achieve these effects was related, along with the drugs usually used to combat this disease. The results of the infusion intake significantly reduced the corticosteroid secretion, a hormone involved in stressful situations.
In the face of anxiety, aromatherapy and the use of aromatic plants is also shown to reduce mild symptoms of anxiety or mental fatigue.
However, more human research is needed because of the severity and complicated diagnosis of depression.
5. Achillea millefolium improves cognitive activity
Proper brain activity is vital to ensure a decent quality of life, especially in older age. Diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s encephalomyelitis or multiple sclerosis are the order of the day and undergo continuous medical evaluations to test new pharmacological products.
Yarrow extract has been subjected to several clinical trials, proving a reduction in the negative effect of encephalomyelitis and inflammation of the marrow and brain.
The initial studies in rats have found a positive response on anticonvulsant effect of the plant, so it may have a promising future to reduce the negative effects of epilepsy. These studies also indicate that yarrow may be effective in preventing or delaying cognitive memory loss, leading to Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, among other diseases.
At the moment, there are only preliminary studies and a greater number of trials are needed.
Possible side effects of yarrow its consumption
It is also necessary to analyze the possible side effects of its consumption, as well as the compatibility with the current drugs commonly used. It is known that yarrow is safe for most people, although there are some cases of allergic processes.
Its consumption is not advised in pregnant women or breastfeeding. There may be cases of miscarriages or affect the menstrual cycle. It is also not recommended to consume it if you suffer from bleeding problems or are taking anticoagulant drugs. Likewise and for the same effect, its consumption is not recommended after undergoing surgery, to avoid unnecessary bleeding.