The genus name Achillea is derived from mythical Greek character, Achilles, who reportedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds. This medicinal use is also reflected in some of the common names mentioned below, such as staunchweed and soldier's woundwort.
Yarrow and its North American varieties, was used in traditional Native American herbal medicine by tribes across the continent. The Navajo considered it to be a "life medicine", chewed it for toothaches, and poured an infusion into ears for earaches. The Miwok in California used the plant as an analgesic and head cold remedy.
Several tribes of the Plains Indians used common yarrow. The Pawnee used the stalk for pain relief. The Chippewa used the leaves for headaches by inhaling it in a steam. They also chewed the roots and applied the saliva to their appendages as a stimulant. The Cherokee drank a tea of common yarrow to reduce fever and aid in restful sleep.
Among the Zuni people use the occidentalis variety medicinally. The blossoms and root are chewed, and the juice applied before fire-walking or fire-eating. A poultice of the pulverized plant is mixed with water and applied to burns.
The plant is a frequent component of butterfly gardens. In the Hebrides a leaf held against the eyes was believed to give second sight. The stalks are dried and used as a randomising agent in I Ching divination. Yarrow and tortoiseshell are considered to be lucky in Chinese tradition.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.) essential oil exhibits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. The paper concludes that due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of the essential oil, it could be used in many applications, including as a functional ingredient in health food or as a drug for treating inflammatory related diseases.
Chamazulene is an aromatic chemical compound with the molecular formula C14H16 found in a variety of plants including in chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). It is a blue-violet derivative of azulene which is biosynthesized from the sesquiterpene matricin. Chamazulene has anti-inflammatory properties in vivo and inhibits the CYP1A2 Enzyme.
Matricin is a sesquiterpene. It can be extracted from flower of chamomille (Matricaria chamomilla).
Chamazulene, a blue-violet derivative of azulene, found in a variety of plants including in chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is biosynthesized from matricin.
Chemical abstract number: 187348-13-6, Callitris intratropica, the essential oil is distilled from chipped and hammer milled bark and woods of the tree, requiring a long distillation (up to 48 Hours). Clear oil is produced if the heartwood is distilled by itself, containing clear Azulene compounds, which requires a separate National Industry Chemical Assessment to produce and is not covered by the registered Chemical abstract number.
The blue coloured guaiazulene is formed when the essential oil of the heart and sapwood touches the bark and a catalytic reaction occurs. The oil can be bluish green to dark blue depending on the percentage of bark to heart wood ratio. Guaiazulene is claimed as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti- pyretic and anti-allergenic similar to chamazulene. Australian blue cypress oil also contains eudesmol’s known for their anti-viral properties hence its reputation amongst aroma therapists for the topical treatment of Warts and Cold Sores.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a common wildflower with medical properties and a rich folklore, which should be welcome in any garden. It belongs to the large sunflower family, Asteraceae, and is quite closely related to chamomiles. The most striking feature of Yarrow is the feathery fern- like leaves with finely cut segments which are quite characteristic. The name millefolium indicates the many segments of its foliage. It is sometimes called Milfoil and Thousand Weed. Wild Yarrow Leaves, Credit Stillblog From June to September, the flowers appear which range from white through yellow to pale lilac. They look like tiny daisies, in flattened cymes (loose terminal heads).
The whole plant is covered with varying degrees of closely pressed white silk- like hairs. The stem is angular and rough. Yarrow has a reputation as a wound healer (vulnerary). This is borne out by its generic name; Achillea. When the warrior Achilles was injured in his weakened ankle, Yarrow was used to treat his wounds. The ancients referred to Yarrow as Herba Militaris, the military herb. The classic herbalist John Gerard tells us it is the same plant with which Achilles stanched the bleeding wounds of his soldiers. Yarrow makes an excellent wound healing ointment, with beeswax and olive oil.
Essential oil of Yarrow is a beautiful pure blue colour on account of the component Chamazulene. It is particularly beneficial for allergies, skincare, stress-related conditions and insomnia. Used internally Yarrow acts as a soothing relaxant to counteract cramps and spasms. Yarrow can bring on delayed menstruation, soothe painful periods and menstrual cramps and reduce excessive bleeding. Its bitter principles also support the digestive system admirably. Yarrow is even an effective anti-inflammatory and diuretic in cases of urinary infections, such as cystitis. A combination of Elderflower, Peppermint and Yarrow tinctures can be taken in equal parts to induce a sweat during the onset of colds & flu. Some individuals however are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family and may develop allergic reactions, so please only use under the guidance of a naturopath or medical herbalist. It also interacts with certain drugs.
Depending on the outlook of the gardener, Yarrow can be seen as an invasive weed of grass lawns, or as a welcome perennial of the flower border, rock garden, or wildflower meadow. When encouraged, yarrow plants grow 2- 4 ft tall, but low-growing varieties are also available. The main advantages of Yarrow as a garden plant are; (i) low maintenance, (ii) reproduces readily from seeds or by division, (iii) good for cut flowers and floristry, (iv) many varieties of form and colour are available (v) attracts butterflies & other insects, and (vi) Yarrow is highly durable and tolerates dry spells, low soil fertility and a variety of soil types. Although Yarrow thrives in hot, dry conditions and low soil fertility, it does not tolerate wet soils very well so this should be kept in mind during site selection. If you are interested in horticulture of wildflowers, take control of your future!