Achillea millefolium

Achillea millefolium

Synonyms

No documentation

Vernacular Name

Milfoil, wound wort, bloodwort, milefolio, common yarrow, noble yarrow

Description

Achillea millefolium has been used in many cultures for its medicinal properties. Cultures in Europe and North American reportedly used it to stop blood flow from wounds, a use that dates back hundreds of years. It is grown as a medicinal herb and cultivated for beds.

Growing to a height of 1m, A. millefolium has pubescent leaves ranging from 5-20cm long, with the larger leaves located toward the bottom and middle of the plant. The diminutive flowers grow as a crown at the top of the plant from May to June, ranging from white to lavender in color. It can be found in marshlands, dry rocky areas, roadsides and meadows.

Origin / Habitat

A. millefolium, or Milfoil, is an herbaceous flowering plant found throughout the Northern hemisphere and in Europe to an elevation of 3,500m. Thought to originate in Europe, A. millefolium has flourished in the North American grasslands due to its ability to withstand drought and other varying climatic conditions.

Chemical Constituents

Chamazulene, camphor, beta-pinene, caryophyllene, alpa-pinene, isoartemisiaketon, sesquiterpnene lactones, polyynes, alkamids, flavonoids, betaine, beta-sitosterol and alpha-amyrin.[1],[2],[3]

Plant Part Used

Flowers and plant tops.

Medicinal Uses

General  

Digestive aid
Appetite stimulant
Anti-inflammatory
Liver tonic
Wounds and bruises
Anti-anxiety

 

Most Frequently Reported Uses

Digestive aid
Appetite stimulant
Anti-inflammatory
Liver tonic

Dosage

Dosage Range 

Crude raw herb – 2-4g per day
Extract – 1:1 ratio, 2-4mL, 2-3 times per day
Tea – 1-2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of boiling water, 1-3 times per day.

 

Most Common Dosage 

1g dried herb infused in hot water, three times per day.

 

Standardization Dosage 

There is currently no common standardization for A. millefolium.

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

Pre-clinical studies support the use of A. millefolium as an antispasmodic and have recognized the flavonoids as the constituents responsible for this action.[4]

The traditional use of A. millefolium as an anti-inflammatory agent has been supported in laboratory settings indicating its potential use as a non steroidal anti-inflammatory agent.[5]An in vitro study demonstrated that the herb may act as a protease inhibitor.[6]

An in vitro study examined the anti-microbial activity of A. millefolium against several strains of bacteria and two fungal strains. Staphylococcus aureus was found to be the most sensitive to the extract which compared favorably to several penicillin derivatives.[7]

In an animal model, isolated chemical constituents of A. millefolium extract were found to increase bile flow.[8]A separate laboratory analysis indicated that dicaffeoylquinic acids were responsible for this action.[4]

A. millefolium was found to have hepatoprotective activity in artificially induced hepatitis in mice. This is thought to be due to the calcium channel blocking activity. This same animal model also found A. millefolium to demonstrate some antispasmodic activity.[9]

Clinical

No documentation 

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

The use of A. millefolium as a digestive aid, hepatoprotectant and possible calcium channel blocker[9]indicate that there may be possible drug-herb interactions though none are reported in the literature.

Animal studies indicate that A. millefolium is generally safe for long-term use.[10] However, this herb should not be used in combination with any over the counter or prescription medication without consult with a pharmacist or physician.

Interaction with Drugs

Based on pharmacology this herb should be used in conjunction with prescription medications for chronic bowel disease without consulting a healthcare professional.

A. millefolium is reported in animal studies to be a calcium channel blocker and should not be used in combination with blood pressure, pulmonary or cardiac medications.

Due to some unknown attributes of this herb, it should not be used in combination with any medications unless directed by a physician.

 

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Allergic reactions sometimes occur during ongoing therapy with A. millefolium.[11],[12]This is thought to be due to guaianolides and some sesquiterpene lactones.[13]

Contact dermatitis has occurred with exposure to A. millefolium.[16]

Pregnancy

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.[14],[15]

Age limitation

Not to be used with children.

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Read More

  1) Essential Oil

  2) Native American Herbs

References

  1. Benetis R. Variability of phenolic compounds in flowers of Achillea millefolium wild populations in Lithuania. Medicina (Kaunas). 2008;44(10):775-781.
  2. Agnihotri VK. Chemical variability in the essential oil components of Achillea millefolium agg. from different Himalayan habitats (India). Planta Med. Mar 2005;71(3):280-283.
  3. Chandler RF. Herbal remedies of the Maritime Indians: sterols and triterpenes of Achillea millefolium L. (Yarrow). J Pharm Sci. Jun 1982;71(6):690-693.
  4. Benedek B. Achillea millefolium L. s.l. revisited: recent findings confirm the traditional use. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2007;157(13-14):312-314.
  5. Choudhary MI. Inhibitory effect of lactone fractions and individual components from three species of the Achillea millefolium complex of Bulgarian origin on the human neutrophils respiratory burst activity. Nat Prod Res. Sep 2007;21(11):1032-1036.
  6. Benedek B. Achillea millefolium L. s.l. - is the anti-inflammatory activity mediated by protease inhibition? J Ethnopharmacol. 5 Sep 2007;113(2):312-317.
  7. Tajik D. In vitro Assessment of Antimicrobial Efficacy of Alcoholic Extract of Achillea Millefolium in Comparison with Penicillin. J Animal Vet Adv.2008;7(4): 508-511.
  8. Benedek B. Choleretic effects of yarrow (Achillea millefolium s.l.) in the isolated perfused rat liver. Phytomedicine. 2009;13(9):702-706.
  9. Yaeesh S, Jamal Q, Khan AU, Gilani AH.Studies on hepatoprotective, antispasmodic and calcium antagonist activities of the aqueous-methanol extract of Achillea millefolium. Phytother Res. Jul 2006;20(7):546-551.
  10. Cavalcanti AM. Safety and antiulcer efficacy studies of Achillea millefolium L. after chronic treatment in Wistar rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 19 Sep 2006;107(2):277-284.
  11. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton. FL: CRC Press; 1997.
  12. Final report on the safety assessment of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Extract. Int J Toxicol. 2001;20(2):79-84.
  13. Hausen BM. alpha-Peroxyachifolid and other new sensitizing sesquiterpene lactones from yarrow (Achillea millefolium L., Compositae). Contact Dermatitis. Apr 1991;24(4):274-280.
  14. Boswell-Ruys CL. Preliminary screening study of reproductive outcomes after exposure to yarrow in the pregnant rat. Birth Defects Res B Dev Reprod Toxicol. Oct 2003;68(5):416-420.
  15. McGuffin M. et al. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton:CRC Press; 2005.
  16. Rücker G. [Peroxides as plant constituents. 8. Guaianolide-peroxides from yarrow, Achillea millefolium L., a soluble component causing yarrow dermatitis Arch Pharm (Weinheim). Dec 1991;324(12):979-981.

    1.     Benetis R. Variability of phenolic compounds in flowers of Achillea millefolium wild populations in Lithuania. Medicina (Kaunas). 2008;44(10):775-781.