Yarrow (Achillea millefolium , Yarrow ), also known as yarrow, yarrow, sawgrass, yarrow, collardweed, devil's nettle .
Perennials are flowering plants that grow in North America, Asia, and Europe. As one of the oldest medicinal plants, it has a long history, with its use reportedly dating back 3,000 years.
Antiproliferative agents, antioxidants (slows cell growth), and more. These properties make yarrow a great supplement for nearly every ailment, from multiple sclerosis to cancer. Here's what you need to know about yarrow before adding it to your medicine cabinet.
Uses of yarrow
Supplement use should be individualized and reviewed by a health care professional (such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or health care provider). No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Although yarrow has been traditionally used in many cultures to treat a variety of health conditions, there is only weak evidence confirming the plant's benefits. Most scientific research is performed in the laboratory on animals or isolated cells. This means the research is still in its early stages. These findings must be replicated in more extensive and in-depth studies before the full safety and benefits of yarrow can be determined.
Here are some uses explored in human research:
Yarrow leaves or juice made from its leaves have historically been applied directly to wounds to aid healing. There isn't much convincing research to support this use.
A randomized controlled trial of 140 women showed that yarrow ointment had a positive effect on the healing of an episiotomy (a small incision that health care professionals sometimes make in the episiotomy during childbirth).
Yarrow has also been studied for its effects on nipple cracking caused by breastfeeding. One study of 150 participants showed that yarrow helped, but was no more effective than applying breast milk or honey to the nipples.
Yarrow is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects when applied to the skin. A randomized controlled trial in volunteers showed that yarrow can help restore artificially irritated skin. Further research is needed.
Although people occasionally use yarrow to relieve menstrual cycle pain, there is little data to support its use for menstrual pain relief. In a randomized controlled trial, yarrow tea was shown to reduce pain in people with dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cycles). Only 91 students participated in the study, and all were teenagers, so the effects may be different for other age groups.
One item is provided in addition to maintenance medications. People with multiple sclerosis who took yarrow along with their regular treatments showed improvements in cognitive tests. Further research is needed.
irritable bowel syndrome
Because of its antispasmodic activity, yarrow is sometimes used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This means it can reduce intestinal muscle spasms and relieve stomach cramps. To date, there is no substantial evidence to support this historical use.
A randomized controlled trial of 60 people with IBS showed that a mixture of yarrow and two other herbal supplements reduced symptoms. However, the results were not statistically significant. This means the same thing might just happen by chance. Furthermore, it is not possible to predict the effectiveness of yarrow alone in treating IBS because it was given as a combination product in this trial.
Other research conditions
Although human data is lacking, some people also use yarrow for:
- Bacterial infections
- Respiratory viruses such as COVID-19
- Regulates blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes
- Protect liver and gallbladder
- Chemotherapy related toxicities
- cosmetic use
It is important to emphasize that most studies are performed in mouse models or using cells in the laboratory. It's unclear whether the effects in humans are the same. Further research in humans is needed before yarrow can be approved for these uses.
What are the side effects of yarrow?
Although yarrow is considered a "natural" product, keep in mind that even natural substances can have side effects and drug interactions. Think of these products as pharmaceuticals. Most available safety data comes from mouse studies, so not enough is known about side effects in humans.
Common side effects
Yarrow is generally considered safe for medicinal use, but possible side effects may include:
- Skin irritation when used topically: The sesquiterpenes (a metabolite) in yarrow may cause contact dermatitis or rash.
- Increased urination: Yarrow has diuretic effects in rat models.
However, certain groups of people may be at additional risk from taking yarrow supplements.
serious side effects
In one case report, a woman drank five cups of yarrow tea a day and went to the emergency room for a week complaining of blurred vision, dry mouth, fatigue, and heart palpitations. bThese symptoms are consistent with anticholinergic toxicity (a harmful effect caused). By stopping the action of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, it may cause hallucinations, seizures, or coma in severe cases.
Importantly, there are no data confirming the anticholinergic effects of yarrow. However, if you experience these or any other symptoms after taking this supplement, go to the emergency room to be safe.
Certain people may be at additional risk from taking yarrow supplements:
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Yarrow is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you take yarrow during pregnancy, a component of yarrow called thujone may put you at risk for miscarriage.
So far, little is known about the risks of yarrow during breastfeeding, so it's safest to avoid using it until your baby is weaned.
babies and children
Due to the lack of research on safety or effectiveness in children, use in this population is not recommended.
If you are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae/Asteraceae family, you may also be allergic to yarrow. 21 Other plants in this family include:
If you have plant allergies but are unsure about this specific group of plants, talk to your healthcare provider before taking yarrow.
increased risk of bleeding
Research on this is fairly limited, but one study in rabbits showed that blood clotting times were shortened when yarrow component achiline was given to the rabbits. Because yarrow can theoretically slow blood clotting, you should discuss its use with your healthcare provider before having any surgery. It may be necessary to stop before surgery.
Dosage: How much yarrow should I take?
Although yarrow has been used safely in one human study at daily doses of up to 500 mg for up to a year, there is currently no established standard dose.
Always follow the directions on the product label and involve your health care provider and pharmacist in your decisions. If you buy yarrow supplements at a store, look for supplements that are third-party certified.
What happens if I take too much yarrow?
There is not enough data to predict the effects of taking too much yarrow. If you think you have ingested too much yarrow, seek the guidance of a health care provider immediately.
There is little evidence about yarrow's interactions with prescription drugs or other herbal supplements. Yarrow may interact negatively with the following therapies, but these are mostly theoretical:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, anticoagulants, and antiplatelet drugs: These drugs slow blood clotting; taking yarrow may increase your risk of bleeding.
- Sedatives: May cause excessive drowsiness if taken with yarrow.
- Lithium: Yarrow may reduce the body's ability to eliminate lithium, increasing lithium accumulation and the risk of serious side effects.
- Herbal supplements containing thujone: Thujone is a component of yarrow and in high doses, it is toxic to the brain and may cause seizures.
It is important to read the ingredient list and nutrition facts of a supplement carefully to understand which ingredients are included and the amount of each ingredient. Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.
How to Store Yarrow
Most commercially available yarrow products can be safely stored at room temperature. Be sure to follow packaging instructions regarding storage and expiration dates. Keep this product and all supplements and medications out of the reach of children and pets.
The leaves of the plant may be dried, but it is not known how long they will last on the shelf. Some people recommend throwing out yarrow when its aroma begins to fade, as its potency may diminish.
Many supplements are also touted to aid wound healing, including:
- aloe vera
- St. John's Wort
Like yarrow, these herbs have been widely used in traditional medicine and are available in a variety of dosage forms.
Sage, cedar leaf, and wormwood are some other herbs that contain thujone. Like yarrow, these should not be used during pregnancy. If you take any of these supplements, talk to your healthcare provider before taking yarrow. At high doses, thujone may cause seizures, so a maximum daily dose of 3 to 7 mg is recommended.
Source of yarrow
The sources of yarrow are the plant itself and supplements made from it.
Yarrow Food Sources
Yarrow root can be ground into a spice. Some people use the flowers and leaves of this plant as an ingredient in soups or salads. In the United States, yarrow is not a common ingredient in commercially available foods.
Yarrow is commercially available in a variety of dosage forms, including herbal teas, capsules, essential oils, ointments, and tinctures.
Essential oils or ointments applied to the skin may be better because systemic (whole-body) side effects may be reduced.
Tinctures are highly concentrated extracts of plants made by soaking them in alcohol. Dosage is taken by mouth using a dropper. Due to the alcohol content (usually 25% to 60%), this form may not be recommended for use with children or during pregnancy. Consult your child's pediatrician or ob-gyn before use.
Yarrow has a long history of use in folk medicine and has theoretical benefits for a variety of health conditions. However, there is only weak evidence to support its use in humans. More robust human trials are needed before yarrow can be considered safe or effective. As with all supplements, discuss yarrow with your healthcare provider before adding yarrow to your daily routine.