According to legend, the Greek general Achilles used yarrow to stop the bleeding of his soldiers' wounds during the Trojan War: hence the scientific name Achillea and the common names "soldier's wound-wort," "bloodwort," and " herbe militaire"
Yarrow has also been used traditionally as treatment for respiratory infections, menstrual pain, and digestive upsets.
Like osha, yarrow tea is commonly taken at the first sign of a cold or flu to bring on sweating and, according to tradition, ward off infection. Crushed yarrow leaves and flower tops are also applied directly as first aid to stop nosebleeds and bleeding from minor wounds. However, there has not been any formal scientific study of how well yarrow works.
To make yarrow tea, steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of water. Combination products should be taken according to label instructions.
No clear toxicity has been associated with yarrow.1 The FDA has expressed concern about a toxic constituent of yarrow known as thujone and permits only thujone-free yarrow extracts for use in beverages. Nonetheless, the common spice sage contains more thujone than yarrow, and the FDA lists sage as generally recognized as safe.
Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
1. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London, England: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:272.
Last reviewed August 2013 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Last Updated: 8/22/2013
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