Millefolium

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Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

[IFBC- E-flora]

[E-flora]2013


Description

Synonyms

  • Achillea albida Willd.[PFAF]
  • Achillea magna auct.[E-flora]
  • Achillea gracilis Raf [PFAF]
  • Achillea lanulosa Nutt. [PFAF][WeedsW]

Subtaxa in B.C.

  • Achillea millefolium var. alpicola [E-flora]
  • Achillea millefolium var. borealis [E-flora]
  • Achillea millefolium var. lanulosa [E-flora]
  • Achillea millefolium var. pacifica [E-flora]

General Stems erect [HNW] and "...growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a fast rate."[PFAF] "...somewhat pubescent, the hairs white." [HNW] 10-100cm tall.
Lifecycle Perennial.[PFAF][PCBC2004]
Flowers "Heads numerous, in a short, flat or round-topped cluster." [IFBC][E-flora] "The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects."[PFAF] "Ray flowers usually about 5,[PCBC2004] small, white, rarely pink, [HNW] or sometimes reddish.[PCBC2004] The 10-30 disk flowers are the same color, or contrasting; white, pink, purple, [WildPNW]or cream coloured. [PCBC2004]
Fruits Achenes glabrous, flattened [IFBC][E-flora][PCBC2004] pappus lacking.[PCBC204]
Leaves Fernlike, alternate [IFBC][E-flora] "...with numerous, highly dissected leafles."[PSW] "the basal leaves larger and at first tufted." [HNW] 2-6 inches long and 1/4 to 1 inch wide.[WeedsW]
Stem "...covered with white cottony hairs."[PSW]
Root usually rhizomatous.[IFBC][E-flora] "...a weakly spreading root system."[WeedsW]
Properties Aromatic.[IFBC][E-flora] A "strong unpleasant odor."[PSW]
Habitat "...dry coastal bluffs, meadows, grasslands, rocky slopes and open forests...".[IFBC][E-flora] Sometimes weedy.[HNW]"...occupying many plant communities..."[Weedsw] All elevations.[WildPNW]
Range common throughout B.C. [IFBC][E-flora] Pacific States.[PSW] "It is widely distributed throughout the temperate northern hemisphere."[WeedsW]
Status Native.[E-flora]
Notes "Taxonomically, one of our most complex species. Tyrl (1980)" [E-flora] Highly variable. [HNW]

Hazards

Food

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Ethnobotany

Medicinal Use
Named after Achilles of Greek mythology, "Yarrow is one of the oldest known botanicals used by humans..." and "...among the six medicinal plants whose pollen was found in a Homo neanderthalensis grave at Shanidar, dated to 65,000 B.C." "Moerman’s authoritative (1998) compilation identified 377 distinct medicinal use reports for yarrow by Native American groups, the most for any plant." It has been "used medicinally by no fewer than 76 tribes." Its use has been recorded in North America, China, Europe, Indonesia, South Africa, Botswana, Brazil, and various other parts of Central and South America.[Panacea]

"Yarrow has a high reputation and is widely employed in herbal medicine, administered both internally and externally. It is used in the treatment of a very wide range of disorders but is particularly valuable for treating wounds, stopping the flow of blood, treating colds, fevers, kidney diseases, menstrual pain etc[218, 238, 254, 257]." [PFAF]

"Yarrow is one of the most widely used medicinal plants in the world, primarily for wounds, digestive problems, respiratory infections, and skin conditions, and secondarily, among other uses, for liver disease and as a mild sedative. Preclinical studies indicate that it may have anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, hepatoprotective, anxiolytic, and perhaps antipathogenic activities." [Panacea]

"The whole plant is used, both fresh and dried, and is best harvested when in flower[222]." [PFAF] For medicinal purposes, it can be gathered any time during the growing season. However, it is best gathered just before it flowers. [Nyerges]

Daily Dosage:
Infusion — 4.5 gm herb or 3 gm flowers.
Tea — 1 cup, freshly made, 3 to 4 times daily between meals.
External application — "100 gm Yarrow to be drawn in 1 to 2 liter of water for 20 minutes and added to the bath water."[PDR]
Homeopathic Uses: "...used in varicose veins, arterial bleeding, convulsions. Homeopathic Dosage: 5 to 10 drops 1 to 3 times daily...(HAB1)."[PDR]

Pharmacology

The herb is antiseptic, mildly aromatic, astringent, digestive, odontalgic, bitter tonic, vasodilator and vulnerary.[PFAF]

Abortifacient (f; CRC); [HMH Duke]
Analgesic (1; APA; CRC); [HMH Duke]
Antibacterial (2; APA; KOM; PIP); [HMH Duke]
Antiedemic (1; APA; CAN; PH2); [HMH Duke]
Antiinflammatory (1; APA; PH2; PNC; WAM);[HMH Duke] "possess definite anti-inflammatory properties. . . . These properties consist mainly of plant proteins and carbohydrates, and are most active in water extracts or teas and tinctures." (See Caution)[Schofield]
Antiperspirant (f; PHR); [HMH Duke]
Antipyretic (1; BGB; CRC; PNC); [HMH Duke]
Antiseptic (2; APA; BGB; KOM);[HMH Duke]
Antispasmodic (2; BGB; KOM; SHT); [HMH Duke][PFAF]
Antiviral (f; CRC); [HMH Duke]
Aperitif (2; APA; KOM); [HMH Duke]
Astringent (2; KOM; SHT); [HMH Duke] with tannins [Hudson WENM]
Carminative (f; PED); [HMH Duke][PFAF]
Cholagogue (1; BGB; PH2);[HMH Duke][PFAF]
Choleretic (2; APA; KOM; PIP);[HMH Duke]

CNS Depressant (1; APA; CAN); [HMH Duke]
Culicide (1; CRC); [HMH Duke]
Diaphoretic (1; APA; BGB; WAM); [HMH Duke][PFAF]
Diuretic (1; APA; CAN; PNC); [HMH Duke]
Emmenagogue (f; CRC); [HMH Duke][PFAF]
Expectorant (1; FAD; PED); [HMH Duke]
Hemostat (2; APA; CAN; WAM); [HMH Duke]
Hypoglycemic (f; PED); [HMH Duke]
Hypotensive (1; BGB; CRC; PNC); [HMH Duke]
Insecticide (1; CRC);[HMH Duke]
Laxative (f; CRC); [HMH Duke]
Sedative (1; APA; CRC); [HMH Duke]
Stimulant (f; CRC; PED); [HMH Duke][PFAF]
Swelling (1; APA; CAN; PH2); [HMH Duke]
Urinary Antiseptic (1; CAN); [HMH Duke]
Uterine Stimulants. [Hudson WENM]
Vermifuge (f; CRC).[HMH Duke]

Phytochemistry

This is a crude organization of known constituents found in Achillea millefolium. Expect a few substances to be mistakenly arranged. I have tried my best to sort them from the information I have found. This list will be updated at a later date, with more complete references.

Alcohols

Aldehyde

Alkaloids

Alkanes

Amino Acids

Antioxidant

Benzaldehyde

Benzopyrone

Cyanogenic Glycosides

  • BENZALDEHYDE CYANHYDRIN GLYCOSIDE Plant: [DukePhyto]

Elements:

Epoxide

Fatty Acids

Higher Alkanes

Hydrocabon

Others

Organic Acid

Phenolic Acid

Phenylpropanoid

Phytosterols

Polyacetylene

Polyphenolic Compounds

Polyynes

Sesquiterpene

Sesquiterpene lactones
Mainly guaianolides [PDR]

Terpenes

Terpenoids

Vitamins & Nutrients

Volatile Oils

  • 1,8-CINEOLE Leaf 24 - 960 ppm [DukePhyto] Up to 10% [PDR]
  • ALPHA-PINENE Leaf 25 - 1,000 ppm [DukePhyto] Up to 5% [PDR]
  • ALPHA-THUJONE Plant: [DukePhyto]
  • BETA-PINENE Leaf 18 - 720 ppm [DukePhyto] Up to 23% [PDR]
  • CAMPHOR Leaf 45 - 1,780 ppm [DukePhyto] up to 20% [PDR]
  • Caryophyllene (up to 10%) [PDR]
  • CHAMAZULENE Plant 50 - 2,800 ppm [DukePhyto] (blue, 6-19%, maximum 40%). Some strains are free of chamazulene.[PDR] Yarrow contains chamazulene, among other components of its essential volatile oils.

That compound acts as an anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, and helps stop spasms (Swerdlow 2000). [Daniel F Austin]

Achillea millefolium subsp. elborsensis Yarrow Plumajillo (Alborz) - Flowers - Essential oil (chamazulene as the main constituent; 48.9 %) [Antifungal]

Aerial Part
Essential oil: Content, % on fresh wt: 0.007–0.13 [1]
Content, % on absolutely dry wt: 0.1–0.37 [2] Saponification value, mg KOH: 26.1 [1]

Inflorescences
Essential oil, % on air dry wt: 0.09–0.91 [8, 9] Lipids, % on air dry wt: 4.34 [8]

Leaf
Essential oil, % on air dry wt: 0.3 [8]
Lipids, % on air dry wt: 5.73 [8]

Stem - Lipids, % on air dry wt: 0.62 [8]

Use: Essential oil is used in cosmetic products and for treatment of injuries to the epithelium by burns and erythema [10]. Lipophilic extract has antioxidant activity [11].[LLCEOPS]

Nutritional

Yarrow – Achillea millefolium[Turner, Kuhnlein]

Part: Leaves Per 100 g fresh weight
Calcium (mg) 225 Manganese (mg) 4 Potassium (mg) 645 Water (g) 79 Zinc (mg) 0.7 Magnesium (mg) 53
Protein (g) 3.8 Iron (mg) 13.1 Copper (mg) 0.2 Fat (g) - Sodium (mg) 59 Phosphorus (mg) 76

Cultivation

"Succeeds in most soils and situations but prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position[1, 14]. Shade tolerant[13]. Plants live longer when grown in a poor soil[200] and also do well on lime[208]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[200].... Plants succeed in maritime gardens[233]. The plant has a very spreading root system and is usually quite invasive[233, K]. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c[187]. Yarrow is an excellent plant for growing in lawns, meadows, orchards etc., it is tolerant of repeated close cutting and of being walked on[20, 54]. It works to improve the soil fertility[20, 54].... Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. A good bee plant, it is an important nectar source for many insects[24]."[PFAF]

Propagation

"Seed - sow spring or early autumn in a cold frame[133]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months[133]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, the divisions can be planted direct into their permanent positions. Divisions succeed at any time of the year. Basal cuttings of new shoots in spring. Very easy, collect the shoots when they are about 10cm tall, potting them up individually in pots and keeping them in a warm but lightly shaded position. They should root within 3 weeks and will be ready to plant out in the summer."[PFAF]

YARROW - ACHILLEA

Perennial herb, strongly scented.
Leaf: [simple to] 3-pinnately dissected, basal and cauline, alternate, ± reduced distally on stem, ± hairy.
Inflorescence: heads radiate, many, small, in generally flat-topped clusters; involucre bell-shaped or ovoid; phyllaries graduated in 3–4 series, ovate, obtuse; margins membranous; receptacle flat to rounded, paleate; paleae narrow, transparent, ± folded.
Ray flower: (3)5–8; ray short, generally round, white or pink [yellow].
Disk flower: ± many; corolla short, white to purple [yellow].
Fruit: oblong to obovate, compressed, thick-margined, glabrous; pappus 0.
± 115 species: North America, Eurasia, northern Africa. (Greek: Achilles of ancient mythology) [Trock 2006 FNANM 19:492–494][Jepson]

Key to the Species and Taxonomic Notes
Two species of Achillea in BC may be confused: Achillea millefolium and A. sibirica. The third species, A. ptarmica, is distinctive, with few, larger flowerheads.

1. Leaves pinnately dissected, the divisions again dissected; plants widespread in BC......................A. millefolium
1. Leaves incised, the divisions of the latter merely toothed; plants of northeastern BC.......................A. sibirica [IFBC-E-flora]

References


Caution
The information presented on this site is provided for educational purposes. Self diagnosis and treatment, without due diligence, could be harmful and is not encouraged. Some information & images may be copyright. Every effort has been made to present the information in the spirit with which it was originally presented. Some data has been omitted for legal and/or practical consideration. There is some data not covered in the scope of this project, including, but not limited to, cell culture and large-dose animal studies. I have made comparisons and links between related species which may later prove erroneous. I have not verified the information for accuracy and I accept no responsibility for its authenticity. Many of the plants presented are poisonous, have poisonous properties, or could cause illness through misuse, allergic reaction, drug interactions and environmental contaminants. Please use caution and mindfulness when harvesting plants for any use.

Page last modified on 14-12-2016