Blue yarrow is an amazing natural remedy with a rich and broad history of use for innumerable medical conditions. The scientific name for yarrow, “Achillea”, dates all the way back to the Trojan war (around 1200 B.C) when the war hero Achilles is said to have used it as a clotting agent to stop the bleeding of his fellow soldiers.1 Knowledge of the usage of the plant dates it even further back than that, having been found in the grave of a Neanderthal at Shanidar (from ~65,000 years ago).2
The Greek physician Dioscorides described the plant as having medical uses for stopping bleeding, reducing inflammation, and to treat dysentery.2 Roman author Pliny the Elder also mentioned it as improving the “looseness of bowels”.2 Old English medical texts recommended yarrow for treating wounds, intestinal pain, heartburn, lung disease, toothache, headache, and even to treat snake and dog bites.2 It has been used to treat snakebites in China as well, along with hemorrhoids, varicose veins, dysmenorrhea, and tuberculosis.2
Use of yarrow has also been recorded on the other side of the world. Authoritative documentation has reported 377 medical uses for yarrow amongst at least 76 different Native American tribes. These uses include: wounds, bruises, skin damage, colds, fever, sore throat, and digestive problems. The Zuni even had a special ceremonial society, called the Yayat, who would cleanse themselves in the cooling juice and chew the blossoms of the yarrow before juggling fire.2
Research confirms that Blue Yarrow is nontoxic and safe for therapeutic use.13 It is advised to always test a small amount of oil before engaging in more liberal application. If pregnant or breast-feeding, consult a physician prior to use.
1 Chandler, R. F., et al. “Ethnobotany and Phytochemistry of Yarrow,Achillea Millefolium, Compositae.” Economic Botany, vol. 36, no. 2, 1982, pp. 203–223., doi:10.1007/bf02858720.
2 Applequist, Wendy L., and Daniel E. Moerman. “Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium L.): A Neglected Panacea? A Review of Ethnobotany, Bioactivity, and Biomedical Research1.” Economic Botany, vol. 65, no. 2, June 2011, pp. 209–225., doi:10.1007/s12231-011-9154-3.
3 Lis-Balchin, Maria. Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, 2006.
4 Damian, Peter, and Kate Damian. Aromatherapy: Scent and Psyche. Inner Traditions/Bear & Co, 1995.
5 Benedek, Birgit, and Brigitte Kopp. “Achillea Millefolium L. S.l. Revisited: Recent Findings Confirm the Traditional Use.” Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift, vol. 157, no. 13-14, 2007, pp. 312–314., doi:10.1007/s10354-007-0431-9.
6 Benedek, Birgit, et al. “Achillea Millefolium L. S.l. -- Is the Anti-Inflammatory Activity Mediated by Protease Inhibition?” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 113, no. 2, 2007, pp. 312–317., doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.06.014.
7 Cavalcanti, Ana Maria, et al. “Safety and Antiulcer Efficacy Studies of Achillea Millefolium L. after Chronic Treatment in Wistar Rats.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 107, no. 2, 2006, pp. 277–284., doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.03.011.
8 Potrich, Francine Bittencourt, et al. “Antiulcerogenic Activity of Hydroalcoholic Extract of Achillea Millefolium L.: Involvement of the Antioxidant System.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 130, no. 1, 2010, pp. 85–92., doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.04.014.
9 Csupor-Löffler, Boglárka, et al. “Antiproliferative Effect of Flavonoids and Sesquiterpenoids FromAchillea Millefoliums.l. on Cultured Human Tumour Cell Lines.”Phytotherapy Research, vol. 23, no. 5, 2009, pp. 672–676., doi:10.1002/ptr.2697.
10 Tozyo, Takehiko, et al. “Novel Antitumor Sesquiterpenoids in Achillea Millefolium.” Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, vol. 42, no. 5, 1994, pp. 1096–1100., doi:10.1248/cpb.42.1096.
11 Yaeesh, Sheikh, et al. “Studies on Hepatoprotective, Antispasmodic and Calcium Antagonist Activities of the Aqueous-Methanol Extract of Achillea Millefolium.” Phytotherapy Research, vol. 20, no. 7, 2006, pp. 546–551., doi:10.1002/ptr.1897.
12 Benedek, B., et al. “Choleretic Effects of Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium S.l.) in the Isolated Perfused Rat Liver.” Phytomedicine, vol. 13, no. 9-10, 2006, pp. 702–706., doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2005.10.005.
13 Teixeira, Rosangela De Oliveira, et al. “Assessment of Two Medicinal Plants, Psidium Guajava L. and Achillea Millefolium L., in in Vitro and in Vivo Assays.” Genetics and Molecular Biology, vol. 26, no. 4, 2003, pp. 551–555., doi:10.1590/s1415-47572003000400021.