Additional notes (click to expand)

Commemorative

Achilles (circa 1,200 BC). Almost invulnerable Greek warrior in Homer’s Iliad (800 BC), killed in the Trojan War by an arrow in his heel, used this plant for healing wounds.
Oakeley, Dr. Henry. (2012). Doctors in the Medicinal Garden. Plants named after physicians. Royal College of Physicians. p.11 link

Medicinal

Millefolium. Yarrow... an healing herb for wounds, stauncheth bleeding; and some say the juice snuffed up the nose causeth it to bleed, whence it was called Nose-bleed; it stoppeth Lasks, and the Terms in women, helps the running of the reins [= kidneys], helps inflammations and excoriations of the Yard, as also inflammations of wounds.’
Culpeper, Nicholas. (1650). A Physical Directory . London, Peter Cole.

The hairy leaves are likely to promote blood clotting when applied to bleeding surfaces. However, they contain sesquiterpene lactones that may be allergenic and cause dermatitis; should be avoided in pregnancy (MCA, 2002).
Medicines and Health Care Regulatory Agency , MCA. (2002). Medicines and Health Care Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for restricted or prohibited herbal medicines. Medicines and Health Care Regulatory Agency . link

Traditional Herbal Medicine Registration (THMR).

Medicinal uses Uses supported by clinical data None. Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents Orally for loss of appetite, common cold, dyspeptic ailments such as mild spastic discomfort of the gastrointestinal tract, as a choleretic and for the treatment of fevers (6, 12, 16). Externally for skin inflammation and wounds (6). Externally as a sitz bath for treatment of painful, cramp-like conditions due to menstrual disorders (12). Uses described in traditional medicine Orally as an emmenagogue, eyewash, haemostat, laxative, sleep aid, stimulant tonic, and to treat baldness, prostatitis and vertigo (8, 9, 15, 17, 18). Used externally for the treatment of haemorrhoids, haematoma and burn injuries (19).
From WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Vol 4 2005, WHO Geneva

Contraindications Hypersensitivity to the plant and other Asteraceae (Compositae) (12, 40, 41). Gastric and duodenal ulcer, occlusion of the bile duct and gallbladder disease (12). Due to the traditional use of the drug as an emmenagogue, it is contraindicated during pregnancy (9).
From WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Vol 4 2005, WHO Geneva

Medicinal uses Uses supported by clinical data None.Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents Orally for loss of appetite, common cold, dyspeptic ailments such as mild spastic discomfort of the gastrointestinal tract, as a choleretic and for the treatment of fevers (6, 12, 16). Externally for skin infl ammation and wounds (6). Externally as a sitz bath for treatment of painful, cramp-like conditions due to menstrual disorders (12). Uses described in traditional medicine Orally as an emmenagogue, eyewash, haemostat, laxative, sleep aid, stimulant tonic, and to treat baldness, prostatitis and vertigo (8, 9, 15, 17, 18). Used externally for the treatment of haemorrhoids, haematoma and burn injuries (19). Contraindications Hypersensitivity to the plant and other Asteraceae (Compositae) (12, 40, 41). Gastric and duodenal ulcer, occlusion of the bile duct and gallbladder disease (12). Due to the traditional use of the drug as an emmenagogue, it is contraindicated during pregnancy (9).
WHO monographs on medicinal plants commonly used in the Newly Independent States (NIS). 2010. WHO, Geneva

Nomenclature

Soldier’s Wound wort, Achilles woundwort, Sanguinary, Millefolium, Yarrow.
Oakeley, Dr. H. F. (2013). The Gardens of the Pharmacopoeia Londinensis.

Other use

Yarrow or sneezewort, the latter because ground up it made a snuff to induce sneezing. Evergreen, herbaceous perennial. Distribution: Europe, Asia and North America. Dioscorides calls it Achilles’ woundwort, sideritis, writing that the ground-up foliage closes bleeding wounds, relieves inflammation and stops uterine bleeding. Gerard's herbal of 1633 says that put up one’s nose it causes a nosebleed and so stops migraines. Named for the Greek warrior, Achilles, who used this plant for healing wounds – having been taught its properties by his teacher, Chiron the centaur. Millefolium because of the thousands of fronds that make up the leaf, and which, when applied to a bleeding wound, facilitate coagulation by platelets.
Oakeley, Dr. Henry F. (2013). Wellcome Library notes. link

Geographical distribution

  • Asia-Temperate
  • Asia-Tropical
  • Europe
  • Northern America
  • Southern America

Achillea millefolium L.

Family: ASTERACEAE
Genus: Achillea
Species: millefolium L.
Common names: Yarrow
Pharmacopoeia Londinensis name: Millefolium
Distribution summary: Europe to W.Asia
Habit: Perennial
Hardiness: H5 - Hardy; cold winter
Habitat: Grassy sites:meadows, pastures, roadsides & gardens
Garden status: Currently grown
Garden location: Europe & Middle East (J), Pharmacopoeia Londinensis 1618 'Leaves' (HSE 5), Plane tree bed (P)
Reason for growing: Commemorative, medicinal, traditional herbal registration


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