Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – May help with female hormonal imbalances
Yarrow – Constituents and Properties
Yarrow is an aromatic, bitter tonic with carminative (relieves gas) and antispasmodic activity. It improves digestion and assimilation.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.) is a low-growing perennial stoloniferous herb. Yarrow produces small white flowers in clusters atop a three foot stem. It is commonly found in the temperate regions of the world as a native or a cultivated plant or weed.
Yarrow contains 123 constituents with known pharmacological activity. A short list of constituents includes volatile oils, resin, flavonoids, bitters, coumarins, alkaloids, asparagin, tannins, aconitic and isovalerianic acids, ß-sitosterol, stigmasterol, tricin, selenium, and beta-carotene. The volatile oil content of the leaf varies with the environment in which it is grown.
Yarrow is indicated for wound healing, circulatory problems (particularly problems with venous circulation), digestive problems, fever, and menstrual irregularities. Yarrow has styptic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and vulnerary properties which aid in wound healing. It also works as a peripheral vasodilator and diaphoretic. Yarrow is particularly beneficial for venous stasis, even if the condition is not producing symptoms. The peripheral vasodilatory action is effective for people with chronically cold feet.
The diaphoretic (perspiration inducing) activity of yarrow makes it a useful remedy for colds and fever, if taken at the onset of symptoms. He also recommends a tea of yarrow, peppermint (Mentha piperita L.), and elderflowers (Sambucus nigra L.) to diminish the symptoms of hayfever; it should be taken regularly for two months prior to the season. The author recommends yarrow as an adjunct in the treatment of and eczema because of its diaphoretic activity.
Yarrow has a weak diuretic effect, and some herbalists recommend its use for hematuria (blood in the urine) and dysuria (painful urination). The author credits the diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and circulatory activities of yarrow as being beneficial in the treatment of arthritis.
Yarrow, the menstrual regulator
Herbalists recommend yarrow as a menstrual regulator. ‘It clears pelvic congestion, reducing uterine flooding and pain due to engorged pelvic veins.’ Its action as a uterine stimulant and antispasmodic is helpful for relieving painful and retarded menstruation. The author recommends yarrow as a douche for leukorrhea (an excessive white vaginal discharge) and cervical erosion. It is also used in the treatment of uterine hemorrhage and dysfunctional bleeding. He credits yarrow as an aid in the treatment of prostatitis and early benign prostatic hyperplasia, based on ‘clinical experience.’ No references are cited for this claim.
The above ground parts of the plant are harvested when the flower is in full bloom. Some herbalists recommend the fresh plant and fresh plant extracts. The dried herb is used most frequently in infusions and tinctures. The author says the dried herb has ‘more consistent anti-inflammatory and circulatory activity.’ Some practitioners use the flowers or roots.
Yarrow – Traditional Uses
Traditional uses of Yarrow include digestive problems, liver and gall-bladder conditions, menstrual irregularities, cramps, fever, and wound healing. Externally it is used in the form of sitz bath or as a compress against skin inflammation, slow healing wounds, bacterial or fungal infections.
Abbe Kneipp says in his writings: “Women could be spared many troubles, if they just took Yarrow tea from time to time!” Be it a young girl with irregular menstruation or an older woman during menopause or already past it, for everyone young and old, it is of importance to drink a cup of Yarrow tea from time to time. It is beneficial for the reproductive organs of women and they cannot do a better thing for their health than, while walking through the fields, pick some Yarrow.
Yarrow is also an excellent first aid for wasp and bee stings. As soon as possible after being stung find some fresh Yarrow leaves and chew a small handful; place the chewed pulp directly on the sting, swallowing the bitter juice left in your mouth. The poultice removes the pain while the swallowed juice acts as anti-histamine. When the sting begins to hurt again, repeat the process. Most often swelling won’t accompany the sting if treatment is applied quickly.
Since Yarrow contains several anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving constituents, such as azulene and salicylic acid it is very effective in the treatment of wounds. Yarrow Antiseptic Salve makes an excellent dressing for all types of wounds.
A Personal Story
In the past, about ten years ago, I had gynecological problems: I haven’t had my period for a year, because the contraceptive pill turned over the hormone balance in my body. First I went to the gynecologist and she prescribed me some hormone pills. My period returned but I was a little worried, because this did not occur the natural way.
After about a year I got a book from one of my friends’ mother. It was Maria Treben’s Health from God’s Pharmacy. I found the description of my symptoms in the book pretty fast. According to the writing the best choice of treatment was Yarrow. This is a very useful medicinal plant for almost every problem with the female reproductive system.
I started drinking a cup of Yarrow tea every morning for six weeks. After the 6th week I was having my period again without the help of the hormone pills but with the help of this potent medicinal plant.
I have been drinking a cup of Yarrow tea on a regular basis ever since. Therefore, based on my personal experiences I think Yarrow should be one of the first herbal remedies chosen to treat imbalances in the hormonal cycle of the female reproductive system.
How to use Yarrow – Dose & Preparation
Recommended tincture preparations are 1:5 for dried plant and 1:4 for the fresh herb in 25 percent alcohol. This should be taken in two to five ml doses, three times a day, for most problems. For herbal tea, thirty grams of dried herb or 60 grams of fresh herb may be infused in 500 ml of water for five to ten minutes. Three cups a day is a standard dose for chronic conditions and one cup every two hours for acute conditions.
Yarrow Skin Toner
2 cups fresh Yarrow Flowers
2 cups water
1 cup alcohol-free Witch Hazel
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Put Yarrow and water in saucepan and bring to boiling. Cover with tight fitting lid and remove from heat. After liquid has cooled, strain through cheesecloth or coffee filter, squeezing as much liquid as possible from the Yarrow. Add remaining ingredients and store in the refrigerator in dark bottles. Shake well before using. Apply Toner with cotton balls.
Yarrow Antiseptic Salve
Macerate 2 cups fresh Yarrow leaves and flowers and 1 cup fresh Gumweed flowers. Add 3 cups of olive oil and continue to macerate until well mixed. Place mixture into a quart jar and allow mixture to stand, lightly covered, for two weeks. After two weeks, heat jar in a pan of simmering water, then pour mixture through a coffee filter. To the filtered oil add ½ to ¾ ounce (depending on desired consistency) beeswax, and heat oil until wax has melted. Pour into salve jars and allow mixture to cool before applying lids.
2 cups fresh Yarrow leaves and flowers
2 cups distilled or rain water
3 tbsp. grated homemade soap
1½ tbsp. glycerin
In saucepan bring water to boiling. Add the Yarrow and allow the mixture to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid from the herb, squeezing out as much liquid as possible from the Yarrow. Return Yarrow infusion to pan and add the grated soap. Heat gently until soap begins to melt. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to stand until all the soap has dissolved. This could take an hour or longer. Stir in glycerin until mixture is well blended. Pour into a bottle. Keep in a cool place.