Yarrow - Achillea millefolium
The scientific name of this plant is “Achillea Millefolium” and it belongs to the Composite family.
It is an extremely famous rustic perennial herbaceous plant, nicknamed "yarrow" due to its long fringed leaves, which have the characteristic of detaching directly from the stem (unbranched), while during the summer season flowers of large size develop particularly reduced that denote an acrid perfume.
The name of this genus of plants was chosen by Linnaeus and it is said that it derives from the legend that Achilles had used the yarrow during the siege of the city of Troy (at least this is what is contained in Pliny's story) in order to cure different wounds that gripped his brave soldiers, after being informed by Chiron of the beneficial properties of this particular plant.
In addition, the stems of the yarrow have long been considered sacred: for this reason, in China, they were exploited for consulting the book of changes.
In fact, the stalks of the yarrow were thrown into the air by special attendants: according to their arrangement when they touched the ground, the ancient Chinese dynasties interpreted the response.
In most cases, the achilles prefer sunny positions, but they also spread in semi-shaded places, as long as they can get at least 4-5 hours of direct sun a day; in any case, these are plants with good resistance to cold.
The achilles can endure even entire weeks without rain: the advice is, however, to water the young plants that have been planted for a short time, especially during the hottest and driest periods.
In spring, usually, a little slow release granular fertilizer for flowering plants is used at the foot of the bushes.
The soil in which the achilles are grown must have good drainage, but it can also be sandy or stony: in any case, the water must flow easily and the formation of stagnations which can damage the roots must be absolutely avoided.
Achilles plants cannot withstand the attack of aphids and mites, while their multiplication takes place by seed, in the final part of the summer season or at the end of winter in a seedbed.
Younger yarrow plants are successful and must be planted when they reach a height of at least twenty or thirty centimeters.
Ownership and use
Among the main properties of yarrow we find the medicinal one. In fact, the 5% infusion is particularly useful for the treatment of stomach pain, both acute and chronic, but it could also be important in dyspepsia with fermentation, as well as in states of general atony, in which stimulants are imposed.
The advice is to take two or three cups a day before meals (it is important that the infusion must be prepared in somewhat reduced doses due to its rapid blackening which coincides with the disappearance of the aroma).
As for the hemostatic use of yarrow, it is important to emphasize that it is used as a topical in all those cases of hemorrhoids, on which it carries out an astringent and direct action on the blood vessels and nerves of the rectum.
On these occasions, the advice is to use the fresh juice of the crushed plant, or (when you cannot use the decoction of the 5% dry plants.
Yarrow can also be very useful in all those cases of hemoptysis.
The main beneficial properties of yarrow are used for the treatment of female genital disorders, against digestive disorders and circulation problems.
The yarrow is used above all in those problems that refer to the menstrual cycle, especially in cases of moderate menorrhagia: here, the action is essentially at the level of circulation inside the uterus, given that thanks to its antispasmodic properties , allows to reduce pain and the return of menstrual flow in cases of amenorrhea.
It is a plant that contains azulene and, for this reason, is able to relax the smooth muscles of the digestive system, stimulate appetite and help improve digestion.
Yarrow is capable of creating contact dermatitis and even allergy problems, despite being generally tolerated; moreover, this plant has contraindications as regards cases of breastfeeding and pregnancy, as well as in all those situations in which the person suffers from allergy to Asteraceae.
The pharmaceutical forms mainly used are those of infusion, decoction, powder, fresh plant juice, while the essential oil is able to soothe rheumatic pains and neuralgia.