Economic Botany

, 65:209 | Cite as

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.): A Neglected Panacea? A Review of Ethnobotany, Bioactivity, and Biomedical Research1

Review

Abstract

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.): A Neglected Panacea? A Review of Ethnobotany, Bioactivity, and Biomedical Research. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.) 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. Animal studies have also shown that yarrow is generally safe and well tolerated. The claim that yarrow has been shown to be specifically contraindicated during pregnancy is based on a single low-quality rat study the results of which were incorrectly interpreted. The combination of human use data from multiple cultures, independently reporting similar activities for yarrow, and the discovery of potentially relevant bioactivities by in vitro and animal studies represent meaningful evidence of the plant’s efficacy. We therefore argue that human clinical trials should be funded and conducted.

Key Words

Achillea millefolium ethnobotany medicinal plants toxicology yarrow 

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© The New York Botanical Garden 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Missouri Botanical GardenSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.University of Michigan–DearbornYpsilantiUSA

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