Milfoil is an erect perennial herb growing to a height of 50 to 90 centimeters. Leaves are without stalks, 1- to 2-pinnately parted into linear-toothed segments. Heads occur in flat-topped corymbs. Flowers are white, red, or purplish, with five rays.
- Occurs in Baguio and the Mountain Province as an ornamental, cultivated for its flowers and foliage.
- Also found in the Western Himalayas, extending to Northern Asia, Europe and America.
• Contains a bitter glucoside – achilleine, tannin, bluish volatile oil, aconitic acid, resin, nitrate, inuline, asparagin.
• Contains a volatile oil rich in sesquiterpene lactones and alkamides.
• Volatile oil is the best source of the blue hydrocarbon, azulene, with a great percentage of borneol and thujone.
• Roots contain volatile oil, 0.032%.
• Yields three alkaloids: achilleine, achilletine and moscatine.
• Oil has yielded eucalyptol, camphor, alpha-terpineol, beta-pinene and borneol as principal components.
• Analysis of essential oil identified 33 peaks, representing 81.4 % of the oil. The main compounds were 1,8-cineole (22%), camphor (21%), borneol (7.6%) and b-pinene (5.3%).
• Study of oil yielded: methyl alcohol, formaldehyde, probably formic acid, ethyl alcohol, acetone, furfurol, valeric acid, eugenol, pinene, nopinene, cineol, thujone, borneol, camphor, caryophyllen, and azulen.
• The volatile oil is considered a good source of blue hydrocarbon, azulene, and contains a good percentage of borneol and thujone.
• Flowering plant and flowers considered stimulant, aromatic, sudorific, tonic, astringent, diuretic, vulnerary.
• Considered anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial.
• Used for colds, fevers, obstructed perspiration.
• Use to open the pores in obstructed perspiration and as blood purifier.
• Used for hysteria, flatulence, heartburn, colic and epilepsy.
• In England, used as vulnerary, taken internally to suppress hemorrhages and profuse mucoid discharges.
• Used for intermittent fevers and as antispasmodic in flatulent colic and nervous affections.
• In France, hot infusion used as emmenagogue and for suppression of lochia; sometimes used in low exanthematous fevers with obstinate eruptions.
• Ointment of the fresh plant used by the Scottish Highlanders for hemorrhoids.
• Decoction of whole herb used for bleeding hemorrhoids and kidney disorders.
• Used as hair wash for prevention of baldness.
• An whole plant tincture made with wine, in diluted strength, used in small doses for arresting bleeding in the lungs, kidneys and nose.
• Leaves believed to encourage clotting; used fresh for nosebleeds. Also, a strong decoction of leaves used as injection into the nostrils to stop bleeding.
• Fresh juice of the plant used to improve appetite.
• Fresh juice used as astringent for piles, varicose ulcers and sore nipples.
• Fresh bruised herb used as vulnerary and styptic.
• In Norway, used for rheumatism; leaves chewed for toothaches.
• In Scotland, fresh leaves used for colds and various childhood ailments.
• In France, powdered leaves used as sternutatory; rolled leaf applied to nostrils to induce bleeding and relieve headaches.
• In California, leaves steeped in hot water are applied to cuts and bruises; also used for poulticing skin rashes.
• Essential oil from the flowers used to stimulate the appetite.
• Leaves chewed for toothaches; infusion used as drops to fill ear canals for earaches.
• In Sweden and some parts of Africa, plant has been used in making beer; Linnaeus considered milfoil brewed beer to more intoxicating than hops-beer.
• In the middle ages, yarrow was an ingredient of the herbal mixture called grut, used in the flavoring of beer prior to the use of hops.
Study showed the antiulcer potential of the aerial parts of Achillea millefolium, with no signs of toxicity even at chronic exposure.
(1) Study has shown the oil to have antimicrobial activity against S pneumoniae, C perfringens, C albicans, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Candida krusei. (2) Study showed the alcoholic extract of yarrow has considerable antimicrobial effect on control and wound pathogen microorganisms. The antibacterial effect was lesser than Ampicillin and greater or similar to other penicillin derivatives.
• Essential Oils / Chamazulene:
Essential oils isolated from 20 different plants of A millefolium were: chamazulene, germacrene, ß-thujone, a-thujone, sabinene, ß-pinene among others. The plants of A millefolium which produced the highest content of chamazulene was propagated by rhizome for further production of oils rich in blue pigment.
Study has yielded three sesquiterpenoids, achimillic acids A, B and C which showed antitumor activities. Compounds were active against P-388 leukemia cells in vivo.n
• Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Treatment:
Study results suggest that Achillea millefolium, Thymus vulgaris and propolis extracts are effective in the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniansis in mice, alone or in combination.
• Choleretic Effects:
In the study, a fraction enriched in dicaffeoylquinic acids and luteolin-7-O-[beta]-D-glucoronide prepared from methanolic extract of yarrow was investigated for its choleretic effect. Results showed a dose-dependent increase in bile flow in the isolated perfused rat liver.
• Antimotility Effect:
Study showed A millefolium extract inhibited electrical-induced contractions of the guinea-pig ileum when tested in vitro in a dose-dependent and reversible effect.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant:
Study confirms the antiphlogistic activity of A. millefolium aqueous extract. The anti-inflammatory effects were partially mediated by the suppression of the activation of transcription factor NF0kB and p38 MAPK signaling cascade. It also showed good free radical scavenging activity and an ability to decrease the levels of intracellular ROS.
A study evaluated the anti-epimastigote activity of varied fractions of four medicinal plants, including A millefolium, against the epimastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent causing Chagas disease. Results revealed that Achillea and Satureja species could be a source of active trypanocidal compounds.
• Antinociceptive Effect / Anti-Inflammatory / Antispasmodic / Rutin:
A study of the hydroalcoholic extracts of A. millefolim and A vulgaris confirmed their folkloric use as analgesic, antiinflammatory and antispasmodic agents. Both showed rutin as the principal flavonoid glycoside constituent.
• Cutaneous Leishmaniasis: Study showed extracts of Thymus vulgaris, Achillea millefolium and propolis are effective for treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis in mice. Randomized clinical trials are suggested in humans.