Achillea millefolium

Achillea millefolium

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.) is a plant of the family Asteraceae, herbaceous, perennial and aromatic with branched creeping rhizome and straight trunk and at the top of corimbi bring different flower heads of white o rosati fragrant flowers. The appearance is densely caespitose especially given the typical leaves (very jagged in depth) of this species.

Systematic –
According to the classification of Cronquist the Achillea millefolium belongs to the Domain Eukaryota, the Kingdom Plantae, the Division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, Subclass Asteridae, Order Asterales Family Asteraceae, subfamily Asteroideae Tribe anthemideae, Subtribe Achilleinae, Genus Achillea species A. millefolium.
The Yarrow (Achillea or) is a very common plant in polymorphic character, and thus considered by botanists “difficult to classify.” One of the most extensive studies leading to the definition of two subspecies with 11 varieties. Other attempts (perhaps with better results) were done by cytogenetics, the results of which, however, must await further study for this particular plant.
All this diversity in the plant is the result of an evolutionary process by which diploid species well defined and separated enough, with successive and continuous hybridizations were produced models tetra- and hexaploid increasingly erratic and with intermediate characters always less distinguishable. From the point of view cytogenetic the most common variant is defined hexaploid (2n = 54).
Below you are given a list of different varieties and subspecies of the plant on the globe with the respective diffusion zones on the basis of a study of this plant:
Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. millefolium – Europe, Asia;
Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. alpicola – Rocky Mountains;
Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. borealis – Arctic regions;
Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. californica – California;
Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. occidentalis – North America;
Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. peaceful – Pacific Coast of North America;
Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. puberula – California;
Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. rubra – Appalachian Mountains South;
Achillea millefolium subsp. chitralensis – Western Himalayas;
Achillea millefolium subsp. sudetica – Alps, Carpathians.

Etymology –
The traditional (handed down by Pliny) wants Achilles healed some wounds of his comrades in arms, the siege of Troy, with the plant; hence the name of the genre. It seems that it was Chiron (his teacher) to inform him of the healing capacity of the plant. The final name of the plant, however, was given by Linnaeus. The species name (milfoil) results for its deeply indented leaves; In fact, the epithet refers to the numerous foliar laciniae that characterize this plant.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Achillea millefolium is native to Europe; It grows in temperate regions around the world up to 2500 meters. Prefers sunny places, meadows, edges of paths and railways; It prefers dry soils, stony and acids.
Common species especially in northern Italy. In the Alps-Apennines prefer the mountain cliffs or damp pastures. Do not suffer drought or cold, but avoid too wet environments. And ‘an undemanding plant. It is a perennial resistant and difficult to eliminate in the meadows and, if it is mown, regrows more luxuriant than before. It has no need to be. It is considered a weed but it is more prolific than competitive, and does not affect the neighboring plants.
Present in Italy in the following regions: Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria , Sicily, Sardinia.

Description –
L ‘Achillea millefolium is a perennial herbaceous plant, has its roots in the rhizome, has a hairy stem, simple or branched, leafy, ascending which can reach up to 80 cm in height.
The hairy leaves have contour lanceolate and linear, have a provision alternates and show a slight camphor aroma; basal ones are normally petiolate; while cauline leaves are sessile.
The flowers are white or pink, whitish achenes. It tastes sour, bitter and collected in corymbs dense flower heads more or less wide. The fruits are achenes

Cultivation –
It is a herbaceous cultivation simple, but extremely gracious and helpful. It is almost never a star, but a second lead, however, imperative to make harmonious and interesting across a border, thanks to the wide range of colors, its feathery leaves and a slight gait.
In the UK, home of the mixed border, has always been held in high regard. Lately they are spreading more and more in our country because they combine a long flowering very limited cultural practices. In addition, in particular some species, are particularly suitable for dry and poor soils and are not afraid of the drought. This features make it valuable for green spaces with low environmental impact.
Generally, yarrow prefer sunny locations, developing without problems even in semiombreggiati places, provided they receive at least 4-5 hours of direct sun each day. They do not fear the cold.
Why flourish well, with continuity and will not incur any radical asphyxia is important that they be placed in full sun. They are generally sufficient 6 hours of sun a day to get good results.
You satisfied with the rains and can easily withstand even prolonged periods of drought; however, it is advisable to water the young plants recently ordered to stay, especially during hot periods and drought.
The well-stamped plants generally do not need intervention, it is even better to leave some dry as one of the few causes of death is the root rot.
Cultivation is quite simple. We just have to respect the needs of each individual species.
The cultivation soil must be well drained, even rocky or sandy, so that water flows easily and does not stagnate damaging the roots.
Generally they prefer dry and poor soil, even sandy or slightly chalky. An indispensable condition to see them prosper and live long is to prepare an excellent drainage. If our soil is too clayey and compact work it will be good in the long inglobandovi a good amount of coarse river sand.
Some species grow well on stony ground or between the gravel and fit so beautifully the rock garden.
Some varieties (especially green leafy like filipendulina) instead prefer slightly heavier and cool soils. We still refer to the more detailed guidance.
Multiplication is by seed in late summer or in late winter in seedbeds. The young plants are placed at home when they are at least 20-30 cm high. He suffers the attack of aphids and mites. The yarrow is especially sensitive to mildew.
If there are any of the dusty white spots on the leaves will be good to cut the plant at ground level to stimulate the birth of new healthy. We prevent avoiding wetting during irrigation and ensuring a good air circulation.
Other possible enemies are the aphids. It their presence known because they cause foliar frills or on new jets. In the case of severe attacks we use based on natural pyrethrin insecticides.
The yarrow are all very hardy and some may even be also grown at an altitude of 1500 meters.
If we want to preserve it the best we can mulch the area with leaves or straw, especially those who live in cold areas and we place the seedlings planted in the autumn months.
As a rule, they prefer poor soils. But if we want to fertilize them we can deploy in early spring a very small amount of organic fertilizer for flowering plants.
The planting can be done in spring or autumn. The first option is preferable for those who live in areas with temperate winters rather: the arrival of summer the plants will be already quite autonomous and will be a better vegetative growth, is an abundant flowering.
Where winters are rather rigid it is good to go at the end of February.
However, generally, the perennial jars are put on sale at the beginning of vegetative growth and, consequently, for many there is no choice.
To have a full beautiful effect is good to plant 4 to 6 individuals per square meter.
For cultural practices must take into account that it is not very demanding herbaceous. There we will have to limit the removal of faded flowers so that the plant is stimulated to produce others: in this way we will avoid too excessive autodisseminazione that, at times, makes invasive (especially millefolium).
At the end of winter you will have to remove all the dry to stimulate the production of new leaves and stems.
The division should take place around March, usually every 3-5 years, when the heads are positioned too compact or threaten to invade spaces dedicated to other species.
Its essential oils repel certain insects and will attract others, and this is useful in selective biodiversity budget of vegetation strips where the plant resides. The sudden removal of the plant may have negative effects on biotic communities.

Customs and Traditions –
Given its similarity to some properties of Chamomile also Achillea millefolium is indicated in the treatment of pain and heartburn. Due to its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory capabilities it can also be used for the health of the digestive tract.
Other possible indications for Achillea millefolium is the treatment of menstrual pain caused by dysmenorrhea, hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Always for internal use this plant is effective in the treatment of phlebitis and varicose veins.
The Achilles millefolium also favors the resumption of bloodshot eyes and congested, the treatment of rheumatic pain and accelerates wound healing of wounds.
Also for outdoor use it is useful for its firming action, astringent, antiseborrheic and soothing. It can be used against so dry and chapped skin, breast fissures, acne and sores.
The Achillea millefolium is a herbaceous plant that grows wild throughout Italy mainly in grassland areas. According to an ancient tradition, Achilles was to discover the healing properties of this plant.
In fact, he used it for treatment of numerous injuries after each battle. In folk medicine, yarrow was used as a tonic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, astringent, healing and against hemorragies mesturali. Nowadays the Achillea is mainly used for its antispasmodic, hypotensive, antipyretic and hemostatic but its consumption is also extended to soothe the female genital disorders, due to irregular menstrual flows, and digestives. Yarrow is also indicated in cases of amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea; metrorrhagia, dyspepsia and gastrointestinal spasms of the digestive tract and uterine. The yarrow extracts can be used while swimming for their calming effects and soothing the skin and mucous membranes. The essential oil is used in preparations for creams and shampoos.
In Pharmacopoeia it was discovered that the active ingredients present in the plant are: essential oil (consisting of terpene compounds such as cineol, pinene, thujone, borneol etc.), azulene, achilleine, valeric acid.
In cosmetics, it is used in the form with distilled water and for the presence of azulene is used the same way as the chamomile.
With Achillea also they prepare excellent tonic and digestive liqueurs.
The seeds are enclosed in a cotton bag and put into barrels to improve the storage of wine.
All yarrow plants are aromatically bitter but not poisonous. The plants of this kind are also used to beautify gardens with the formation of borders and flower beds.
In Ireland, the plant was worked to banish the evil eye, illnesses and beauty care; a song Gaelic reads “pluck green Achillea so that my figure will be more and more full, my sweetest voice, my lips as the strawberry juice. Ferirò every man, but no man can hurt me” The song summed up the properties recognized this plant.
Often used in herbal remedies and homeopathic solutions; flowers and leaves are the parts most commonly used, rich in flavonoid polyphenols.
In addition to the recruitment phytotherapeutic criteria can alternatively exploit the healing properties dell’Achillea millefolium following homeopathic dictates. For those who choose the homeopathic treatment, in the case of varicose veins it is shown the intake of 10-15 drops of 2D solution every 3 hours, with the times of administration which will be dilated in a progressive manner to improve the symptoms.
Against gastric upset the overall guideline is to take 10 drops in solution 6CH every 3 hours, while for bloodshot eyes and congested it will take 10 drops to 4CH to 6 times a day. To improve the symptoms dilate the administration times as above.
However, in any case advisable to consult with your homeopath, as well as evaluate with the use of the most appropriate remedy and the possibility to choose an alternative homeopathic solution. Your contact will also recommend the best treatments for other diseases not specifically mentioned here.
There are some possible contraindications regarding the use of Achillea Milleforium, mostly related to the pharmacological field. possible interactions are signaled with anticoagulant drugs and for the control of blood pressure: in the case of intake is not recommended for use.
Other possible adverse reactions may be related, because of a possible specific hypersensitivity, the presence of sesquiterpene lactones and traces of thujone.
It could be confused with Achillea hill (Becker ex Rchb. F.) Heimerl but is sparsely hairy, smaller heads, the leaves with laciniae narrow and minors (1.5 mm) with sides parallel and contour ± denser linear segments.

Preparation Mode –
The achillea millefolium is collected by always for joining of decoctions, infusions or even for distillation. The aroma and flavor are very sweet and delicate, quite similar to those of chamomile.
They collect it leaves both the inflorescences.
It is the most commonly sought for medicinal purposes. To obtain the active ingredient, the achilleine, they collect the aerial parts and are dried in the sun. It is then used to cure problems related to blood circulation, because it acts as an antispasmodic of the vascular system, and affect the digestive function of the liver.
They are in any case also used quite frequently yarrow ptamica and moschata.
The first can be consumed even raw, mixed all’insalata, which confers a particular spicy flavor.
The second, reduced powder is used to obtain effective herbal teas against respiratory disorders.
Note is the mother tincture of yarrow. The flowers and leaves of yarrow millefolium contain essential oil (azulene, chamazulene, ß-pinene, caryophyllene), flavonoids, organic acids (caffeic acid and salicylic acid), hydrolyzed tannins, sterols, lactones, coumarins. These active ingredients give the plant astringent properties, anti-inflammatory and hemostatic.
For internal use, the mother tincture of yarrow is used to stop bleeding, and various bleeding problems due to gingivitis, abundant menstruation or hemorrhoids.
The hydroalcoholic solution of this plant is also used as an antispasmodic remedy, as it helps to relax the smooth muscle, in the presence of menstrual cramps, colitis associated with abdominal cramps; while for stomachic properties, it is used to improve the digestive and hepatic function.
Moreover, the presence of flavonoids (in particular the Vitexin) gives the plant a balancing action of the female hormone system, useful for all those symptoms associated with premenstrual phase, associated with nervousness, irritability, mood swings, weakness.
The mother tincture of yarrow can also be used for outdoor use to gradually lighten dark spots on the skin due to an altered metabolism of melanocytes.
It is thought that this lightening property is conferred to the plant by cyanogenic glycosides and flavonoids that actively participate as hydrogen transporters, redox processes, mainly in respect of tyrosine.
Let’s see how to prepare the mother tincture of yarrow.
The “drug” (used part) corresponds to the leaves and flowers, also known as flowering tops, collected from June to September. You use the fresh plant, dry since lost most of its properties.
The mother tincture of yarrow is prepared with a weight ratio drug: 1:10 solvent and 45% alcohol vol.
The mother tinctures not have contraindications if not those of the same plant, diluted in a little water may be administered at all. The alcohol contained in them is so diluted, so that it is harmless. It should not be used in case of allergies, the presence of sesquiterpene lactones.
It should not be taken by children for the presence of thujone. It can interfere with anticoagulant drugs and those for the control of blood pressure.
For internal use: 30-50 drops diluted in half cup water, 2-3 times a day, after meals. The maximum recommended daily dose is 120 drops.
For external use: impregnate a gauze and moisten the skin where there are brown spots, twice a day.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, tips and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Please note: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgici uses are indicated for information purposes only, do not represent in any way a medical prescription; it accepts no liability on their use for therapeutic purposes, cosmetic or food.




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