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Traditional healers use yarrow (Achillea millefolium) in treating rheumatism, muscle pain, and wounds. This plant contains 120 chemical compounds and its antimicrobial effect is confirmed by science.

Yarrow has been a staple in folk medicine since prehistoric times. It was mainly used to treat inflammation, wounds, and as a painkiller. Later, healers have turned to yarrow to treat gynaecological and digestive-tract disorders, as well as viral and bacterial inflammations. The long list includes many organ systems and diseases related to them (Fabricant DS et al 2001).

Yarrow oil has an antimicrobial effect on several bacteria: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Clostridium perfringens, Candida albicans, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Acinetobacter woffi, and Candida krusei (Tunón H et al 1995, Candan F et al 2003).

For treating inflammations, yarrow contains flavonoids which have an effect on prostaglandins. Another anti-inflammatory compound is azuline. Human trials have shown that orally taking matricin (a compound in yarrow) increased the anti-inflammatory potential in blood (Ramadan et al 2006).

In animal trials, where yarrow was added to food, it improved the body’s immune response (Yakhkeshi S et al 2012). One potential contributor here is achillinin A, a member of the guiaianolide family of componds (Yong L et al 2011).