Sunday, January 15, 2012

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Health Benefits and Side Effects

Yarrow is a flowering plant in the genus Achillea, belonging to the family Asteraceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. The herb has been used in traditional medicine as astringent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, antispasmodics agent to promote healing of cuts and wounds, burns and ulcers, skin diseases, digestive disorders, treat menstrual irregularity, relieve menstrual cramps and pain, etc.

Health benefits
1. Hyperactive cardiovascular and airway disorders
In the investigation of the crude extract of Achillea millefolium (Am.Cr) and its hypotensive, cardio-depressant, vasodilatory and bronchodilatory activities, found that Achillea millefolium exhibits hypotensive, cardiovascular inhibitory and bronchodilatory effects, thus explaining its medicinal use in hyperactive cardiovascular and airway disorders, such as hypertension and asthma, according to "Blood pressure lowering, cardiovascular inhibitory and bronchodilatory actions of Achillea millefolium" by Khan AU, Gilani AH.(1)

2. Gastroprotective effect
In the evaluation of the efficacy of a hydroalcoholic extract from the Achillea millefolium (HE) for gastroprotective properties and additional mechanism(s) involved in this activity, found that Oral administration of HE (30, 100 and 300mg/kg) inhibited ethanol-induced gastric lesions by 35, 56 and 81%, respectively. Oral treatment with HE (1 and 10mg/kg) reduced the chronic gastric ulcers induced by acetic acid by 43 and 65%, respectively, and promoted significant regeneration of the gastric mucosa after ulcer induction denoting increased cell proliferation, which was confirmed by PCNA immunohistochemistry. HE treatment prevented the reduction of GSH levels and SOD activity after acetic acid-induced gastric lesions. In addition, HE (10mg/kg) inhibited the MPO activity in acetic acid-induced gastric ulcers, according to "Antiulcerogenic activity of hydroalcoholic extract of Achillea millefolium L.: involvement of the antioxidant system" by Potrich FB, Allemand A, da Silva LM, Dos Santos AC, Baggio CH, Freitas CS, Mendes DA, Andre E, Werner MF, Marques MC.(2)

3. Anxiolytic-like effects
In the evaluation of the potential anxiolytic-like effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Achillea millefolium L. in animal models, found that The results indicate that the orally administered hydroalcoholic extract of Achillea millefolium L. exerted anxiolytic-like effects that likely were not mediated by GABA(A)/BDZ neurotransmission and did not present tolerance after short-term, repeated administration, according to "Anxiolytic-like effects of acute and chronic treatment with Achillea millefolium L. extract" by Baretta IP, Felizardo RA, Bimbato VF, Santos MG, Kassuya CA, Gasparotto Junior A, da Silva CR, de Oliveira SM, Ferreira J, Andreatini R.(3)

4. Prokinetic effect
In the investigaion of the effect of a standardized dry water extract obtained from A. millefolium flowering tops (AME) on gastric motility, found that (i) AME exerts a direct spasmogenic effect on gastric antrum; (ii) choline is the chemical ingredient responsible of such effect; (iii) the prokinetic effect of AME observed in vivo could provide the pharmacological basis underlying its traditional use in the treatment of dyspepsia, according to "Prokinetic effect of a standardized yarrow (Achillea millefolium) extract and its constituent choline: studies in the mouse and human stomach" by Borrelli F, Romano B, Fasolino I, Tagliatatela-Scafati O, Aprea G, Capasso R, Capasso F, Coppola Bottazzi E, Izzo AA.(4)

5. Antiproliferative activity
In the determination of Achillinin A (2β,3β-epoxy-1α,4β,10α-trihydroxyguai-11(13)-en-12,6α-olide, 1), a new guaianolide isolated from the flower of Achillea millefolium, found that the new isolation exhibited potential antiproliferative activity to A549, RERF-LC-kj and QG-90 cells with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) values of 5.8, 10 and 0.31 µM, respectively, according to "Achillinin A, a cytotoxic guaianolide from the flower of Yarrow, Achillea millefolium" by Li Y, Zhang ML, Cong B, Wang SM, Dong M, Sauriol F, Huo CH, Shi QW, Gu YC, Kiyota H.(5)

6. Anti leukemia
In the examination of three new antitumor sesquiterpenoids, achimillic acids A, B and C, were isolated as methyl esters from Achillea millefolium found that The compounds were found to be active against mouse P-388 leukemia cells in vivo, according to "Novel antitumor sesquiterpenoids in Achillea millefolium' by Tozyo T, Yoshimura Y, Sakurai K, Uchida N, Takeda Y, Nakai H, Ishii H.(6)

7. Anti aging effect
In the evaluation of evaluate the effect of A. millefolium extract on the expression pattern of various epidermal differentiation markers ex vivo in normal human skin biopsies using quantitative image analysis and its capacity to rejuvenate the appearance of skin surface in vivo.
found that millefolium extract at 2% significantly improved the appearance of wrinkles and pores compared with placebo. Results were also directionally better than those of glycolic acid that was chosen as reference resurfacing molecule, according to "Surface rejuvenating effect of Achillea millefolium extract" by Pain S, Altobelli C, Boher A, Cittadini L, Favre-Mercuret M, Gaillard C, Sohm B, Vogelgesang B, André-Frei V.(7)

8. Vascular inflammation
In the investigation of the effects of Achillea millefolium extract in vitro on the growth of primary rat vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) as well as the potential involvement of estrogen receptors (ERs) in this process, indicated that our findings support some of the traditional uses of A. millefolium, and suggest potential modes of action as related to its effects on vascular inflammation. Therefore, A. millefolium may induce novel potential actions in the cardiovascular system, according to "Vasoprotective activity of standardized Achillea millefolium extract" by Dall'Acqua S, Bolego C, Cignarella A, Gaion RM, Innocenti G.(8)

9. Spermatogenesis
In the investigationof the effects of A. millefolium L. extract on spermatogenesis in adult male wistar rats found that a significant decrease in cell accumulation and vacuolization in seminiferous tubule was seen. At the dose of 800 mg/kg, IP, thickened seminiferous tubules on basal membrane, decrease in cell accumulation in seminiferous tubule, severe disarrangement, degenerative cells and severe decrease in sperm count were seen. At the dose of 800 mg/kg/day, orally, basal membrane was thickened and the disarrangement in cells was demonstrated. As a conclusion, our results suggest that the total extract of A. millefolium L. exhibit temporary antifertile activity in adult male animals, according to "The effect of Achillea millefolium extract on spermatogenesis of male Wistar rats" by Takzare N, Hosseini MJ, Hamideh Mortazavi S, Safaie S, Moradi R.(9)

10. Anti-inflammatory activity
In the examination of the crude plant extract in in vitro-protease inhibition assays for understanding the mechanisms of anti-inflammatory action, found that in vitro-antiphlogistic activity of Achillea is at least partly mediated by inhibition of HNE and MMP-2 and -9. After the recently described spasmolytic and choleretic effects the obtained results give further insights into the pharmacological activity of Achillea and confirm the traditional application as antiphlogistic drug, according to "Achillea millefolium L. s.l. -- is the anti-inflammatory activity mediated by protease inhibition?" by Benedek B, Kopp B, Melzig MF.(10)

11. Antioxidants
In the investigation of the antioxidant activity of methanolic and water extracts of Slovene accessions of four medicinal plant species (Salvia officinalis, Achillea millefolium, Origanum vulgare subsp. vulgare and Gentiana lutea), found that . Treatment of the immobilized cells with the plant extracts resulted in an increase of the cell membrane potential (membrane hyperpolarization), possibly due to the reduction of membrane damage due to oxidation. The novel cell biosensor could be utilized as a rapid, high throughput tool for screening the antioxidant properties of plant-derived compounds, according to "Evaluation of the antioxidants activities of four Slovene medicinal plant species by traditional and novel biosensory assays" by Kintzios S, Papageorgiou K, Yiakoumettis I, Baricevic D, Kusar A.(11)

12. Antioxidant and Anti microbial activities
In the assessment, in vitro the antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of the essential oil and methanol extracts of Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium Afan., found that the oil strongly reduced the diphenylpicrylhydrazyl radical (IC(50)=1.56 micro g/ml) and exhibited hydroxyl radical scavenging effect in the Fe(3+)-EDTA-H(2)O(2) deoxyribose system (IC(50)=2.7 micro g/ml). It also inhibited the nonenzymatic lipid peroxidation of rat liver homogenate (IC(50)=13.5 micro g/ml). The polar phase of the extract showed antioxidant activity. The oil showed antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus pneumoniae, Clostridium perfringens, Candida albicans, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Acinetobacter lwoffii and Candida krusei while water-insoluble parts of the methanolic extracts exhibited slight or no activity, according to "Antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil and methanol extracts of Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium Afan. (Asteraceae)" by Candan F, Unlu M, Tepe B, Daferera D, Polissiou M, Sökmen A, Akpulat HA(12)

13. Etc.

Side effect
1. Overdoses can cause gastrointestinal discofort and excessive urination
2. It can cause allergic effect such as skin rash and irritation. etc.
3. Do not use the herb in new born, children, or if you are pregnant or breast feeding without approval from the related field specialist
4. Etc.


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