5 Emerging Benefits and Uses of Yarrow Tea
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) has been used for thousands of years for its potential health benefits. In fact, its genus name, Achillea, refers to the warrior Achilles in Greek mythology, as he used yarrow to treat his soldiers' wounds.
There are 140 different species of Achillea, which are characterized by their clustered flowers and hairy, aromatic leaves.
Studies indicate that this plant may have various benefits as an herbal tea, extract, or essential oil.
Here are 5 emerging benefits and uses of yarrow tea.
1. May Enhance Wound Healing
Since the times of Ancient Greece, yarrow has been used in poultices and ointments to treat wounds.
One animal study found that yarrow leaf extracts exhibited anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, both of which aid wound healing.
Furthermore, this study noted that yarrow leaf extract may increase fibroblasts, which are the cells responsible for regenerating connective tissue and helping your body recover from injury.
Meanwhile, a 2-week study in 140 women observed that an ointment made from this herb and St. John's wort helped heal episiotomy sites, which are surgical incisions on the vaginal wall made during childbirth.
While these results are promising, it's unclear whether yarrow tea has the same effects. Thus, more studies are needed.
Studies suggest that yarrow leaf extract and ointment may boost wound healing. However, additional studies are needed on yarrow tea itself.
2. May Alleviate Digestive Issues
Yarrow has long been used to treat digestive issues like ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), symptoms of which include stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation.
In fact, this herb contains several flavonoids and alkaloids, which are plant compounds known to relieve digestive complaints.
In a study in rats, a yarrow extract tonic protected against stomach acid damage and demonstrated anti-ulcer properties.
Another animal study found that the flavonoid antioxidants in yarrow tea may fight digestive spasms, inflammation, and other IBS symptoms.
All the same, more research is needed.
Animal studies show that yarrow tea may provide several digestive benefits, such as combatting ulcers and IBS symptoms.
3. May Help Reduce Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
The flavonoids and alkaloids in yarrow tea may alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Studies demonstrate that plant-based alkaloids like those in yarrow tea reduce the secretion of corticosterone, a hormone that's high during chronic stress.
One study found that yarrow essential oils administered orally to rats reduced anxiety and encouraged daily mental and physical activity.
However, these results are preliminary and don't necessarily apply to anxiety in humans. Furthermore, you should not ingest essential oils.
Thus, human research on yarrow tea is needed.
Yarrow tea contains flavonoids and alkaloids that may relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. All the same, human studies are necessary.
4. May Aid Brain Health
Yarrow has been shown to aid certain brain disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and encephalomyelitis — inflammation of the brain and spinal cord caused by a viral infection.
Plus, a rat study found that yarrow's antioxidants have anti-seizure effects, making this herb a promising treatment for people with epilepsy.
Additional rat studies indicate that this plant may prevent symptoms of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, such as memory loss and impairments in physical movement and muscle tone.
However, these studies are preliminary and limited to animals.
Research suggests that yarrow may reduce symptoms of certain brain disorders, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's.
5. May Fight Inflammation
While inflammation is a natural bodily response, chronic inflammation can lead to cell, tissue, and organ damage.
Yarrow may reduce skin and liver inflammation, which could help treat skin infections, signs of skin aging, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
A test-tube study determined that yarrow extract not only decreased inflammation but also increased skin moisture.
Other test-tube studies reveal that this extract may reduce liver inflammation — as well as fight fevers.
Although these results are promising, human research is needed.
Yarrow tea may reduce both liver and skin inflammation, but research is currently limited.
Precautions and Potential Concerns
While yarrow is likely safe for most individuals, some people should practice caution.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not ingest yarrow, as it can trigger miscarriages and affect the menstrual cycle.
Furthermore, people with bleeding disorders or who take blood thinners should avoid yarrow because it may increase the risk of bleeding.
On that same note, this herb should not be consumed for 2 weeks before and after surgery due to a higher risk of bleeding.
What's more, yarrow may cause an allergic reaction in people allergic to ragweed and other related plants.
Yarrow is safe for most individuals. However, you should avoid it if you have a bleeding disorder or are pregnant, breastfeeding, undergoing surgery, or allergic to ragweed.
How to Add It to Your Diet
Yarrow comes in several forms, including powders, ointments, tinctures, extracts, and dried leaves and flowers.
The leaves and flowers can be made into tea by steeping 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 grams) in boiling water for 5–10 minutes. You can purchase the dried herb, as well as premade tea bags, from various health stores or online.
You can also add yarrow powder to smoothies, water, and juice — and use its essential oils in baths, lotions, or diffusers.
Keep in mind that insufficient evidence exists to establish dosage guidelines for yarrow tea or other products. As such, you should always refer to product labels and consult a healthcare practitioner before using this herb.
You can buy dried yarrow or premade tea bags online or in various health stores. This herb also comes in other forms, such as tinctures, ointments, extracts, and powders.
The Bottom Line
Yarrow has been used medicinally since ancient times, including as an herbal tea.
Research shows that its plant compounds may benefit wound healing, digestive issues, brain ailments, and other conditions. However, further studies in humans are necessary.
If you're interested in drinking yarrow tea, consult a medical professional to make sure it's right for you.