Yarrow Essential Oil

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Yarrow essential oil is used to treat allergies and to alleviate stress besides its many other health benefits. It is known for its wonderful sweet aroma and a brilliant deep blue color. This kind of awesome color is seen in few essential oils only. This herb has a nice story behind its name. Yarrow’s biological name is Achillea millefolium. The first word Achillea is present because Achilles, the great Greek warrior used this herb during battles to treat soldiers’ battle wounds. Yarrow quickly staunches the flow of blood. Its essential oil is also good for treating wounds.

Source

Yarrow essential oil is produced by steam distillation of the flowers and sometimes other parts of Achillea millefolium. It contains beautiful flowers of a myriad of colors like pink and white. Each flower is actually a cluster of a few dozen minute flowers. Yarrow is used for many medicinal purposes besides its use in treating wounds. Yarrow was used in Europe to flavor drinks in place of hops. Yarrow alleviates pain, inflammation and reduces insomnia.

yarrow flowers : source of yarrow essential oil
yarrow flowers : source of yarrow essential oil ( Photo credit : Bff )

Yarrow essential oil has no fixed standards for production. However, the essential oil with higher concentration of a special compound called “chamazulene” is better for wound healing. The most common variety of yarrow essential oil is the blue yarrow, which is deep blue in color. However, there are other yarrow species which yield an essential oil that is more greenish in color.

Yarrow essential oil can be extracted using steam distillation, solvent extraction and supercritical carbon dioxide extraction. Only the first one is organic and offers the most health benefits.

Blends Well With

Yarrow essential oil blends well with Valerian essential oil as a combination to reduce stress. It goes well with Oakmoss oil, Vetiver oil, Ylang-Ylang oil and Cedar oil. It blends well with Lavender, German chamomile and Calendula oil. It brings out more of the aroma in black pepper essential oil, Bergamot essential oil and Grapefruit essential oil too.

Other Names

Yarrow essential oil is called by other names because of the many names of Yarrow. it is called milfoil, thousand-leaf oil, sanguinary oil, plumajillo oil and gordaldo oil.

Properties

Yarrow essential oil has tremendous healing properties which are mostly because of the impressive properties of the herb.

  • Astringent – Yarrow essential oil is one of the most powerful natural astringents. It shrinks the skin and promotes skin healing.
  • Antioxdant – It has got powerful antioxidant capacity.
  • Cicatrisant – It aids the body in healing wounds.
  • Anti-inflammatory – It is a strongly inflammation reducing essential oil.
  • Decongestant – It relieves congestion in the chest.
  • Antiseptic – It prevents infections in wounds.
  • Diaphoretic – It promotes sweating.
  • Hypotensive – It reduces blood pressure to some extent.
  • Haemostatic – It staunches the blood flow.
  • Expectorant – It promotes the expulsion of phlegm.
  • Anti-rheumatic – Yarrow essential oil is used in combinations for reducng arthritic pain in joints.
  • Antimicrobial – Yarrow kills many species of pathogens – bacteria, fungi and viruses.
  • Anxiolytic – It lowers feelings of anxiety.
  • Febrifuge – It calms a fever down.
  • Emmenagogue – It provides relief from menstrual cramps and other menstruation related issues.

Color and Aroma

Yarrow essential oil is a deep blue color. It looks very dark but when diluted, the blue color starts to show up. This blue color is because of chamazulene. Its aroma is a mix of many aromas. It is sweet flowery aroma with a hint of herbaceous aroma.

Yarrow Flowers
Yarrow Flowers (Image:Shutterstock)

Health Benefits

Yarrow essential oil provides many health benefits because of its powerful therapeutic properties. One can use yarrow essential oil in the following ways.

Stop bleeding

Yarrow essential oil can be used to stem the blood oozing out of a wound. It can be poured neat into the wound to stop the blood flow. However, it can be dangerous to use any essential oil directly. One can dilute yarrow essential oil with water and then use it to wash the wound. It should also be applied after the blood flow has stopped. Yarrow essential oil is an astringent and a cicatrisant. It shrinks the skin and promotes the wound to heal. This helps with cuts, scrapes, wounds but not with major injuries with significant bleeding.

Varicose Veins Home Remedy

Yarrow essential oil is nice remedy for varicose veins. Dilute yarrow essential oil in a base oil like olive oil. Add 5 drops of essential oil to about 5 ml of base oil. Massage it onto the area affected by varicose veins. It reduces the appearance of the engorged veins and strengthens the skin. Its astringent property is the one that works here.

Hemorrhoids

Pour a few drops of yarrow essential oil in a herbal compress or poultice, preferably made with anti-inflammatory hebs like comfrey and horsetail. This compress soothes both internal and external hemorrhoids.

Relieve Arthritis Pain

Yarrow essential oil is good at relieving the pain of arthritis in joints. Add 5 – 8 drops of yarrow essential oil in 2 tablespoon of a base oil, like castor oil. Warm up the oil combination and massage it onto the painful joint 2 times a day. It slowly starts to reduce the inflammation and within a few weeks, there is significant reduction in arthritic pain. One can combine other essential oils that are strongly anti-inflammatory and analgesic like copaiba essential oil, peppermint essential oil, frankincense essential oil and dill essential oil.

Chest Rub

Yarrow essential oil is used as an ingredient in chest rub or vapor rub formulations to relieve chest congestion. It is used because it reduces congestion in the chest and helps to throw out the phlegm. One can quickly blend an oil based chest rub by adding 5 drops each of the essential oils of eucalyptus, thyme, yarrow and peppermint to a base oil of olive, about 1 oz. Massage it on the chest, throat and the back. Its aroma relieves nasal congestion. Eucalyptus essential oil reduces sinusitis. This oil based chest rub is helpful in common cold, flu, cough and other respiratory conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis. It is quite helpful in pleuritis as this combination is strongly anti-inflammatory.

Anxiety and Sleep

Yarrow essential oil calms an impending anxiety attack. Combining it with other anxiety reducing essential oils boosts its capabilities. Add essential oils of lavender, yarrow, calendula and german chamomile. Add 10 drops each to a bathtub full of warm water. Let the water heat up to more than what is comfortable and add the essential oils. The slightly higher temperature improves the volatility of essential oils and they release more aroma. Then as the water becomes lukewarm, take bath in this water. It relieves anxiety and also alleviates insomnia. This is a great way to use essential oils to lower stress and get some quality sleep.

Relief from Toothache

Yarrow essential oil is a fine analgesic. It has a mild numbing action when applied on the tooth. It is therefore used to soothe toothaches. Take about 3 – 4 drops of yarrow essential oil on a cotton ball. Place this cotton ball right underneath the tooth that is paining. It provides a numbing action on the tooth and thus alleviates the pain. This is similar in action to clove essential oil which is a much more popular remedy for toothaches.

Digestive Troubles

Yarrow essential oil provides significant relief in an upset stomach. It relieves indigestion, burping, bloating and flatulence. For this health benefit, yarrow essential oil is massaged over the abdomen. Add 8-10 drops of yarrow oil in about 10 ml of base oil like olive oil. Warm up the oil gently. Massage it all over the abdomen. It acts as a carminative and aids in expelling intestinal gas. It thus alleviates gas pain, flatulence and abdominal distension occuring because of the gas.

Relief from Fevers

Yarrow essential oil is applied on the body to bring down a fever. This oil is diaphoretic. It promotes the release of sweat and thus cools the body. Taking a steam bath in the aroma of yarrow essential oil improves sweat production and calms down a fever. One should however take electrolytes right away if there are symptoms of dehydration and lethargy.

Yarrow essential oil for Skin

Yarrow oil is used for oily skin conditions. It is an astringent and drives out excess oil from the skin. It shrinks large pores so that they do not release excess amont of sebum from the oil glands. This way, it is helpful in acne. Yarrow essential oil can be applied neat ( undiluted ) on the skin. But, it is important to perform a patch test first to make sure that it does not lead to an adverse reaction. It is also used on boils, carbuncles and folliculitis.

Yarrow essential oil for Hair

Yarrow essential oil is used in hair care products to promote hair growth [1]. It is especially good for treating oily hair and scalp condition. Add about 4 – 5 drops of yarrow essential oil to a regular herbal shampoo and apply it on the scalp. Alternatively, add about 15 drops yarrow essential oil in about 2 glasses of water. Use this water to rinse the scalp. Wash it with water to take away the essential oil. This treatment can also assist in faster hair growth rates.

Irregular menstruation

Yarrow essential oil helps with the problems that may occur due to menstruation. Add 15 – 20 drops of yarrow essential oil in a sitz bath. Lay in this warm bath for about 15 minutes. This promotes regular menstruation and also helps to get rid of urinary tract infections.

Aromatherapy

Yarrow essential oil is used frequently in aromatherapy treatments. Its aroma exerts many effects which can be used in the following conditions. For these health benefits, put 4 – 5 drops of yarrow essential oil in a vaporizer. Let its aroma diffuse all over a room. Stay in this rom for about 10 minutes.

  • Anxiety –  Its aroma subdues anxiety and reduces restlessness.
  • Emotional healing – Yarrow essential oil is used for emotional healing. It is used for recovering from an emotional breakdown.

Uses

Yarrow oil is used in many cosmetic applications. It is used in hair care products. It is also used in salves for alleviating arthritic joint pain. It is also used in perfumes.

Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues

Yarrow essential oil is generally safe to apply neat ( without dilution ) on the skin for adults. However, this immensely concentrated form of oil can harm the skin of some people. Therefore, it is stressed to perform a patch test before using it on the skin. Yarrow essential oil should not be used internally. It shouldn’t be used by pregnant women because it affects menstruation. Prolonged exposure to yarrow aroma can induce headaches. Som people may be allergic to plants in the Asteracea family and can experience an allergic reaction upon contact or breathing yarrow. This oil should not be used before or after a surgery.

Another important thing to bear in mind is that yarrow oil is flammable with a low flash point. There are no known interaction of yarrow essential oil with medication.

Nutritional and Medicinal Information

Yarrow essential oil offers powerful nutrition facts. It contains many chemical components which are responsible for its properties and health benefits. This is the chemical composition and nutritional profile of yarrow essential oil.

Nutrient Percentage
Eucalyptol 24.6 %
β – Pinene 4.2 %
Camphene 2.4 %
α – pinene 2.4 %
Sabinene 2.8 %
Camphor 16.7 %
Borneol 4.0 %
Terpinen-4-ol 2.8 %
α – Terpineol 10.2 %
Bisabolol oxide II 3.8 %
Bisabolone oxide 3.3 %
α – Bisabolol 2.1 %

Source : 2

The major component of Achillea millefolium essential oil is Eucalyptol. This compound is also present in Eucalyptus essential oil. It is also known as 1,8 – cineole and has wide applications in industries. It is strongly anti-inflammatory and provides relief from airway inflammation in respiratory conditions. It is therefore used in the treatment of asthma [3]. Eucalyptol is also used as an insect repellent and in cough medications. Alpha and Beta pinenes are monoterpenes and are used primarily in perfumes. Camphene is a powerful compound which is now mainly used to make food flavorings. Camphor, the second major chemical constituent of yarrow essential oil is used as a decongestant. It provides relief from heaviness in the chest and mproves breathing. It is a major component of vapor rubs and many cough relieving products. It also alleviates fatigue and some heart issues [4].

Antioxidant capacity

A very important property of an essential oil is its antioxidant capacity. Yarrow essential oil turns out to be a powerful antioxidant with an ORAC value of 55,900 μ TE / 100 gm. This is a considerable amount of antioxidant power. This means that adding yarrow essential oil to skin care routine prevents it from damage due to free radicals.

Buying and Storage

Yarrow essential oil can be bought from an essential oil store or online. It is generally not made by most essential oil manufacturers. One should make sure that the oil is pure and unadulterated. It should be stored in a cool place away from sunlight. The oil bottle should also be kept away from moisture. If there is excess humidity in the region, one should keep it in a place that is dried by a dehumidifier. This prolongs its life.

References

1. Cosmetic composition for the treatment of hair, particularly oily hair, based on an extract of yarrow (Achillea millefolium L). US 4948583 A
2. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil and methanol extracts of Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium Afan. (Asteraceae). Ferda Candan et. al.Journal of Ethnopharmacology
3. Anti-in£ammatory activity of1.8 -cineol (eucalyptol) in bronchial asthma: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial . U.R. JUERGENS et. al.Respiratory medicine.
4. Lääkevalmisteet Pharmaca Fennica. Lääketietokeskus.

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