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IS YARROW THE ACHILLES' HEEL OF ASPIRIN?

I've been having fun.

It's yarrow season.


Since we have learnt of the undisclosed and most probably illegal ingredients in many pharmaceuticals. I have been looking for a replacement for the seemingly innocent aspirin.


Aspirin has three main uses.

  • Pain killing

  • Blood thinning

  • Anti-inflammatory in high doses


Willow & The Natural Origin of Aspirin

As many people know aspirin although now manmade follows in the footsteps of willow bark.

For centuries, willow bark, derived from various types of willow trees, has been utilized as a pain reliever. Salicin is the active component found in the medication produced from willow bark.

The salicin in willow bark converts to salicylic acid.

Willow's effectiveness may also be due to the accompanying flavonoids and plant particles.

Some individuals choose to chew on unprocessed willow bark because of this. Others make tea.


Remedies derived from the willow tree have been used for pain management since the time of the Sumerians around 4000 years ago. Hippocrates also utilized it for pain and fever relief, including using tea made from it during childbirth.


In 1763, Reverend Edward Stone conducted a groundbreaking clinical trial studying the effects of willow bark powder in treating fever. A century later, the effects of this powder were investigated for treating acute rheumatism.


In 1828, Professor Johann Buchner identified salicin, the Latin term for willow, while Henri Leroux isolated it in a crystalline form in 1829 for treating rheumatism. Heyden Chemical Company was the first to mass-produce salicylic acid commercially in the 1800s. It was not until 1899 that Bayer registered and marketed a modified version called acetylsalicylic acid under the trade name aspirin.


Yarrow

This spring, I've been sitting in meadows looking at the natural fauna of the United Kingdom wondering at the beauty of nature.

I had been told Yarrow was great for women but was curious and I've delved further.

These are the known active compounds.


  • Acetate

  • Borneol

  • Coumarin

  • Caryophyllene

  • Chamazulene

  • Cineole

  • Eugenol

  • Farnesene

  • Limonene

  • Myrcene

  • Sabinene

  • Salicylic acid

  • Thujone

  • Tricyclene


I had not managed to access natural wild willow bark so jumped when I saw Salicylic acid as this is the key precursor.


I looked up the known benefits of Yarrow.


  • diuretic

  • diaphoretic

  • menstrual support

  • balance women's hormones

  • anti-thrombotic

  • fever reduction

  • allergies

  • anxiety

  • Antiseptic

  • IBS

  • antibacterial

  • sedative anti-depression

  • hypotensive - High blood pressure

  • Wounds

  • hypoglycemic

  • astringent

  • anti-inflammatory

  • anti-fungal

  • emmenagogue

  • tonic

  • a bitter

  • ...and pain-killing.



HISTORY


Yarrow AKA Soldiers woundwort


Yarrow, also called Soldier’s Woundwort, has a long history of use spanning thousands of years. This herb holds significance on the battlefield, serving as a crucial plant for soldiers, warriors, healers, and medics alike.


Yarrow was commonly grown in monastic gardens during the Middle Ages. Hildegard of Bingen, a well-known herbalist and nun, frequently suggested yarrow as a natural remedy. In Western folk medicine, yarrow has been widely employed for healing cuts, bruises, bleeding, and various other ailments, establishing its reputation as a versatile medicinal herb.



Achilles

Yarrow has a fascinating legend dating back to the era of gods and goddesses. According to the tale, Achilles (part mortal, part god) employed Yarrow during the battle of Troy to staunch his soldiers' wounds by using poultices made from this herb.

It is believed that his success as a warrior was attributed to the rapid recovery of his soldiers from their battle wounds.


This is why the Latin name for the herb is Achillia millefolium


Where to find

I'm picking this wild and have transplanted a few to now grow at home.

Identify it by the leaves not the flowers.


I've found it amongst the 'lawns' of many parks competing with the grass but maybe producing an even softer texture underfoot. In these parks at the side where there is no mowing, it's then easy to find the taller plants that are just coming to flower late June.


The leaves are small soft and fern-like.







WARNING - The flowers are easily confused and also look like Hemlock which is deadly, so don't pick or use unless you are 100% sure.


Google lens works as a free way to identify plants but BE CAREFUL!

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A gentle reminder that nothing here, or any of our other articles, constitutes as medical advice. Always consult a trusted medical professional.





2 Comments

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Guest
Jul 11
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Excellent article

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Guest
Jul 04
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Awesome article on beautiful Yarrow, International Herb of the Year. It's an amasing plant with it's healing qualities.

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