Achillea moschata

Botanical Name : Achillea moschata
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribes: Anthemideae
Subtribes: Achilleinae
Genus: Achillea
Sectio: A. sect. Anthemoideae
Species: Achillea erba-rotta
Subspecies: Achillea moschata subsp. moschata

Synonym: Achillea erba-rotta var. moschata

Common Names : Yarrow, Milfoil, Thousand leaf, Musk Milfoil, Musk Yarrow

Habitat :Achillea moschata   occurs in  Europe and temperate areas of Asia. A few grow in North America.It is a common wayside herb, and is also found growing wild in fields, pastures, and waste places

Description:
Achillea moschata is a common perennial plant from 1 to 3 feet in height, bearing dark-green, crowded, alternate,frilly, hairy, aromatic bi-pinnatifid leaves. The flowers, which are grayish-white (occasionally rose-colored), are arranged in a flat-top, corymbose head. The odor is peculiar, being pleasantly and highly aromatic, somewhat resembling chamomile. The taste is sharp, bitterish, astringent, and slightly saline.It flowers from May to October

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Chemical Composition:
Achillea moschata contains a reddish-brown, active, bitter principle called achillein (C20H38N2O15), discovered by Zanon, in 1846 (Liebig’s Annalen), and shown by Von Planta (1870) to be alkaloidal and identical with the achilleine of Achillea moschata. Zanon also found an acid which he named achilleic acid, and which was subsequently (1857) shown by Hlasiwetz to be aconitic acid. A small portion of a volatile oil, dark-green in color, may be obtained from yarrow by distillation with water. Milfoil also contains potassium and calcium salts, resin, gum, and tannin.

Medicinal Uses:
During the time of blooming the flowers alongwith leaves should be gathered (preferably during July), and after rejecting the coarser stems, should be carefully dried. The weight, after drying, is but 15 per cent of the amount collected. The leaves are more astringent than the flowers, the latter being more aromatic than the former. The American plant is said to be more valuable than the European species. Achillea was known to the ancients. Pliny states that the generic term, Achillea, was named from Achilles, a physician, who was one of the first to use a species of this plant as a vulnerary. Yarrow is sold by the native herbalists of India, like rosemary, where it is used as a bitter and in medicated vapor baths for fevers (Dymock). The Italians employed it in intermittent fevers, and in the Scottish highlands it is made into ointment for wounds. According to Linnaeus the Dalecarlians used it as a substitute for hops in the making of ale, believing it to impart to it intoxicating qualities. Both Stahl and Haller used this plant extensively.

The plant is known in Switzerland as forest lady’s herb and has been used there for centuries as a stomach tonic.  An infusion is used in the treatment of liver and kidney disorders, as a tonic to the digestive system, exhaustion, nervous headaches etc.    The oil stimulates gastric secretion and improves appetite; it is feebly diuretic and has a mild antitussive action.  The principle uses are lack of appetite, sluggish digestion; flatulence, diarrhea.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/achillea.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Achillea_erba-rotta_subsp._moschata
http://www.chilternseeds.co.uk/item_36l_achillea_moschata_seeds
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Achillea_moschata_Atlas_Alpenflora.jpg
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Achillea_moschata07072002.JPG

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