ity of ‘old wives tales’ or ‘ancient lore’, both of which are frequently credited with time-tested knowledge that has worked for generations but also viewed with some suspicion. In some cases, the information is quite valid and the necessary research to support it is becoming increasingly available. In other cases, though, the information has been proven wrong, ineffective and sometimes even counterintuitive. Because it is impossible to know, with just an initial look, whether the claims of the article or legend are true as stated, it’s a good idea to question the claims made by conducting a thorough analysis. One substance frequently being used as an alternative to drug therapy for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and several other common ailments is the herb known commonly as yarrow.
There are a number of different cultivars of yarrow which thrive in many parts of the world, many of which have long-standing traditions as a medicinal treatment. The scientific name for the plant is Achillea millefolium, but because of its widespread presence, it also has many common names. These include gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf and feather-leaf (Dodson & Dunmire, 2007). Some of these names provide a suggestion of how it is used. The plant is said to have been named because of its association with the Greek hero Achilles. “According to the legend, Achilles’ mother held him by the heels and dipped him in a bath of yarrow. Achilles was forever protected by the herb except for the heels” (Madocks, 2009). Stories of Achilles indicate he always carried yarrow with him into battle because it had the ability to staunch the flow of blood from battle-inflicted wounds. “In the ancient world, yarrow was seen as a potent healing agent, whether applied to a wound or taken internally to prevent a cold setting in. Yarrow was the preferred domestic medicine of yesteryears’ mothers who