yarrow improves multiple sclerosis and MS relapses and delays disease progression

We don’t even know why they thought to try this herb for Multiple Sclerosis. But it’s a good thing they did because it works!

Yarrow is a herb that is steeped in tradition. It is a herb that has been associated with witchcraft and oracles because it was widely used by the wise women healers of Europe. Ancient Europeans used it to heal wounds. Achilles is said to have used it to prevent or treat his wounds; hence, its botanical name, Achillea millefolium.

More prosaic uses of yarrow today include being used for colds and flues and fever. As the magical tradition suggests, yarrow is an astringent that is very good for stopping bleeding. It is also good for heavy and delayed periods and for menstrual cramping.

In a inexplicable stroke of inspiration, researchers in Iran decided to do a triple-blind study of yarrow for people with relapsing-remitting MS. The 65 people in the study were given either 250mg of yarrow extract, 500mg of yarrow extract or a placebo for one year. The main question they looked at was whether yarrow could reduce the number of relapses a year.

It could. The relapse rate was significantly lower in both the high and low dose yarrow than it was in the placebo group. The number of days before they suffered their first relapse was also significantly longer in both yarrow groups. MRI images revealed that the volume of lesions got bigger in the placebo group but smaller in both yarrow groups. Unlike the relapse results, which were equal for both doses of yarrow, when it came to lesion volume, the improvement was greater in the high dose group. There was no statistically significant improvement in the number of new lesions.

When the researchers checked the Expanded Disability Status Scale, they found that, while the placebo group continued to get worse, the scores got better in the low dose yarrow group and even better in the high dose group. The high dose group also improved significantly more than the placebo group on a score of walking speed, arm and hand dexterity and cognitive function.

Other cognitive measures also improved on yarrow. The high dose yarrow group improved significantly more than the placebo group on a word-pair learning test. Both yarrow groups scored significantly higher on a measure of information processing speed and on some measures of front lobe function.

The surprising and exciting result of this study is that yarrow improves MS and MS relapses and appears to delay disease progression.

Phytomedicine January 2019;52:89-97

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For more on yarrow, see our book Healthy Herbs: Your Everyday Guide to Medicinal Herbs and Their Use.

For much more on Multiple Sclerosis, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia.

For comprehensive help with your health, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven nowLinda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.


The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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