Ulcer‑Healing Effect of Hydroalcoholic Extract and Essential Oil of Achillea millefolium L. on Murine Model of Colitis

Mahdi Hadavi-Siahboomi, Afsaneh Yegdaneh, Ardeshir Talebi, Mohsen Minaiyan


Bakground: Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease that can be treated with many medications but they have various side effects and low cure rate. So, the need for finding novel drugs with better healing characters and less toxicity would be mandatory. Achillea millefolium (A. millefolium, Yarrow) has been traditionally used to treat bleeding, ulcers, wounds, liver, and bile disorders, and recently it has been shown to have anti‑ulcer, analgesic, anti‑inflammatory, antioxidant, and appetizing effects that make it as a good candidate for UC.

Methods: UC was induced with intra‑rectal instillation of acetic acid. A. millefolium hydroalcoholic extract (AMHE, 200, 400, and 600 mg/kg/day) and essential oil (AMEO, 62.5, 125, and 250 µl/ kg/day) were given to six groups of male Wistar rats for 5 days. Dexamethasone (1 mg/kg/day, intra-peritoneal) and mesalazine (100 mg/kg/day, orally) were used as reference drugs. Colon tissue specimens were separated for assessing macroscopic, pathologic, and biochemical markers.

Results: For AMHE, 77.2 mg/g equivalent to gallic acid was obtained for total phenols. Main assessed markers, including ulcer index, total colitis index, colon weight/length ratio, rats’ weight gain, and malondialdehyde levels were significantly improved in AMHE (400 and 600 mg/kg/day) and AMEO (125 and 250 µl/kg/day) groups compared to controls. Myeloperoxidase activity was only attenuated in AMHE groups significantly.

Conclusions: Both AMHE and AMEO were effective in healing experimental colitis. It seems antioxidant, anti‑inflammatory, and anti‑ulcer activities of Yarrow are responsible for these beneficial effects. Further studies are warranted to elucidate the exact mechanisms involved.


Achillea millefolium; anti‑inflammator; colitis; rats; essential oil; plant extract

Full Text:



Baumgart DC, Carding SR. Inflammatory bowel disease: Cause

and immunobiology. Lancet 2007;369:1627‑40.

Pithadia AB, Jain S. Treatment of inflammatory bowel

disease (IBD). Pharmacol Rep 2011;63:629‑42.

Tripathi K, Feuerstein JD. New developments in ulcerative

colitis: Latest evidence on management, treatment, and

maintenance. Drugs Context 2019;8,212572. doi: 10.7573/dic.

Fan Y, Yi W, Huang H, Mei Z, Feng Z. Efficacy of herbal

medicine (Gegen Qinlian Decoction) on ulcerative colitis:

A systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

Medicine (Baltimore) 2019;98:e18512. doi: 10.1097/


Kamali M, Tavakoli H, Khodadoost M, Daghaghzadeh H,

Kamalinejad M, Gachkar L, et al. Efficacy of the Punica

granatum peels aqueous extract for symptom management in

ulcerative colitis patients. A randomized, placebo‑controlled,

clinical trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2015;21:141‑6.

Keshavarz A, Minaiyan M, Ghannadi A, Mahzouni P. Effects

of Carum carvi L. (Caraway) extract and essential oil on

TNBS‑induced colitis in rats. Res Pharm Sci 2013;8:1‑8.

Minaiyan M, Ghannadi A, Afsharipour M, Mahzouni P. Effects

of extract and essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis L. on

TNBS‑induced colitis in rats. Res Pharm Sci 2011;6:13‑21.

Minaiyan M, Asghari G, Taheri D, Saeidi M, Nasr‑Esfahani S.

Anti‑inflammatory effect of Moringa oleifera Lam. seeds on

acetic acid‑induced acute colitis in rats. Avicenna J Phytomed


Saeidnia S, Gohari A, Mokhber‑Dezfuli N, Kiuchi F. A review on

phytochemistry and medicinal properties of the genus Achillea.

Daru 2011;19:173‑86.

Mozaffarian VA. Dictionary of Iranian Plant Names. Tehran:

Farhang Moaser Pub; 1996. p. 11‑2.

Zargari A. Medicinal Plants. 4th ed. Tehran: Tehran University

Press; 1996. p. 106‑17.

Ali SI, Gopalakrishnan B, Venkatesalu V. Pharmacognosy,

phytochemistry and pharmacological properties of Achillea

millefolium L.: A review. Phytother Res 2017;31:1140‑61.

Orav A, Kailas T, Ivask K. Composition of the essential oil

from Achillea millefolium L. from Estonia. J Essent Oil Res


Nemeth E. Essential oil composition of species in the genus

Achillea. J Essent Oil Res 2005;17:501‑12.

Khoramian L, Sajjadi SE, Minaiyan M. Anti‑inflammatory

effect of Adiantum capillus‑veneris hydroalcoholic and aqueous

extracts on acetic acid‑induced colitis in rats. Avicenna J

Phytomed 2020;10:492‑503.

Sajjadi SE, Ghanadian M, Ahmadi S, Shafiyan S. Isolation and

identification of a new phenylpropanoid derivative from the

fruits of Pimpinella haussknechtii Rech. f. and Riedl and GC‑MS

analysis of the essential oil. Iran J Pharm Res 2015;14:1233‑9.

Potrich FB, Allemand A, Da‑Silva LM, Dos‑Santos AC,

Baggio CH, Freitas CS, et al. Antiulcerogenic activity of

hydroalcoholic extract of Achillea millefolium L.: Involvement of

the antioxidant system. J Ethnopharmacol 2010;130:85‑92.

Abdossi V, Kazemi M. Bioactivities of Achillea millefolium

essential oil and its main terpenes from Iran. Intern J Food

Properties 2016:19:1798‑808.

Cooper HS, Murthy S, Shah R, Sedergran D. Clinicopathologic

study of dextran sulfate sodium experimental murine colitis. Lab

Invest 1993;69:238‑49.

Motavallian‑Naeini A, Minaiyan M, Rabbani M, Mahzuni P.

Anti‑inflammatory effect of ondansetron through 5‑HT3 receptors

on TNBS‑induced colitis in rat. EXCLI J 2012;11:30‑44.

Nematy M, Mazidi M, Jafari A, Baghban S, Rakhshandeh H,

Norouzy A, et al. The effect of hydro‑alcoholic extract of

Achillea millefolium on appetite hormone in rats. Avicenna J

Phytomed 2017;7:10‑5.

Perler BK, Ungaro R, Baird G, Mallette M, Bright R, Shah S,

et al. Presenting symptoms in inflammatory bowel disease:

Descriptive analysis of a community‑based inception cohort.

BMC Gastroenterol 2019;19:1‑8.

Liu D, Ahmet A, Ward L, Krishnamoorthy P, Mandelcorn ED,

Leigh R, et al. A practical guide to the monitoring and

management of the complications of systemic corticosteroid

therapy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013;9:1‑25.

Tsikas D. Assessment of lipid peroxidation by measuring

malondialdehyde (MDA) and relatives in biological samples:

Analytical and biological challenges. Anal Biochem


Pirbalouti AG, Koohpayeh A, Karimi I. The wound healing

activity of flower extracts of Punica granatum and Achillea

kellalensis in Wistar rats. Acta Pol Pharm 2010;67:107‑10.

Strzępek‑Gomółka M, Gaweł‑Bęben K, Kukula‑Koch W.

Achillea species as sources of active phytochemicals for

dermatological and cosmetic applications. Oxid Med Cell 2021.

doi: org/10.1155/2021/6643827.

Csupor‑Löffler B, Hajdú Z, Zupkó I, Réthy B, Falkay G,

Forgoet P, et al. Antiproliferative effect of flavonoids and

sesquiterpenoids from Achillea millefolium on cultured human

tumour cell lines. Phytother Res 2009;23:672‑6.

Francescone R, Hou V, Grivennikov SI. Cytokines, IBD, and

colitis‑associated cancer. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2015;21:409‑18.

Yassa N, Saeidnia S, Pirouzi R, Akbaripour M, Shafiee A.

Three phenolic glycosides and immunological properties of

Achillea millefolium from Iran, population of Golestan. Daru


Sadraei H, Asghari G, Khanabadi M, Minaiyan M.

Anti‑inflammatory effect of apigenin and hydroalcoholic extract

of Dracocephalum kotschyi on acetic acid‑induced colitis in rats.

Res Pharm Sci 2017;12:322.

Goli SA, Rahimmalek M, Tabatabaei BE. Physicochemical

characteristics and fatty acid profile of yarrow (Achillea

tenuifolia) seed oil. Int J Agric Biol 2008;10:355‑7.

Cavalcanti AM, Baggio CH, Freitas CS, Rieck L,

Silva de Sousa R, Silva‑Santos JE, et al. Safety and antiulcer

efficacy studies of Achillea millefolium L. after chronic treatment

in Wistar rats. J Ethnopharm 2006;107:277‑84.

Niazmand S, Khooshnood E, Derakhshan M. Effects of Achillea

wilhelmsii on rat’s gastric acid output at basal, vagotomized, and

vagal‑stimulated conditions. Pharmacogn Mag 2010;6:282‑5.

Borrelli F, Romano B, Fasolino I, Tagliatatela‑Scafati O,

Aprea G, Capasso R, et al. Prokinetic effect of a standardized

yarrow (Achillea millefolium) extract and its constituent choline:

Studies in the mouse and human stomach. Neurogastroenterol

Motil 2012;24:164‑71.

Moradi MT, Rafieian‑Koupaei M, Imani‑Rastabi R, Nasiri J,

Shahrani M, Rabiei Z, et al. Antispasmodic effects of

yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.) extract in the isolated ileum of

rat. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med 2013;10:499‑503.

Burk DR, Cichacz ZA, Daskalova SM. Aqueous extract of

Achillea millefolium L. (Asteraceae) inflorescences suppresses lipopolysaccharide‑induced inflammatory responses in RAW

7 murine macrophages. J Med Plant Res 2010;4:225‑34.

Huseini HF, Alavian S, Heshmat R, Heydari M, Abolmaali K.

The efficacy of Liv‑52 on liver cirrhotic patients: A randomized,

double‑blind, placebo‑controlled first approach. Phytomedicine


Yaeesh S, Jamal Q, Khan AU, Gilani AH. Studies on

hepatoprotective, antispasmodic and calcium antagonist activities

of the aqueous-methanol extract of Achillea millefolium.

Phytother Res 2006;20:546‑51.