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Achillea millefolium L. s.l. herb extract: Antioxidant activity and effect on the rat heart mitochondrial functions

The genus Achillea L. (yarrow) comprises over 100 perennial herb species indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere. In Lithuania Achillea millefolium L. s.l., the best-known and most widespread species of yarrow, is listed amongst the most commonly used plant species in both folk and conventional medicine. The diversity and complexity of the phytochemical composition of yarrow species may explain their polyvalent pharmacological activity. The raw material of A. millefolium L. s.l. contains terpenes, alkaloids and bases, tannins, coumarins, saponins, sterols, vitamins, amino and fatty acids. Phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids and phenolcarbonic acids, constitute one of the most important groups of pharmacologically active principles in yarrow. It is suggested that anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, choleretic and cytotoxic activities of Achillea plants are mainly attributed to the flavonoid and phenol-carbonic acid complex. However, further scientific investigations are still required to clarify its phytochemicals as well as the spectrum of their potential utilisation.