Traditional uses and benefits of Yew

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Yew Quick Facts
Name: Yew
Scientific Name: Taxus baccata
Origin Western, central and southern Europe (including the British Isles), northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia
Colors Initially green turning to red as they mature
Shapes Ornamentally-attractive, berry-like fruits, each having a single seed 4–7 mm (3⁄16–1⁄4 in) long,
Flesh colors Red
Taste Very sweet and a bit like a lychee
Health benefits Beneficial for epilepsy, asthma, indigestion, bronchitis, hiccup, rheumatism, cystitis, eruptions, headaches, heart and kidney problems, dimness of vision, gout, breast cancer and ovarian cancer
Yew Or Common Yew scientifically known as Taxus baccata is a species of evergreen tree in the Taxaceae (Yew family). The plant is native to western, central and southern Europe (including the British Isles), northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia. It is the tree originally known as yew, though with other related trees becoming known, it may now be known as common yew, English yew, Irish Yew or European yew. It is primarily grown as an ornamental. Most parts of the plant are poisonous, and consumption of the foliage can result in death.

Genus name is an old Latin name for yews. Specific epithet means fruit-bearing in reference to the showy red arils. No tree is more associated with the history and legends of Great Britain than the Yew. Before Christianity was introduced it was a sacred tree favored by the Druids, who built their temples near these trees – a custom followed by the early Christians. The association of the tree with places of worship still prevails.

Yew or Common Yew Facts

Name Yew or Common Yew
Scientific Name Taxus baccata
Native Western, central and southern Europe (including the British Isles), northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia
Common Names Common yew, English yew, European yew, Yew, Irish Yew
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Taxus
Albanian: Bërshen, Tis
Amharic: Eewo (አዎ)
Arabic: Khashab altuqsus (خشب الطقسوس), dakhs, taqsus tuti (طقسوس توتي)
Armenian: keni (կենի), keni hataptghayin (կենի հատապտղային)
Azerbaijani: Yew, Giləmeyvəli qaraçöhrə
Basque: Hagin, hagina, Hagin arrunt
Belarusian: Tsis (ціс), cis jeŭrapiejski (ціс еўрапейскі)
Bengali: L’u kāṣṭha (ইউ কাষ্ঠ) 
Bosnian: Tisa, Tisa (biljka)
Breton: Ivin (gwez)
Bulgarian: Tys (тис), obiknoven tis (обикновен тис)       
Catalan: Teix, teixero
Cebuano: Yew
Chichewa: Yew
Chinese: Hóngdòu shān (红豆杉), ou zhou hong dou shan (欧洲红豆杉)          
Cornish: Ewin
Corsican: Tassu
Croatian: Tisa, šumska tisa          
Czech: Tis, Tis cervený  
Danish: Taks, Almindelig taks, Barlind, Norsk ibenholt
Dutch: Taxusboom, Gewone taxus, Taxus
English: Common yew, English yew, European yew, Yew, Irish Yew
Esperanto: Taksuso, Eŭropa taksuso
Estonian: Jugapuu, harilik jugapuu,
Filipino: Yew
Finnish: Marjakuusi, Euroopanmarjakuusi
French: Yew, if, If commun, if d’Europe, if à baies, ifreteau          
Frisian: Taks
Galician: Teixo, teixeiro
Georgian: Utkhovari (უთხოვარი)
German: Eibe, Beereneibe, Europäische Eibe, Gemeine Eibe, Gewöhnliche Eibe, Ifenbaum
Greek: Pournári (πουρνάρι), Ímero élato (Ήμερο έλατο), ítamos (ίταμος), ragofóros (ραγοφόρος), Déndro tou thanátou (Δένδρο του θανάτου), Mavroélato (Μαυροέλατο), Táxos ragofóros (Τάξος ραγοφόρος)
Gujarati: Yū (યૂ)
Haitian Creole: If
Hausa: Yew
Hawaiian: ʻē
Hebrew: טקסוס, טקסוס מעונב
Hindi: Yū (यू)
Hmong: Yew
Hungarian: Tiszafa, Európai tiszafa, közönséges tiszafa  
Icelandic: Yew, Ýviður
Igbo: Yew
Indonesian: Yew
Ingush: Baza (База)        
Irish: Iúir             
Italian: Tasso, Albero della morte, Libo, Nasso, tasso comune
Japanese: Ichī (イチイ), Yōroppaichii (ヨーロッパイチイ)
Javanese: Yew
Kabyle: Teyfuzzel
Kannada: Yū (ಯೂ)
Kashubian: Zwëczajny cës
Kazakh: YU (Ю)
Khmer: Yew
Kinyarwanda: Yew
Korean: Yeu (예우)
Kurdish (Kurmanji): Yew
Kyrgyz: Yew
Lao: Yew
Latin: Taxi torquentur   
Latvian: Ive, Parasta ive               
Lithuanian: Kukmedis, europinis kukmedis                         
Luxembourgish: Yew, Franséische Pällem           
Macedonian: Tys (Тис), obychna tysa (обична тиса)      
Malagasy: Yew
Malay: Yew
Malayalam: Oru (ഒരു) lley, ṭāksas bakkāṭṭa (ടാക്സസ് ബക്കാട്ട)
Maltese: Yew
Manx: Euar
Maori: Yew
Marathi: Garda hiravyā raṅgācī pānē asalēlā ēka sadāparṇī vr̥kṣa (गर्द हिरव्या रंगाची पाने असलेला एक सदापर्णी वृक्ष)
Mongolian: Yuyeü (Юеү)
Myanmar (Burmese): Yew
Nepali: Yew, barmesalla (बर्मेसल्ला)     
Norwegian: Barlind, Norsk ibenholt        
Odia: Ham̐ (ହଁ)
Ossetic: Zaz (Заз)
Pashto: یوځل
Persian: سرخدار, سرخدار
Polish: Cis, Cis pospolity               
Portuguese: Teixo          
Punjabi: ਯੂ
Pushto: اروپايي ټاکسوس
Romanian: Tisă
Romansh: Taisch
Russian: Tis (тис), tis yagodnyi (Тис ягодный), tiss âgodnyj, tiss evropejskij, nehnoy derevo (негной дерево), (тис европейский)
Samoan:: Ioe
Scots Gaelic: Iubhair, Iogh, Iubhar, Iubharan
Serbian: Tis (тис), Cis, Sis, evropska tysa (европска тиса), tysa (тиса)
Sesotho : Japanese yew              
Shambala: Tisa
Shona: Yew
Sindhi: يار
Sinhala: Yū (යූ)
Slovak: Tis, Tis obycajný
Slovenian: Tisa
Somali: Yew
Spanish: Tejo, taxo, tejo común, tejón, Navadna tisa     
Sundanese: Yeuh
Swahili: Yew
Swedish: Idegran, Euroopanmarjakuusi, Idgran
Tajik: Yew          
Tamil: யூ
Tatar: Jə (йә)
Telugu: Yū (యూ)          
Thai: T̂n yū (ต้นยู)           
Turkish: Porsukağacı, Porsuk, yaygın porsuk
Turkmen: Yew  
Ukrainian: Tys (тис), tys yahidnyy (тис ягідний)
Upper Sorbian: Wšědny ćis
Urdu: یو, یورپی سرخدار
Uyghur: Yew     
Uzbek: Tis
Vietnamese: Thủy tùng, thanh tùng châu Âu
Welsh: Ywen, Pren Yw, Yw,       
Xhosa: Yew
Yiddish: Yw (יו)
Yoruba: Yew
Zulu: Yew
Plant Growth Habit Long-lived, medium sized, evergreen, conifer tree
Growing Climates Hedgerows, woodland, churchyards, parks and shady field edges and can also be grown and used as hedging
Soil Can grow on almost all soil types with adequate drainage, typically on humus and base-rich soils, but also on dry rendzina and sandy soils with adequate moisture. The yew is intolerant of prolonged frost and cold although its tolerance varies by region and season. They are moderately drought tolerant and can cope with temporary flooding but are susceptible to long term poor drainage
Plant Size 10–20 m (35–65 ft.) (exceptionally up to 28 m or 92 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 2 m (6 ft. 7 in) (exceptionally 4 m or 13 ft. 1 in) in diameter
Root Root systems are shallow with extensive horizontal roots
Twigs Light green in color, turning brown after several years; buds green with scales keeled
Bark Bark is dark, thin, usually red-purple, and scaly coming off in small flakes aligned with the stem
Leaf Leaves are flat, dark green, 1–4 centimeters (1⁄2–1+1⁄2 in) long and 2–3 mm (3⁄32–1⁄8 in) broad, arranged spirally on the stem, but with the leaf bases twisted to align the leaves in two flat rows
Flowering season March to April
Flower Yew is mainly dioecious; although examples of monoecious trees
exist this is rare and usually consists of separate sexed branches.  Male flowers are small green globules along the underside of last
year’s shoots, whilst the female flowers are minute green flowers borne in the leaf axils of the previous year’s growth
Fruit Shape & Size Ornamentally-attractive, berry-like fruits, each having a single seed 4–7 mm (3⁄16–1⁄4 in) long
Fruit Color Initially green turning to red as they mature
Flesh Color Red
Seed Single seed 4–7 mm (3⁄16–1⁄4 in) long
Propagation By cuttings and from seed
Lifespan 400 to 600 years of age
Taste Very sweet and a bit like a lychee
Plant Parts Used Berries, leaves
Season September to November
Culinary Uses
  • Fruit can be consumed raw, it is very  sweet and gelatinous, most people find it delicious though some find it sickly.
  •  All other parts of this plant, including the seed, are highly poisonous.
  • Some reports suggest using the bark as a tea substitute, this would probably be very unwise.

Plant Description

Yew Or Common Yew is a long-lived, medium sized, evergreen, conifer tree that normally grows about 10–20 m (35–65 ft.) tall (exceptionally up to 28 m or 92 ft.), with a trunk up to 2 m (6 ft. 7 in) (exceptionally 4 m or 13 ft. 1 in) in diameter. The plant is found growing in hedgerows, woodland, churchyards, parks and shady field edges and can also be grown and used as hedging. The plant can grow on almost all soil types with sufficient drainage, typically on humus and base-rich soils, but also on dry rendzina and sandy soils with adequate moisture. The yew is intolerant of prolonged frost and cold although its tolerance varies by region and season. They are moderately drought tolerant and can cope with temporary flooding but are susceptible to long term poor drainage. Root systems are shallow with extensive horizontal roots. Twigs are light green in color, turning brown after several years. Buds are green with scales keeled. Bark is dark, thin, usually red-purple, and scaly coming off in small flakes aligned with the stem.

Leaves

The leaves are flat, dark green, 1–4 centimeters (1⁄2–1+1⁄2 in) long and 2–3 mm (3⁄32–1⁄8 in) broad, arranged spirally on the stem, but with the leaf bases twisted to align the leaves in two flat rows either side of the stem, except on erect leading shoots where the spiral arrangement is more obvious. Leaves are dark green and shiny above, yellow or pale green below with 8-10 stomatal rows. The leaves are poisonous. Leaves are green all through the year but turn dull in the autumn color.

Leaf arrangement Alternate
Leaf type Simple
Leaf margin Entire
Leaf shape Linear
Leaf venation Parallel, none, or difficult to see
Leaf type and persistence Evergreen, needled evergreen
Leaf blade length Less than 2 inches
Leaf color Green
Fall color No color change
Fall characteristic Not showy

 

Flower

Flower of yew is dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers grow on separate trees. Flowers are visible in March and April from the leaf axils of the preceding summer’s twigs.

Male Flowers

They are not true flowers but clusters of stamen. The male flowers appear in February/March and start as Brussels sprout like growths that turn into pale yellow sacs of small spheres before opening to drop its anthers and release lots of pollen.

Female Flowers

The female flower is a single ovule covered in scale like bracts that when pollinated will develop over the summer into a seed surrounded in bright red sometimes yellow flesh.

Flower color Green, yellow
Flower characteristics Not showy

 

Fruit

Although classified as a conifer, female yews do not produce cones, but instead produce red, ornamentally-attractive, berry-like fruits, each having a single seed 4–7 mm (3⁄16–1⁄4 in) long, almost completely surrounded by a fleshy red aril. The aril is 8–15 mm (5⁄16–9⁄16 in) long and wide and opens at the end. The arils mature 6 to 9 months after pollination, and with the seed contained, are eaten by thrushes, waxwings and other birds, which disperse the hard seeds undamaged in their droppings. Maturation of the arils is spread over 2 to 3 months, increasing the chances of successful seed dispersal. The seeds themselves are poisonous and bitter, but are opened and eaten by some bird species including hawfinches, greenfinches and great tits.[14] The aril is not poisonous, it is gelatinous and very sweet tasting. The male cones are globose, 3–6 mm (1⁄8–1⁄4 in) in diameter, and shed their pollen in early spring. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested. Taxine, the toxic chemical, is found in the leaves, bark, and hard part of the seed.

Fruit shape Round
Fruit length Less than .5 inch
Fruit covering Fleshy
Fruit color Red
Fruit characteristics Attracts birds; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

 

Traditional uses and benefits of Yew

  • Leaf and fruit are used as an anti-spasmotic, sedative, and emmenagogue in India.
  • Leaf is also used as an aphrodisiac and is used to treat epilepsy, asthma, indigestion, and bronchitis.
  • It is also used as expectorant, pectoral, sedative, stomachic, tonic; abortifacient, antifertility, contraceptive; for headache, bilious, calculus, for cancer, carminative, cyanogenetic, epilepsy, lithontriptic, medicine Tacholm; giddiness, nerves, spasm; poison, vermifuge, insecticide.
  • Yew tree is a highly toxic plant that has occasionally been used medicinally, mainly in the treatment of chest complaints.
  • All parts of the plant, except the fleshy fruit, are antispasmodic, cardio tonic, and diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, narcotic and purgative.
  • Leaves have been used internally in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, hiccup, indigestion, rheumatism and epilepsy.
  • Externally, the leaves have been used in a steam bath as a treatment for rheumatism.
  • A homeopathic remedy is made from the young shoots and the berries.
  • It is used in the treatment of many diseases including cystitis, eruptions, headaches, heart and kidney problems etc.
  • In homoeopathy a tincture of the young shoots and also of the berries is used in a variety of diseases: cystitis, eruptions, headache and neuralgia, affections of the heart and kidneys, dimness of vision, and gout.
  • The oil derived from Yew bushes is best for treating breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Leaves are used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitism hiccough, epilepsy and indigestion.

Other Facts

  • The plant is very tolerant of trimming; this plant makes an excellent hedge.
  • Plants are often used in topiary and even when fairly old, the trees can be cut back into old wood and will resprout.
  • One report says that trees up to 1000 years old respond well to trimming.
  • Decoction of the leaves is used as an insecticide.
  • Wood is heavy, hard, durable, and elastic, takes a good polish but requires long seasoning.
  • It is also used for bows, tool handles etc.
  • It makes good firewood.
  • The wood was formerly much valued in archery for the making of long bows.
  • It has been suggested that the sacred tree at the Temple at Uppsala was an ancient yew tree.
  • The male plant part is allergic and female part is Anti-allergic.
  • Yew trees were often linked with immortality, as well as doom and death.
  • The inner bark produces a red dye, often used in religious ceremonies by Brahmins of Nepal.
  • Wood is burnt as incense in Nepal and parts of Tibet.

Precautions

  • All parts of the plant, except the flesh of the fruit, are highly poisonous, having a paralyzing effect on the heart.
  • Poisoning symptoms are dry mouth, vomiting, vertigo, abdominal pain, dyspnoea, arrhythmias, hypotension & unconsciousness.
  • Ingestion of 50-100 g of needles can cause death.
  • Ingestion of the seeds can cause trembling and difficult breathing.
  • The poison is highly toxic and may even cause death after 1-3 hours of ingestion.
  • The plant pollen may cause headache, lethargy, aching joints, itching and skin rashes.
  • It can also cause asthma.
  • It may cause abdominal pain, dyspepsia.
  • Not recommended for Pregnant and Breast feeding women.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=194883#null

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomydetail?id=80070

https://pfaf.org/User/plant.aspx?LatinName=Taxus+baccata

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=287305

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/y/yew—08.html

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/ST624

http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=115

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus_baccata

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-2434158

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/TAXBA

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/52812

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Taxus+wallichiana

https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=TABA80

79%
79%
Awesome

Comments

comments

Share.

Comments are closed.

DISCLAIMER

The content and the information in this website are for informational and educational purposes only, not as a medical manual. All readers are urged to consult with a physician before beginning or discontinuing use of any prescription drug or under taking any form of self-treatment. The information given here is designed to help you make informed decisions about your health. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor. If you are under treatment for any health problem, you should check with your doctor before trying any home remedies. If you are following any medication, take any herb, mineral, vitamin or other supplement only after consulting with your doctor. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical help. The Health Benefits Times writers, publishers, authors, its representatives disclaim liability for any unfavorable effects causing directly or indirectly from articles and materials contained in this website www.healthbenefitstimes.com