Taxus baccata or Yew has important medicinal Uses. The yew tree is a highly toxic plant that has occasionally been used medicinally, mainly in the treatment of chest complaints.
Modern research has shown that the plants contain the substance 'taxol' in their shoots. Taxol has shown exciting potential as an anti-cancer drug, particularly in the treatment of ovarian cancers. Unfortunately, the concentrations of taxol in this species are too low to be of much value commercially, though it is being used for research purposes. This remedy should be used with great caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes above on toxicity.
All parts of the plant, except the fleshy fruit, are antispasmodic, cardiotonic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, narcotic and purgative. The 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, rheumatism etc.
It is noted that, some plants are poisonous and must remain out of reach for small children. Children do not see the difference between harmful and harmless plants, especially when they once in a while picked blackberries and know how well they are. The plant with poisonous fruits are golden rain (Laburnum anagyroides), taxus (Taxus baccata ), lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), common box (Buxus sempervirens) and holly (Ilex aquifolium).