Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria, Agrimonia parviflora, Agrimonia striata)
Agrimony is a common woodland plant in Europe, North America and Canada. It has tall yellow flower spikes and may go by the names of cocklebur, church steeples, sticklewort and philanthropos. When the flowers fade, they are replaced by a sticky little ball that will stick to your clothing if you brush against the plant. The flowers and the leaves have a light lemony scent when crushed between your fingers. Folklore says that witches used this herb to ward off hexes and negative energies.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally The English have long used it as a tonic to recover from colds, diarrhea and fever. It can make a good alternative mouth wash or gargle due to its astringency. In the past, this herb has been used for sore throat, incontinence, kidney stones, fever and arthritis.
Externally The herb can be used as a lotion for minor sores or ulcers. A strong decoction can be applied to the skin for pimples, blemishes and sores. Agrimony is known as Xian He Cao in Chinese medicine and is used to stop bleeding. It promotes the formation of clotting around the wound. Some study is going on to see how effective agrimony is for athlete's foot.
Other Uses The herb is used to make one of the Bach's Flower Remedies, which is a type of homeopathic medicine. Some like to take the tea as a beverage, or use the flowers to make home-brewed beer. The dried flowers can be used in sachets or potpourris.
Aerial parts - Aerial parts are the most commonly used. There is some documentation for using the roots on occasion.
Agrimony should not be taken by pregnant women. It is not recommended for constipation. This herb can cause photosensitivity, so if you are taking it, stay out of the sun. Use caution if you are diabetic, as some studies show it may lower blood sugar.
Preparation and Dosage
Internally - To dry agrimony, hang small bundles of the aerial parts in a dark dry place for a few days or a week. Make sure the area is well ventilated. For tea, infuse 1 teaspoon of dried agrimony leaves, root or flowers in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain out the herb. Sweeten with honey if desired. Drink 1 cup per day as a blood purifier.
For commercial preparations, follow the directions carefully. If using a tincture, use 1 teaspoon daily.