- Agrimonia eupatoria L.
- Rose family
Parts Usually Used
Dried whole plant before flowering, without the roots.
Description of Plant(s) and
A perennial plant with an erect stem (2-3 feet tall) with few branches, bearing pinnate leaves; and a terminal leafless flower spike, with many small, bright yellow, five-petalled flowers. The leaves narrow and about 5 inches long, have alternating pairs of large and small, saw-toothed leaflets. The whole plant is deep green and is covered with soft hairs. Fruits are upside-down cones, covered with hooked bristles on the top.
Golden star-shaped flowers have a mild apricot scent.
This is not the generally known troublesome cockleburr.
Agrimony grows best in light shade and dryish soil.
Agrimonia eupatoria is listed in early American herbals as Agrimonia gryposepala.
Other varieties: Agrimonia parviflora, used interchangeably with A.eupatoria reported here; and A. Pilosa, thought to have antitumor activity. (Also called cucklbur is Xanthium strumarium)
Grows abundantly by roadsides, at field edges, and on wasteland, and on the northern prairies and in Canada. A European native. Good rock garden plant.
Astringent, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, hemostatic (stops bleeding), analgesic, and promotes bile flow, tonic
Tannins, bitter glycosides, nicotinic acid amide, silicic acid, vitamins B and K, iron and essential oil.
Legends, Myths and Stories
Mainly valued today as a healing herb for the mucous membranes and for its astringent properties to stop bleeding. It has been used since Saxon times for wounds. In the 15th century, it was the prime ingredient of "arquebusade water", a battlefield remedy for gunshot wounds. This healing power is now attributed to the herb's high silica content. A related variety, (A. pilosa) known as xian he cao in China, is used in a similar way.
Good for dry coughs, where its effect is gently sedative. Some forms of rheumatism are helped. Considered a liver tonic.
Sometimes known as liverwort. Helps liver, spleen, kidney problems.
In France they drink agrimony as much for its flavor as for its medicinal virtues. Tea believed to be helpful in diarrhea, blood disorders, fevers, colds, sore throat, indigestion, mucus colitis, gout, hepatitis, gallbladder and gallstones, jaundice, dropsy, diarrhea, snakebites, pimples, indigestion, conjunctivitis, a gargle for sore throats and even worms.
A poultice made from fresh leaves and roots can be used to treat bruises, wounds, ulcers, draw out thorns and splinters, and sores.
It also may be used as a suppository, combining the extract with cocoa butter and inserting into the rectum for hemorrhoids, tapeworms, and diarrhea.
Formulas or Dosages
Prepare a standard infusion: drink a wineglassful 3 times per day.
Mix an ounce of the dried plant with one pint of boiling water, sweeten with honey, and drink 1/2 cup as frequently as you like.
Infusion: steep 2 to 4 tsp. dried leaves or herb in 1 cup boiling water. Take 1 cup per day, unsweetened, a mouthful at a time.
Decoction: for external use, boil 2 to 4 oz. dried leaves or herb in 1 qt. water.
Powder: take 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. plant powder a day.
Vitamins B and K, iron
Because this herb is astringent, do not take if suffering from constipation.