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Agrimony

Agrimonia eupatoria

Herbs gallery - Agrimony



Common names

  • Agrimony
  • Burr Marigold
  • Church Steeples
  • Cocklebur
  • Harvest Lice
  • Liverwort
  • Philanthropos
  • Rat's Tail
  • Stickwort
  • White Tansy

The herb known as the agrimony is a very pretty looking plant. The herb has spikes that bear rows of tiny yellow flowers-known as church steeples. The agrimony is also characterized by having fruits that are marked by hooked bristles - cockleburs - at the top or towards the tips. The flower is found growing wild on the side of agricultural fields and by the roadsides, woods also have many agrimony plants growing wild within them. Traditionally used in healing, agrimony is typically used by herbalist as a sleep inducing remedy-though, the plant itself possess no known narcotic properties. It is believed that when the agrimony is placed under a person's head, it will induce a deep sleep in the person and the sleep will last as long as the herb is kept near the person.

Parts used

Aerial parts.

Uses

The other traditional use of the agrimony in herbal remedy has been as a healing aid for wounds-applications of this herb will staunch bleeding and will promote the formation of clots in the area of the wound, the herb has been used in this role for a very long time. The agrimony is slightly bitter tasting and acts as an astringent on wounds. The herbal remedy prepared from the agrimony is also used as an effective remedy for the treatment of diarrhea. A gentle tonic prepared from the herb also aids the digestion and is beneficial to the digestive system. Agrimony is also used in combination herbal formulas along with other herbs such as the corn silk-such a combination herbal remedy helps in treating cystitis and problems related to urinary incontinence in an affected person. The combination remedy has also been successfully employed in the treatment of kidney stones, common disorders like sore throats and rheumatism, and even disorders like arthritis in many people.

The agrimony has a very long history as far as its use in herbal medicine is concerned, this is besides the folklores connected to its reputed remedial properties. It has indeed been seen as a panacea through the ages, and the English poet Michael Drayton once proclaimed it as an "all-heal" remedy-thus all these remarkable powers were attributed to this herb. In other cultures, notably the ancient Greeks, all eye ailments were commonly treated using herbal remedies prepared from the agrimony. They also used the plant to make herbal brews as a cure for diarrhea and other internal disorders of vital organs such as the gallbladder, the liver, and the kidneys. Other societies such as the Anglo-Saxons were also known to prepare an herbal solution from the leaves and seeds of the agrimony to be used in the healing of all kinds of physical wounds on the body. The herbal use of the agrimony continued all through the Middle Ages and is used even now, in the form of a herbal preparation known as the eau d' arquebusade, or the "musket-shot water." These days, herbal remedies made from the agrimony herb are suggested in the treatment of athlete's foot in all individuals affected by this disorder.

The herb was extensively used in the treatment of many types of illnesses, and in the United States and Canada, till late into the 19th century, herbal remedies prepared from the agrimony were being used to treat all types of skin diseases, the remedy was also usually prescribed for asthma, to treat persistent coughs, and the remedy was also used in the treatment of gynecological complaints of all kinds. The herbal remedy was also used as a gargle for treating sore throat in affected patients.

Other medical uses
Culinary uses

The herb can be used in the preparation of a very pleasant tasting and honey-flavored tea. Prepare the herbal remedy in this way, use 250ml or a cup of boiling water to steep 5 to 10 ml-about 1 to 2 teaspoons of powdered agrimony, if this is unavailable, you can also use 15 ml-or three teaspoons of lightly crushed fresh agrimony leaves in 250 ml-let the herb diffuse slowly into the water. This tea can then be cooled and strained, and if you prefer it, then it can be sweetened using some honey or it may be flavored with the herbal sweetener licorice. Another great idea is to add the fresh flowers of the agrimony to home brewed beer as an herbal taste enhancers-which will also bring many beneficial effects.

Craft uses

Any sweet-smelling plant sachets and potpourris can be improved by including fragrant agrimony flowers in the mix.

Habitat and cultivation

All types of wetlands and marshes, wet meadows, and general open areas are the kinds of habitats where this native European herb is likely to be found. The normal season for harvesting agrimony is when it flowers-during the summer.
Almost all soil types support the growth of agrimony. However, the plant itself is naturally adapted to growth on alkaline soils, it can however, tolerate slightly acidic soil in most cases. The herb will require water during the dry periods or it will fail to flower-this is despite the fact that the plant itself is quite easy to cultivate on dry soils. Agrimony prefers rather full sun. The plant is sturdy and can also tolerate partial shade. The seeds must be sown out of doors on open ground, in the early spring. Germination of the seeds can be significantly promoted by storing the seeds in damp soil within the refrigerator for a period of six weeks prior to the planting of the plantlets. Seedlings and seeds may be planted a cm or half an inch deep into the soil. Agrimony will perpetuate by self seeding, once it has become established in the soil.
This useful herb can also be propagated by root division techniques. The ideal way to grow agrimony is to divide growing plants in the spring time so as to provide the time necessary for the winter buds to form within the plants. Make sure that a live stem is included, when dividing the crown of the plant. It is a good idea to space the rowing plants at least twenty five cm or ten inches apart. The agrimony is normally free of pest and can be considered as a disease free herb.

Research

Herbal researchers in China have confirmed the anti-inflammatory and the blood staunching properties of the agrimony herb in various researches conducted on this herb.

Constituents

Agrimony contains tannins, coumarins, flavonoids, including luteolin, volatile oil, and polysaccharides.

Usual dosage

Prepare the herbal agrimony infusion by using a cup of boiling water as a medium to infuse one to two teaspoonfuls of the dried agrimony herb, allow the herb to infuse for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. The infusion can then be cooled and strained-this infusion can be used thrice every day as an herbal remedy. The herbal tincture can be given to use in dosages of one to three ml of tincture thrice every day during the treatment of the individual.

Side effects and cautions

The herbal remedies made from agrimony must be used carefully, as they are known to cause certain susceptible individuals to experience the symptoms of photo dermatitis, which is a type of skin rash that can develop following the consumption of the herb and which comes on when the person's skin is subsequently exposed to direct sunlight.
It has also been observed in some studies, that remedies made from the agrimony can actually lower the blood pressure of the person using it. For this reason, the herbal remedies made from this herb must not be consumed by those undergoing anticoagulant therapy or those under drug treatment for any high or low blood pressure problems.
The menstrual cycle is also supposedly affected by herbal remedies made from the agrimony. Pregnant women and nursing mothers must avoid the use of these herbal agrimony remedies for this reason. The moderate consumption of herbal agrimony tea is also advised partly because it has very high tannin content. The harmful effects of the ingested tannins in the herbal agrimony tea can be blunted by adding milk to the herbal agrimony tea.

Applications

Aerial parts / leaves:
INFUSION - The remedial actions of infusions made from the agrimony are gentle remedies, ideally suited to the treatment of diarrhea, particularly those which types tend to affect infants and small children. The herbal remedies can also be used by breastfeeding mothers as an herbal dose to treat diarrhea in their babies.
TINCTURE - This herbal remedy is much more potent and has a greater drying effect compared to the herbal infusion, the effectiveness of this tincture also greatly increases if the condition is one which involves the production of excessive phlegm or excess mucus. This herbal tincture can be used in the treatment of disorders such as cystitis, it can be used in the treatment of all manners of urinary infections, it finds use in the treatment of bronchitis, and in the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding in women.
POULTICE The herbal poultice made from the agrimony can be applied directly on to the head as a topical relief measure from migraines this herbal poultice is usually made from the leaves of the agrimony herb.
WASH The agrimony can also be used in the form of an herbal wash or herbal infusion to cleanse and disinfect wounds, all types of sores, to treat eczema, and in the treatment of varicose ulcers.
EYEWASH - A weakened form of the herbal infusion, usually a mix of 10 gm herb to 500 ml water can be used as eyewash to clear conjunctivitis and related eye infections.
GARGLE The herbal infusions made from the agrimony can also be used to treat sore throats and nasally accumulated mucus.

Collection and harvesting

The ideal time to collect and harvest agrimony is when the plant is in full bloom-carefully pick the leaves, the flowers, and the stems during the late spring or early summer-a time when agrimony usually flowers. The parts which are plucked can be used fresh in herbal remedies or then may be dried and stored for use at a later time.
Find a shaded location, without direct glare from the sun - to dry agrimony, carefully spread out the leaves, the flowers, and the stems on a wire rack - the place where drying takes place must be suitably dry and warm at all times. Airtight jars can be used to store the powdered and crumbled down plant material - these can then be placed in storage and the powder can be used as and when needed.

Antacid wine

  • 1 cup (40 g) fresh agrimony leaves
  • 3 cups (750 ml) red wine
  • 1/4 cup (10 g) oak bark
  • 1/2 cup (20 g) alfalfa leaves

Macerate the crushed plants in the wine for 1 month. Strain. Drink 2 T (25 ml) 3 times daily to eliminate stomach hyperacidity.

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