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This article is from the Herb Reference series.


Other Names:

Church steeples

Latin Name:

Agrimonia eupatoria
Family: Rosaceae

In ancient Greece, Agrimony was prescribed for eye complaints. The Anglo-Saxons called Agrimony Garclive and used it primarily to treat wounds. In Chaucer's time herbalists still prescribed it for wounds. They also mixed it with mugwort and vinegar to treat patients with back pain.

At the end of the sixteenth century, herbalist prescribed Agrimony remedies for rheumatism, gout, and fevers. In the United States and Canada, up through the late 1800's, Agrimony was used to treat digestive problems, bowel complaints, asthma, coughs, and sore throats.

In its wild state, agrimony can be found growing extensively throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. A hardy perennial, its natural habitat is woods and fields, but it takes to cultivation easily.

The deep green perennial herb both the flowers and the leaves give off a faint characteristic lemony scent when crushed.

Stems: cylindrical, slightly rough stem It is covered with a fine, silky down and has branches one to two feet long.

Flowers: Spikes of cream-colored or yellow, 3/8 inch across; 5 egg-shaped petals slighly notched at end; 5-12 stamens, grow close and profusely on spikes. Flowers apear in July and August.

Leaves: Alternate, odd pinate, toothed, and downy; lower leaves 7-8 inches long and have more leaflets; upper leaves 3 inches long with fewer leaflets; leaflets vary in size with small ones alternating between much larger ones; largest leaflets measure 1-1 1/2 inches long.

Fruit: fter the flowers fade they give place to tiny clinging "burrs" which will quickly adhere to your clothing if you brush by the plant in a hedgerow.

Height: To 5 feet.

Cultivation: For garden growing, give the herb sun or partial sun and regular watering, an plant from seed or propagate by root division in spring or fall. Gather the herb in summer while the flowers are in bloom.

Collection: Gather when flowers are just blooming and dry in the shade.

Agrimony contains tannin, vitamins B and K, glycosidal bitters, nicotinic acid, silicic acid, iron, and a volatile, essential oil. Like most samples, the uses to which it is put are remarkably varied. The English use it to make a delicious "spring" or "diet" drink for purifying the blood. It is considered especially useful as a tonic for aiding recovery from winter colds and fevers.
Digestive tonic
Hepatic tonic
As agrimony also posesses an astringent action, it is frequently used as an herbal mouthwash, eyewash, and gargle ingredient, and is applied externally in the form of a lotion to minor sores. It has also been recommended, as a strong decoction, to cure sores, blemishes, and pimples.

The Chinese herbalists have recommended it to stop bleeding of the intestines, of the uterus between menstrual periods, and they have prescribed it for patients with blood cells in their urine.

The Zulu use it in cases of tapeworm.

Agrimony Tea, a Gentle Blood Purifier:

Infuse 1 teaspoon dried agrimony root, leaves, or flowers in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain and flavor with honey and a little licorice root if desired. Take upto 1 cup per day.

A good yelow dye can be made from fresh leaves and stems harvested in late fall. Alum is the recomended mordant for a brassy yellow color. And for a gold color use chrome.


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