Agrimony - The Herb

Page Summary/Index:

General description, origin and history of Agrimony
Primary therapeutic effects of Agrimony
Minor and potential therapeutic effects of Agrimony
Cultivating Agrimony - how to grow Agrimony
Preparing Agrimony remedies and part used
Side effects or contra-indications of Agrimony
Properties of Agrimony
Constituents of Agrimony
 

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Common Name/s: Other Name/s: Botanical  name/s:
Agrimony, Common Agrimony Church Steeples, Sticklewort, Cocklebur, Stickwort Agrimonia Eupatoria,
Agrimonia odorata

General description and domicile:
Most of temperate parts of the northern hemisphere but claimed to have originated in England where the plant grows abundantly. It is found in ditches, hedges and fields.
Agrimony is perennial, has bright green, hairy leaves that are grey/silver underneath and flowers in July to early September. It hardly grows taller than two feet with the bottom leaves (pinnate) growing to around six to nine inches long with progressively smaller leaves higher up the plant. Numerous, small yellow flowers on long slender spikes. Although Agrimony belongs to the same order as the rose the flowers are modest in shape.
Some of the plants grow abnormally big, which, in times past, were classified as a different species (hence
Agrimonia odorata) but this is no longer a valid specie. It is more likely that it responds to better growing environment by growing bigger.

The use of Agrimony as a medicinal herb goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks and before. It was valued by the Greeks as a plant for healing eye infections and wounds. As with all the healing herbs it was tried for everything including jaundice, snake bites and gun wounds. Culpepper, like always, praised the plant for its healing powers as a decoction from anything from skin eruptions to ague and snake bite.

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Remedy Profile
Primary therapeutic effects:
Traditionally Agrimony has been used for diarrhea (particularly in children) colitis and sore throat. It is also effective against Colic, gall stones, cystitis and urinary infections.
It is used in topical application for skin infections and boils.

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Secondary therapeutic effects:
Some publications mention Agrimony as a treatment for Asthma but I have not been able to find any real corroborative evidence. 

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Minor and potential therapeutic effects:
These are differentiated from the major therapeutic effects of Agrimony for the following reasons: either the constituent that causes the effect is relatively weak (in other words marginal efficacy) or the constituent causing the effect is present in Agrimony but in such small quantities that it is too low in dosage.
Potential therapeutic effects are also noted here when there is some evidence of effect or efficacy but the information is either anecdotal or subjected to too little testing to be conclusive. Not all herbs have minor effects noted.

Experiments and tests indicate that Agrimony may be anti-diabetic and antiviral.
 

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How to choose the right remedy/Herb:
In many cases there are several herbal remedies to choose from. This can be very confusing. Our Choose the Herbal Remedy page explains how to refine your choice

Cultivation of Agrimony:
Agrimony can be grown from seed. It prefers shady areas but will also grow in direct sun. It does best in alkaline soils.

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Part used:
The entire herb.

 

Remedy preparation:
Because Agrimony contains a volatile oil excessive heat should not be used in the preparation of the extract to prevent the volatile oil from evaporating.

 

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Contra-indications:
None

 

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Properties:
Diuretic
Astringent (mild)
 

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Constituents:

Catechins: A condensed Tannin used in the cosmetic industry for brown and black coloring. It is astringent and may cause allergic reactions.

Tannins: Tannins are the largest group of polyphenols found widely in bark, wood, leaves and even some fruit. Widely used to tan animal hides in the leather production industry this constituent is an Astringent, works against inflammation in mucus membranes and other skin conditions, prevents bleeding of small wounds as well as uterine bleeding and is effective against diarrhoea and dysentery.

Tannins should be used with care as they tend to inhibit the absorption of other nutrients and substances therefore reducing the efficacy of other medicinal compounds in the medication.

Ellagitannins:

A Hydrolysable tannin. Ellagitannins break down in hydrolysis to ellagic acid and glucose. Ellagitannins are soluble in water and alcohol.
 

Hydrolysable Tannins:

Hydrolysable tannins are normally compounds that have a central core of glucose or other polyhydric alcohol esterified with gallic acid (gallotannins) or hexahydroxydiphenic acid (ellagitannins).

 

Quercetin:
A Flavonoid

Flavonoids: Flavonoids occur (as white and yellow plant pigments found almost as commonly as chlorophyll) as Glycosides or in a free state. In plants it is essential for protecting plant tissue from UV radiation and acts as antioxidants. As pigments it is also responsible for Autumn colors in leaves and yellow/red pigmentation in flowers.

Laboratory experiments have been conducted on the beneficiary effect of Flavonoids on the heart and circulatory system. Flavonoids are also used to mitigate stress, especially environmental stress. Flavonoids are often used for their antioxidant effect against free radicals. There are also strong indications that they have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive properties but dosage has not been determined which will obviously have a profound effect on their efficacy as a component of this herb.

Apigenin: A Flavone. Flavones are the most common substances in the flavonoid group. Apigenins have been shown to have spasmolytic and topical anti-inflammatory properties.

Flavonoids: Flavonoids occur (as white and yellow plant pigments found almost as commonly as chlorophyll) as Glycosides or in a free state. In plants it is essential for protecting plant tissue from UV radiation and acts as antioxidants. As pigments it is also responsible for Autumn colors in leaves and yellow/red pigmentation in flowers.

Laboratory experiments have been conducted on the beneficiary effect of Flavonoids on the heart and circulatory system. Flavonoids are also used to mitigate stress, especially environmental stress. Flavonoids are often used for their antioxidant effect against free radicals. There are also strong indications that they have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive properties but dosage has not been determined which will obviously have a profound effect on their efficacy as a component of this herb.

 

 

A Volatile oil

Small quantities of Triterpenes:
 

Triterpenes: A very wide group of compounds that include saponins and steroids some of which could be harmful.

Salicylic Acid C7H6O3:

Salicylic Acid rarely occurs in plants. It is mostly the glycosides like salicin that is found in plants.
Salicylic acid is a crystaline carboxylated phenol, Carboxylic acid and hydroxyl group included in a benzene ring. It is toxic in large doses but in smaller doses has many uses other than analgesic being a food preservative and important component in skin care products for the treatment of acne, psoriases, dandruff etc.
Salicylic acid must not be used by people that have an aspirin or salicytate sensitivity. It should also not be used by people that tend to gastric hemorrhage or suffer from low blood pressure.
Salicylic acid (in the form of Willow bark) has been used as an analgesic and febrifuge for hundreds of years but was first extracted from meadowsweet in pure form in 1938 and later synthesized by a German chemist (Kolbe) in 1860 (known as Kolbe-Schmidt reaction). In 1899 the Bayer Company started manufacturing it naming it Aspirin.


 

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