Agrimony

“Agrimony”

220px-Illustration_Agrimonia_eupatoria0.jpg

Valued today as a healing herb for the mucous membranes as well as for its astringent properties to stop bleeding.

Anglo-Saxons called it “Garclive” and used it to treat wounds and skin blemishes. During Medieval times it was a treatment for internal bleeding, in combination with pounded frogs.

In these times Agrimony was also used in herbal ‘charms’ and was thought to bring on ‘deep sleep’. Folklore says that Witches used Agrimony to be rid of ‘negative-energies’. Prevents ‘meddling and interference’.

Agrimony has been used since Saxon times for wounds and was the prime ingredient for ‘Arquebusade Water’ in the 15th century, which was used as a battlefield remedy for gunshot wounds.

The healing power is now attributed to the herb’s high silica content. Dorothy Hall suggests high silica plants are hinted to where there is a ‘hook-shaped’ seed, thorn, or leaf.


Botanical Name: Agrimonia eupatoria

Family Name: Rosaceae

Parts Used: Aerial Parts. These are best gathered before and during early flowering in Summer. Grows best in cool, moist areas.

Qualities: Cool, drying, bitter and ASTRINGENT to taste. Dry 1st degree and hot 1st degree.

‘Yellow flowers’ – These hint as its usefulness in conditions involving the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and kidneys, as well as a use for the elimination systems e.g. yellow faeces instead of brown, or for cases involving stagnant lymphatics.

AGRIMONY HAS AN AFFINITY FOR THE LIVER AND KIDNEYS with secondary effects in the bowels.


Phase of Life and Emotional Qualities: Dawning. A person who may be suffering inside, but wear a mask for the outside world to show that “all is well” although it is clearly not.  A person who could benefit from Agrimony is “torturedly cheerful”.

Recommended herb for people who have suffered a shock or a traumatic experience that caused them to hold their breath.  They may feel like they have been holding their breath ever since this moment. Agrimony may help remind these people to breathe again and release tension held in the body. 

These people may feel “caught in a bind”. 

Also recommended for individuals that also carry everything, tension and stress, in their stomachs and abdomen. This herb helps to relieve tension (e.g. digestive, liver, female reproductive).

“Agrimony patients try to hold back the pain and not complain”


Constituents: 

  • Tannins
  • Silica
  • Essential Oil (said to help fight bacteria)
  • Bitter Principle
  • Flavonoids
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins B & K
  • Carotene (Hall)
  • Choline (Hall)

“If it be leyd under mann’s heed, He shal sleepyn as he were deed, He shall never drede ne wakyn, Till fro under his heed it be takyn”- Medieval medical manuscript


Actions:

  • Astringent (Mild)
  • Diuretic
  • Stimulates Liver Function and is considered a hepatic herb, especially to support liver function where there are signs of tension and constricted liver chi
  • Prescribed for ‘symptoms originating from the liver, from the kidneys and from any infection or irritation which cause either of these important organs to function poorly’ (Dorothy Hall)
  • GALLBLADDER CONNECTION:
    • Cholagogue
    • Choleretic
    • Tension and constriction of the gallbladder, such as gallbladder ‘headaches’ where there is gallbladder pain radiating up shoulder, neck into head
    • Uneven distribution of bile (Hall)
    • Difficulty with fat digestion
  • Tissue healer – particularly the mucus membranes where there is tension or ulceration
  • Ulcerations of lower extremities
  • Stops bleeding
  • Stimulates bile flow
  • Bitter tonic / digestive
  • Some antiviral activity reported
  • Mild emmenagogue (Purcell)
agrimony

Indications:

  • Cooling Astringent – used in ‘HOT’ conditions
    • Diarrhoea
    • Haemorrhoids
    • Bronchitis
    • Urinary infections (especially with lumbar pain)
    • Allergies 
  • Clear inflammations, phlegm and toxins
  • Encourage healing
  • Skin inflammations – including internal mucous membrane tonic and topically for skin inflammations and burns
  • Ulcers
  • Gallbladder (if liver is liver stagnant)
  • Gallbladder pain (associated with migraine)
  • Stone passing – kidney and gallbladder (traditional)
  • Calm digestion and digestive tension
  • Stem bleeding from cuts
  • Anti-inflammatory for gastritis, indigestion and heartburn
  • Anorexia (Thomsen)
  • Hypochlorhydria
  • Anaemia (acts indirectly to tone the GIT and improve absorption and assimilation)
  • Uterus tension – i.e. irregular menses (present but not consistent)
  • Colitis
  • Cystitis
  • Bed wetting in children – specific where there is anxiety about toilet training
  • Liver damage – alcohol and/or drug abuse.  Fits the emotional picture of addict who tries to ‘put on a cheerful disposition’ despite emotional tension.  There can often be a family Hx of alcohol or drug addiction and abuse.
  • Tension – physical or emotional
  • Stolls – Loose, yellow, fatty or floating
 
SUMMARY:
 
Especially useful when there is an astringent action on the digestive system required. Agrimony’s tonic action is due to its bitter stimulation of digestive and liver secretions, and its gallbladder connection to these.
 
Specific for childhood diarrhoea and mucus colitis.
 
Traditionally used as a Spring tonic.
 
Can be used for irregular menses due to stress, shock, tension (e.g. for women who feel like they need to constantly hold their breath).
 
 

 
DOROTHY HALL’S PERSON-PICTURE OF AGRIMONY:
  • Nausea, even vomiting – combined with diarrhoea and spasmodic gripes / contractions.
  • Lower back pain / lumbar pain associated with kidney / uterus / intestines
  • ‘Intestinal hurry’ – alternating diarrhoea and constipation
  • Bright, cheerful and fun-loving on the surface, although underneath real feeling are suppressed and hidden and very rarely expressed. The Agrimony patient ‘edits’ their personality in order to please and be liked by others.  This suppression can lead to liver congestion and manifest as tension in the body.

CHRONIC PICTURE:

  • Overburdened liver can begin to crave increasing stimulus and distraction or suppression- e.g. alcohol, coffee, sugar.  Addiction and spent adrenals are common. Agrimony patients are often trill seekers to distract from their worries and tension.
  • Bowels – tension leads to nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition, especially of fats. Can be constantly loose or suffer from constipation (holding on to feelings) with several episodes of ‘release’.

Contraindications: None  Known

Caution: Herb is astringent therefore avoid if experience constipation

Bone suggests professional supervision in pregnancy and lactation (mild emmenagogue).

CAUTION when combining with anti-diabetic medications due to theorised additive effects (Hechtman 2018).

Discontinue 7 days prior to general anaesthesia.

CAUTION: Check interaction for TANNIN / OPC-CONTAINING HERBS and separate dose from minerals / food by 2 hours (e.g. Iron, Minerals, Zinc)


Dosage: 

Take away from food

INFUSION: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried agrimony. Infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink three times a day.

TINCTURE: 1-3ml of tincture three times a day (Hoffman)

Bone – 15 to 30 ml week (20-30 ml week of 1:2 L.E.- Thomsen)

(45% ethanol content in MediHerb 1:2)

DROP DOSE:

5 drops t.d.s (Wood)

20 – 40 drops t.d.s. (PPC)


Other Uses:

  • Infusion: A gentle remedy that is ideal for diarrhoea in infants and children. Can be taken by breast feeding mothers to dose baby.
  • Tincture: More potent and drying than the infusion, and is effective if condition involves excess phlegm or mucus. Use for cystitis, UTIs, bronchitis and heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Poultice: Apply poultice of leaves for migraines or to help relieve pain from burns (macerate first).
  • Wash: Use infusion for wounds, sores, acne, eczema and varicose ulcers.
  • Eyewash: Weak infusion (10g herb to 500ml water) for conjunctivitis.
  • Gargle: Infusion used as gargle for sore throat and nasal catarrh. Also for SORES of the MOUTH (e.g. ulcers).

Combinations:

  • Use with carminatives for digestive problems (Hoffman) – e.g. Fennel

OTHER RESOURCES:

Agrimony: Bach Flower Remedy

Modern Herbal – Agrimony

Annie’s Remedy – Agrimony

How to Grow Agrimony in your Garden 

Ody, Penelope (1998). The Herb Society’s Complete Medicinal Herbal. Milan: Dorling Kindersley
 
Hoffman, D. Holistic Herbal. Pg. 175
 
Bone, K. (2003) Guide to blending liquid herbs.
 
Hall, Dorothy. Dorothy Hall’s Herbal Medicine 
 
Pursell, J.J. The Woman’s Herbal Apothecary
 
Wood, M. The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines
 

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