Agrimony is a medicinal herb that has been used since ancient times. It was once a very popular domestic herb in Britain and Europe and is still used today by modern herbalists.
Along with possessing powerful healing properties, agrimony has also been regarded as a magical plant in times past, even being given the nickname "fairy's wand".
Here's more about this lovely perennial herb and the top benefits of agrimony for your health.
What is Agrimony?
Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) is a plant that belongs to the rose family. It grows natively as a perennial in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, namely Europe, Asia, and Africa. (Closely related species also grow in North America.)
Agrimony has been given several common names over the years, including Cockeburr, Church Steeples, Sticklewort, and Garclive.
In appearance, agrimony has an upright habit and grows to be 2-3 feet tall. It has green, serrated leaves that are covered with soft hairs and blooms with tall spikes of bright yellow flowers.
The aerial parts of agrimony (leaves and flowers) have been used medicinally for centuries, particularly in the UK. The whole plant can also be used to dye fabric or wool yellow, and the hue changes depending on when the plant is harvested.
Even ancient Greek physicians valued this common herb with Pliny the Elder calling agrimony an "herb of sovereign power".
Benefits of Agrimony
Aids Wound Healing & Heavy Menstrual Cycles
Once nicknamed "the gunshot herb," agrimony has an ability to help blood coagulate and can be used to reduce bleeding either outside or inside the body.
Because of this, agrimony was used in medieval times to treat battlefield wounds and by the Anglo-Saxons for snakebites. It may not be used in this way anymore, but herbalists around the world still find it useful for small scrapes and wounds, inflammatory skin issues, sprains, and bruises.
Internally, agrimony can be used to help with heavy menstrual cycles and other conditions that involve bleeding. It's usually taken as a tea or decoction for this purpose.
Agrimony has bitter compounds that make it an excellent herb for digestion. Like other bitter herbs, it helps to stimulate the production of bile and digestive enzymes that help your body to digest and extract nutrients from food more effectively.
In addition, the high tannin content of agrimony gives it astringent properties that tone the tissues in your digestive tract and can help to ease mild diarrhea. The compounds in agrimony also soothe inflammation, making it useful for a range of digestive complaints.
Supports the Liver and Gallbladder
Your digestive system, liver, and gallbladder are all interconnected, which is why there are benefits of agrimony for supporting all three.
To give you a quick overview, your liver produces bile that your body needs to digest fats and other foods. Some of this bile is stored in your gallbladder as a "ready supply" to be released into your small intestine as needed.
The bitter nature of agrimony promotes proper bile production and flow, which helps your liver, gallbladder, and digestion to all function correctly. In Germany, agrimony has even been used to treat gallstones and liver cirrhosis.
Contains Antioxidants that Support Detox
Agrimony supports natural cleansing in several ways.
To begin with, your digestive tract and liver are major parts of your body's detoxification system, so helping them to function properly ensures that toxins are broken down and carried out of your body efficiently.
In addition, agrimony has diuretic effects, which means it helps to flush waste out of your kidneys by stimulating urination.
To help with detoxification even more, agrimony is rich in antioxidants like apigenin, kaempferol, and other flavonoids. These antioxidants help to "clean" toxins out of cells and also calm inflammation. (1)
Eases Respiratory Conditions & a Sore Throat
Agrimony has a history of use for certain types of respiratory issues, especially conditions involving the upper respiratory tract. It basically helps to tone tissues in the respiratory system, and its astringency can thin or dry mucus.
Because of its anti-inflammatory nature, you can also use agrimony as a tea or gargle for a sore throat. It's still used by performers and speakers today to relax the throat and ease any irritation before a performance.
Other Potential Benefits of Agrimony
The name agrimony comes from the Greek word argemone, which loosely translates to "that which heals the eyes" and speaks to agrimony's past use for eye issues. Though not often used that way today, some herbalists will still make an eye wash from it for itching or burning eyes.
According to old English folklore, agrimony was also once used for sleep. It was simply placed under a person's head, and they would continue to sleep until it was removed. (Or so the manuscripts say.)
Fast forwarding to modern times, several studies have shown that agrimony has anti-diabetic effects and may help to balance blood sugar and assist with insulin secretion in the body. (2)
How to Use Agrimony
The most common way to use agrimony is as a tea or tincture.
To make it into tea, simply place 1-2 teaspoons of dried agrimony into a mug or heatproof container and pour 8-10 ounces of just boiled water over it. Let it steep for 10-15 minutes before straining and drinking.
To use agrimony as a skin wash, make a stronger tea with 5-6 teaspoons of the herb and 1-2 cups of water. The tea can be sprayed or applied with a cloth to the affected area of skin.
Keep in mind that agrimony does have bitterness to it, so you may want to use a sweetener like honey if you are taking it as a tea. You can also add other more pleasant herbs, like lemon balm, to your mix.
For detoxification, agrimony works well with other cleansing herbs like dandelion root or cleavers.
Agrimony is a very safe herb to use and can be taken freely by most people.
However, it does contain a high amount of tannins, which may cause mild digestive upset if taken in a large amount for too long, especially if your constitution is on the dry side.
It has no known effects when taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding, but you may want to consult with a qualified herbalist before consuming it to be sure it's right for you.
An Herb with a Story
Many people in the U.S. aren't familiar with agrimony, but it has a rich history in other areas of the world, particularly the UK and Europe. It's a gentle herb but can help with many common ailments like an upset digestion or a sore throat.
Try this herb for yourself and discover why it has been used for centuries!
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice and should not be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your health care provider, herbalist, midwife, or naturopathic physician before taking herbs, supplements, etc. Here's the link to our full disclaimer.