encyclopedia

Agrimony

 


Scientific Names: 
Agrimonia eupatoria L. [Fam. Rosaceae] 
 
Forms: 
Extract of leaves, flowers, and branches of agrimony. 
 
Traditional Usage: 
 – Acute Breathing Disorders
– Bites
– Bladder Health Maintenance
– Bruises
– Coughs
– Diarrhea
– Eyesight Disorders
– Female Health Maintenanc    
– Gastroenteritis
– Intestinal Catarrh
– Liver Health Maintenance
– Menopause
– Menstrual Health Maintenance
– Muscle Cramps and Pain
– Poultice
– Respiratory Health Maintenance
– Skin Disorders
– Skin Irritations
– Sore Throat
– Sprains
– Stings
– Sugar Regulation
– Warts
– Wounds 
 
 
 
Overview: 
Agrimony, Agrimonia eupatoria L. [Fam. Rosaceae], also known as church steeples, cockleburr, and stickwort, is a perennial commonly found in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. The name «Agrimonia» comes from «argemone, » the word given by the ancient Greeks to plants that healed the eyes. «Eupatoria» comes from the name of King Mithradates Eupator who was skilled in mixing herbal remedies. The Anglo-Saxons used agrimony to heal wounds, bites, and warts, and the French still use it to treat sprains and bruises. A mild astringent, agrimony may be ingested, used as a throat and mouth gargle, or as a poultice. It is often used by singers and public speakers, and in France, agrimony tea is a popular and pleasant beverage. Agrimony has a long history of use and was at one time prescribed for a variety of aliments and conditions, however there is not enough scientific evidence to support many of these claims. In folk medicine, it was given for gall-bladder problems. Although it is most often taken for diarrhea, throat and mouth inflammation, and skin irritations, agrimony is also believed to relieve acute breathing disorders, tuberculosis, bronchitis, kidney and urinary problems, jaundice and liver conditions, gout, internal bleeding, menstrual problems, irritation from wounds and bites, skin eruptions, rheumatism, and the pain and swelling associated with sprains and bruises. According to a medical review published in April 2001 by researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, the lay press often promotes agrimony for treating and preventing urogenital problems in pre- and post-menopausal women. However, no clinical evidence yet exists to support these specific uses. Animal studies demonstrate the presence of antihyperglycaemic, insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity in Agrimony eupatoria; the ability of agrimony extract to enhance insulin secretion was dependent on the use of heat during extract preparation.  
 
 
 
Active Ingredients: 
Agrimony aerial parts contain: 4-10% condensed tannins and trace amounts of ellagitannins and gallotannins; approximately 20% polysaccharides. Triterpenes, including ursolic acid; up to 12% silicic acid; flavonoids, including luteolin and apigenin 7-O-b-D-glucosides; traces of essential oil (but only when A. procera is present in the drug; other date refer to ubiquitous plant substances.  
 
 
 
Suggested Amount: 
Agrimony tea can be made by pouring boiling water over 1.5 grams (1 teaspoon = 1 gram) of finely chopped agrimony, steeping it for 5 minutes, and then straining. For intestinal problems drink one cup 2 to 3 times per day. This infusion may also be used as a gargle or mouth rinse. Externally, poultices with a 10% decoction may be applied several times per day.  
 
 
 
Drug Interactions: 
None known.
 
 
 
Contraindications: 
None known.
 
 
 
Side Effects: 
None known if used as directed. Excessive use may cause constipation and other digestive problems. 
 
 
 
References: 
Duke JA. 1985. Agrimony. In Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, p. 23-24.
 
Gray AM, Flatt PR. 1998. Actions of the traditional anti-diabetic plant, Agrimony eupatoria (agrimony): effects on hyperglycaemia, cellular glucose metabolism and insulin secretion. Br J Nutr 1998 Jul; 80(1): 109-14.
 
Swanston-Flatt SK, Day C, Bailey CJ, Flatt PR. 1990. Traditional plant treatments for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice. Diabetologia 1990 Aug; 33(8): 462-4.
 
Wichtl M and NG Bisset (eds). 1994. Agrimony. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, Pp. 49 – 51.
 
Willhite LA, O'Connell MB. 2001. Urogenital atrophy: prevention and treatment. Pharmacotherapy 2001 Apr; 21(4): 464-80.