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Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




AgrimonyHemp AgrimonyWater Agrimony



AGRIMONY
a.k.a. Argemoney (Greek - argemos), Cocklebur, Sticklewort, Church Steeples
(Agrimonia eupatoria)
Also - A. gryposepala
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CONTAINS: High in tannins (5%); high in silica (stimulating excretion of irritating organisms and substances); choline, carotene, organic acids, volatile oil, glycosidal bitters, salicic acid, nicotinic acid, iron, vitamins B and K, flavonoids (luteolin, apigenin, quercin), polysaccharides (20%), and coumarins.

A perennial member of the rose family native to Europe. Best grown in the mid-border. Flowering stalk reaches 2 to 4 feet from bushy, leafy growth. Leaflets are serrated (pinnate), being green above and grayish beneath. The small star-shaped, yellow flowers are apricot scented. Found growing wild at the edge of woods, the sides of fields, waste places, roadsides and along fences. Seed capsules are burrs and can be a nuisance attaching themselves to pet fur and clothing.

PROPAGATION: By seed and by root division. Said to be a tender perennial by some, but is hardy in zone 5 with only a minimum of shelter. Will readily self sow.
NEEDS: Part sun. Average to dry soil. Susceptible to powdery mildew.
HARVEST: Leaves, stems and flowers for tea. Leaves and stems in late fall for brightest yellow dye. The herb before flowering (May and June) for medicinal purposes. The flowers should not be harvested where the spiny burrs are beginning to develop. Milder than Cranesbill but with a wider range of healing.
PART USED: Dried leaves, flowers, roots; also fresh leaves for poultice.
Related varieties: A. pilosa (Chinese medicine) , A. striata (North American), A. gryposepala, and A. odorata

USES

NOTES: Should NOT be used where dryness of body secretions exists, since the herb is 'drying' in action (ie: constipation, dry mouth, etc). Gentian is similar in action and can be prepared together with agrimony as a tea or tincture (4 oz. herb to 1 pint alcohol). Boiling water is a solvent as is alcohol. When fresh leaves are used as a poultice, the treated skin should NOT be exposed to sunlight as can cause a rash.

MEDICINAL:
Considered to be an astringent, bitter tonic, diuretic, vulnery, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, carminative, hepatic, cholagogue (increases bile to the intestines through stimulation of the liver), and analgesic. Some antiviral activity reported.
As a wound healer - Chinese research shows 40-50% increase in coagulation of blood by increasing the number of platelets concerned with clotting.
Once used for treating tuberculosis.
Used for fever.
Good for phlegm or mucous conditions, bronchitis and heavy menses.
A digestive system tonic especially suited for the elderly.
Used for colitis and inflammatory conditions of the intestines. Usually combined with other carminatives for digestive problems.
Also has a history of use as a spring tonic to purify the blood.
Primary herb for appendicitis (usually used with Calendula).
Secondarily used for childhood indigestion, chronic appendicitis,and colitis.
Used by Native Americans for fever.
Used to tone the entire body when debility is present.
Warm decoction was once used before a seizure to allay its severity.
Useful in cases of renal infection, nephritis and bloody urine.
Used for scrofulous sores, a wineglassful of strong decoction taken 2 to 3 times daily for several months (also for ulcers)
Used for bleeding in any part of the body.
Used for diarrhea, blood disorders, fevers, gout, hepatitis, colic, pimples, sore throats, worms.
Used to control diarrhea in infants, but it is the breastfeeding mother who drinks the tea. The action of the herb is passed along in her milk to the baby.
Useful in cases of anemia.
Used in suppository form with cocoa butter for hemorrhoids, children's diarrhea and historically for tapeworm.
Also used for diseases of kidney, liver, spleen and lungs.
Eyes: a weak tea used as eyewash for burning, itchy eyes, conjunctivitis and blepharitis (1 Tbsp chopped leaves in 1 pint boiling water, steeped for 10 minutes, then cooled; strain and place in eyedropper using 5 drops for relief).
Hives: a decoction is used as a spray (2 Tbsp chopped leaves in 1 pt boiling water, then cooled and strained).
Extract of agrimony is used against certain viruses and tuberculosis bacterium.
Leaves used as a wound healer.
Used both as decoction and infusion for coughs, diarrhea, dystentary, and as a post-op tonic.
A tea from the immature cockleburrs drunk to sooth coughs and sore throat.
Decoction or infusion taken cool for bowel looseness; also useful for blood in stool.
Used for jaundice and liver complaints. (A Dr. Hill published several medical texts from 1751-1771 and recommended an infusion of 6 oz. of the crown of the root in 1 quart of boiling water, with honey - 1 cup to be taken 3 times daily for jaundice.)
Used for irritations and infections of the intestinal tract (good for children).
Considered useful in all diseases of the blood as well as pimples, and other skin blemishes. For blackheads apply a hot compress for 20 minutes.
Used as a mouthwash to remove tartar from teeth.
Used for blood cleansing, liver complaints, internal bleeding, diarrhea, intermittent menses, abnormal uterine bleeding, abnormal vaginal discharge (as a douche), kidney disease, ulcerated conditions, as well as irritations and infections of the digestive system.
Used for childhood diarrhea and incontinence.
Used for cystitis, urinary colic, bloody urine, urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence.
Used as a gargle for sore throat, sore mouth, mucous membrane inflammations and laryngitis.
Used for sprains, bruises, stomach acidity, diseases of the lungs.
Used as an ointment for wounds and bruises. Also to check bleeding from wounds, and uterine bleeding not associated with menses.
Used for gall bladder disease associated with hyperacidity and stomach acidity.
Once used for pulmonary tuberculosis .
Tea useful for diabetes to control involuntary urine. The roots and whole plant are boiled in milk to be used for diabetes and any attendant incontinence problems.
Used for conjunctivitis.
Used as a wash externally for scrofulous and ulcerated sores, and skin discharges.
For splinters and thorns: soak the area in a cup or bowl of hot infusion for 30 minutes. Should press out easily. Also, applying the tincture works for splinters.
For sciatica, muscle stiffness, rheumatism: combine agrimony and mugwort in vinegar and use as a liniment.
A poultice of the leaves used for migraines.
External: Infusion used as a wash for eczema with broken skin, and varicose ulcers. Also: poultice from fresh leaves for sores.
Used for athlete's foot and stings.
Culpepper (1652) recommended it in the form of ointment or oil to be used externally for gout and as a decoction to heal sores.
Related variety (A. pilosa) used in Chinese medicine has shown anti-tumor activity in mice as well as blood coagulent properties. In Chinese Medicine it is also known as XIAN HE CAO. It is considered antibacterial and antiparasitic and is used for tapeworms, dysentary and malaria. A decoction is used for heavy menses, blood in urine, dysentary, intestinal parasites. A pad soaked in the decoction is used for boils. A decoction is cooled and strained and used as a douche for Trichomonas Vaginalis (common inflammation of the vagina). Also used for food allergies and cirrhosis. It is considered to be a blood coagulent and shows possible cancer fighting activity. Also used for head colds, mild ear infections, vomiting blood, and exhaustion from overwork. The Chinese use the roots as a heart tonic and to treat tuberculosis.
Related variety A. parviflora (small flowered Agrimony) is astringent, hemostatic, vulnerary and is used for diarrhea, infections of the gall bladder, urinary incontinence, jaundice and gout. It is gargled for mouth ulcers and throat inflammations.
Variety A. gryposepala (tall hairy agrimony) was used by the Meskwaki indians. The root was used in the form of snuff as a styptic for nosebleeds. The Ojibwe used the root for urinary problems.
Zulu tribes used it for tapeworm expulsion.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.
Of the dry herb in infusion = 1-4 grams.
Of the extract = 10 to 60 drops.

BACH FLOWER REMEDY:
Problem type = inner torment, yet trying to hide it behind a cheerful smile.

VETERINARY:
Used for jaundice. Is given to fasting animals as a drench or finely cut and mixed with bran. One-half handful of herb is brewed in 1½ pints of water for 2 hours, then 1/2 pint of skim milk is added; sweeten with molasses. Divide in 2 parts and give 1 dose in the morning and 1 dose at night while the animal is fasting.
For sprains, a lotion is made by boiling a handful of chopped herb in 1 quart of brew made from wheat bran; boil 30 minutes; brew for 2 hours; stir in 2 Tbsp beer. Useful for strained limbs of horses when massaged into flesh.

CULINARY:
Infusion drunk as ordinary beverage in Europe.

COSMETIC:
Astringent skin lotion for clearing skin. Soothes aches as a bath herb.

DYE:
The whole plant gathered in late summer will yield pale yellow. Gathered in mid-autumn or later will produce a deep yellow.

OTHER:
Due to its tannin content, it also finds use in dressing leather.
Used alone or combined with hops for sleep pillows. The variety A. odorata is the one used because of its very fragrant aroma and was also formerly used for stuffing pillows.

HISTORY:
Name is derived from the Greek argemone, a name given to plants used for eye problems.
Used by Native Americans as a tonic to strengthen the whole system.
Considered a 'sweat' herb by Pennsylvania Germans.
Was once believed to cure lunacy.
In spring the long black, somewhat woody root is sweet and was once sought after as a beverage tea or else added and used to stretch a supply of tea.
The variety A. striata was used anciently - the seeds were crushed and combined with the belly fat of swine to heal old wounds.
Was called 'garclive' by the Anglo-Saxons. As a sleep pillow it was an old English cure for insomnia.
It appears to be eaten by sheep and goats readily enough, but avoided by horses and cattle.
In folk medicine it was given to cattle for respiratory problems.
A gargle is used by singers and speakers before a performance.
Astrologically ruled by Cancer.

RECIPES

INFUSION = 1 pint of boiling water poured over a handful of stems, flowers, and leaves; steep till cold then strain. OR: 2 to 4 tsp dried leaves with 1 C. water to be drunk 1 cup per day.
DECOCTION = 1 oz of herb to 1¼ pints of water, simmered down to 1 pint. A half teacup taken every 4 hours.
TINCTURE = 4 oz. of herb to 1 pint of alcohol (100 proof).
EYEWASH = Chop 1 Tbsp fresh leaves; simmer for 10 minutes in 1 pint of water; cool, strain and bottle. Use an eyedropper to place 5 drops in each eye for relief.
HIVES = 2 Tbsp chopped leaves in 1 pint of water; simmer 10 minuts; cool and strain; spray on affected areas.
LINIMENT (old French recipe) which is also known as "Eau de Arquebusade" =
1/2 oz. each of dry agrimony, calamint, fennel, hyssop, lemon balm, marjoram, peppermint, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, wormwood; a few fresh leaves of angelica and basil; 1 Tbsp. of fresh lavender flowers.
Steep, strain, cool and apply warm. OR: Combine and place in 1 quart of 100 proof alcohol and allow to sit 14 days, then strain.
WINE = Simmer 2 large handfuls of leaves and flowers with 4 oz. of ginger for 20 minutes. Pour over 2 sliced lemons and oranges and 6 lbs sugar. Leave for 3 or 4 days. Strain into large jars to ferment and use after 6 months. (See: Wine Making for notes on proper handling and equipment needed.)



AGRIMONY, HEMP
a.k.a. Holy Rope
(Eupatorium cannabinum)
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A tall perennial of damp or moist places. The FLOWERS are dull lavender, composite masses appearing in late summer to autumn.

CONTAINS: A volatile oil which acts on the kidneys; also tannin and a bitter principle.

MEDICINAL USES:
Considered carthartic, diuretic, anti-scorbutic . The fresh root was boiled in ale for dropsy.
Used for fevers and as a blood purifier in spring.
Used against scurvy and as a hot tea for flu.
Used by some for jaundice with accompanying swollen feet.
A wound herb either alone or in combination in ointment.
Used homeopathically as a tincture for flu or feverish chill.



AGRIMONY, WATER
a.k.a. Bur marigold
(Bidens tripartita)
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PART USED: Whole plant.

MEDICINAL USES:
Formerly used for its diuretic and astringent properties.
Used for fevers, gravel, bladder and kidney troubles and considered a good styptic useful for ruptured blood vessels.
Used for consumptive patients.
According to Culpepper it was beneficial for respiratory distress, dropsy, jaundice, obstructions of the liver, hardness of the spleen (as a poultice); killed worms; and the herb being burnt was said to drive away flies, wasps, etc.
Considered strengthening to the lungs .




©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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