Agrimony is a perennial that grows from 3 to 6 feet. The stems are hairy. The leaves are divided; the main stem leaves with 11 to 19 unequal leaflets. The leaflets are smooth above and hairy below; strongly serrated, and 1 to 3 inches long. The flowers, about 3/8 inch across, have five conspicuous and spreading petals, which are egg-shaped in form and somewhat narrow in proportion to their length, slightly notched at the end and of a bright yellow color. The stamens are five to twelve in number. The flowers face boldly outwards and upwards towards the light, but after they have withered, the calyx points downwards. It becomes rather woody, thickly covered at the end with a mass of small bristly hairs, that spread and develop into a burr-like form, which are the seed pods. These seed pods cling by the hooked ends of their stiff hairs to any person or animal coming into contact with the plant, thus the names ‘Cockleburr’ and ‘Sticklewort’. (This is not the generally known troublesome cockleburr, which is known as “Burdock”.)
Family: Rosaceae: (Rose Family)
Other Names: Burr Marigold, Church Steeples, Cockleburr, Sticklewort
Flowers: July – September
Parts Used: Aerial parts
Habitat: Roadsides, wasteland, hedges and banks. Damp thickets in clumps. Western Connecticut and New York to Florida; Eastern Texas north to Nebraska and Southern Ontario.
Constituents:Tannins, bitter principle, essential oil, silica.
Properties: Mild Astringent, Tonic, Diuretic, Deobstruent.
Main Uses: To stop bleeding. Agrimony is tonic to the digestive system, the gentle astringency of its tannins toning the mucous membranes, improving their secretion and absorption. Agrimony is a useful remedy for healing peptic ulcers and controlling colitis. The bitter principles in the plant regulate the function of the liver and gallbladder. It has been used to treat gallstones and cirrhosis of the liver. It has also been used to lower high uric acid levels in rheumatism and gout and it is said to have diuretic properties.
Agrimony is a major herb for stopping bleeding and it is used to treat profuse menstruation. Research indicates that Agrimony can increase coagulation of the blood by up to 50%. It is used internally for blood in the urine and externally for wounds and cuts. It is also used for inflamed gums and sore throat (mouthwash and gargle).
Related species: (Agrimonia eupatoria) (European alien) is used similarly; in France it is drunk as much for its flavor as for its medicinal virtues. Tea of the European species is believed to be helpful in diarrhea, blood disorders, fevers, gout, hepatitis, pimples, sore throats, and even worms. In studies with mice, the European species Agrimonia pilosa has shown anti-tumor activity.
Dosages: Standard Infusion, 2-4 ounces. Tincture [Dried 1:5, 50% alcohol, or Fresh Plant, 1:2], 1/4 to 1 teaspoon as needed.