An erect perennial herb growing to 2 feet in height with downy, serated leaves in three to five pairs, larger at the base (where they may be 8 inches long) and getting smaller farther up the stem. Five petaled yellow flowers grow on tall flower spikes, flowering from the bottom of the stem up, throughout the summer.

From the long, black and somewhat woody perennial root, the erect cylindrical and slightly rough stem rises 1 or 2 feet, sometimes more, mostly unbranched, or very slightly branched in large specimens. The leaves are numerous and very rich in outline, those near the ground are often 7 or 8 inches long, while the upper ones are generally only about 3 inches in length. They are pinnate in form, i.e. divided up to the mid-rib into pairs of leaflets. The graduation in the size and richness of the leaves is noticeable: all are very similar in general character, but the upper leaves have far fewer leaflets than the lower, and such leaflets as there are, are less cut into segments and have altogether a simpler outline. The leaflets vary very considerably in size, as besides the six or eight large lateral leaflets and the terminal one, the mid-rib is fringed with several others that are very much smaller than these and ranged in the intervals between them. The main leaflets increase in size towards the apex of the leaf, where they are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. They are oblong-oval in shape, toothed, downy above and more densely so beneath. The flowers, though small, are numerous, arranged closely on slender, terminal spikes, which lengthen much when the blossoms have withered and the seed-vessels are maturing. At the base of each flower, which is placed stalkless on the long spike, is a small bract, cleft into three acute segments. 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 colour. 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. Its sides are furrowed and nearly straight, about 1/5 inch long, and the mouth, about as wide, is surmounted by an enlarged ring armed with spines, of which the outer ones are shorter and spreading, and the inner ones longer and erect.

The whole plant is deep green and covered with soft hairs, and has a slightly aromatic scent; even the small root is sweet scented, especially in spring. The spikes of flowers emit a most refreshing and spicy odour like that of apricots. The leaves when dry retain most of their fragrant odour, as well as the flowers, and Agrimony was once much sought after as a substitute or addition to tea, adding a peculiar delicacy and aroma to its flavour. Agrimony is one of the plants from the dried leaves of which in some country districts is brewed what is called 'a spring drink,' or 'diet drink,' a compound made by the infusion of several herbs and drunk in spring time as a purifier of the blood. In France, where herbal teas or tisanes are more employed than here, it is stated that Agrimony tea, for its fragrancy, as well as for its virtues, is often drunk as a beverage at table.

The plant is subject to a considerable amount of variation, some specimens being far larger than others, much more clothed with hairs and with other minor differences. It has, therefore, by some botanists, been divided into two species, but the division is now scarcely maintained. The larger variety, having also a greater fragrance, was named Agrimonia odorata.

The long flower-spikes of Agrimony have caused the name of 'Church Steeples' to be given the plant in some parts of the country. It also bears the title of 'Cockeburr,' 'Sticklewort' or 'Stickwort,' because its seed-vessels cling by the hooked ends of their stiff hairs to any person or animal coming into contact with the plant. It was, Gerard informs us, at one time called Philanthropos, according to some old writers, on account of its beneficent and valuable properties, others saying that the name arose from the circumstance of the seeds clinging to the garments of passers-by, as if desirous of accompanying them, and Gerard inclines to this latter interpretation of the name.

The whole plant yields a yellow dye: when gathered in September, the colour given is pale, much like that called nankeen; later in the year the dye is of a darker hue and will dye wool of a deep yellow. As it gives a good dye at all times and is a common plant, easily cultivated, it seems to deserve the notice of dyers.

Sheep and goats will eat this plant, but cattle, horses and swine leave it untouched.

A genus of 15 species of rhizomatous perennials found in northern temperate regions and in S America. Agrimonia may come from the Greek arghemon an eye disease (albugo), which agrimony was reputed to cure, or from the Latin agri moenia, "defender of the fields", after the masses of agrimony found besides fields. Agrimony (A. eupatoria) was once an important wound herb, known in Anglo-Saxon times as "garclive". It is an ingredient of eau d'arquebusade, a French herbal lotion now used for various complaints, but originally applied to wounds caused by arquebus, a 15th-century long-barreled gun. Agrimony is well behaved in cultivation and may be grown in the border or wildflower meadow. Agrimonia pilosa (shaggy speedwell) had been used in Chinese medicine since at least the 14th century. It is used to promote clotting, due to its high vitamin K content, and is often combined with Bletilla striata (see bletilla) and Sanguisorba officinalis (see Salad Burnet) in tablets for internal hemorrhage. This combination has also proved beneficial in relieving symptoms of silicosis, a serious lung disease.

Agrimony gets its name from the Greek word argemone, which means "plants healing to eyes". Indeed, it was used by ancient Greeks to soothe eye problems, although the Anglo-Saxons found it useful as a treatment for wounds. Today it is used for its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties and also its prowess as a diuretic and a tonic to invigorate and strengthen the body.

Perennial with upright, often hairy, stems, and downy leaves, divided into with 3-6 pairs of leaflets, 2-6cm (¾-2½in) long. Faintly scented, yellow flowers, about 7mm (¼in) across, are produced in long spikes in summer, followed by bristly fruits.

Agrimony has paired leaves, green above and silvery beneath, growing along a three foot (ninety centimeter) stem. It is grown throughout most of the United States and southern Canada and is harvested in the summer, when it produces yellow flowers clustered at the top. It prefers full sun and average soils, and tolerates dry weather. All of the above ground parts are used in herbal medicine.

Common Name:
Botanical Name:
Agrimonia eupatoria
Other Names
a la s ga lo gi, Beggarlice, Church Steeples, Cocklebur, Common Agrimony, Goblin Breaker, Liverwort, Philanthropos, Sticklewort, Stickwort, Tall Harry.
Native Location:
Europe, W Asia, N Africa
Well-drained soil in sun. Agrimony tolerates dry and alkaline conditions.
By seed sown in spring.
Plants are cut when flowering (avoiding flower spikes that have started to develop spiny burs) then dried for use in infusions, liquid extracts, pills and tinctures.
30-60cm (12-24in)
20-30cm (8-12in)
Europe and United States
Planetary Energy:
Elemental Energy:
Fire, Water
Magickal Properties:
Protection, returns spells to their sender, promotes sleep, banishing evil forces, purifies the blood, strength, clarity,
Astrological Sign:
Sagittarius, Pisces
A bitter, mildly astringent, tonic, diuretic herb; it controls bleeding, improves liver and gallbladder function, and has anti-inflammatory effects.
Medicinal Uses:
Antifungal, antibacterial, astringent, digestive problems, urinary Tract infections.
Internally for colitis, dyspepsia, food allergies, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, gallstones, cirrhosis, grumbling appendix, cystitis, and rheumatism. Not given to patients with stress-related constipation. Externally for sore throat, conjunctivitis, hemorrhoids, minor injuries, and chronic skin conditions.
To treat diarrhea, diabetes, kidney and bladder inflammation, poorly healing wounds, psoriasis, and seborrhoeic eczema. Germany's Commission E has approved the use of agrimony to treat diarrhea and inflammation of the mouth, throat and skin.
Evidence of Benefit:
Agrimony is a nontoxic astringent, or binding herb, that is especially safe for children. Traditionally, agrimony is one of the most renowned vulnerary (wound healing) herbs. The Anglo-Saxons taught that it would heal wounds, snakebite, and warts. In France, it is applied for sprains and bruises. It is still fully appreciated in herbal practice as a mild astringent and tonic, useful for coughs, diarrhea, and relaxed bowels.
Benefits of agrimony for specific health conditions include the following:
  • Bed Wetting: Agrimony stops irritation of the urinary tract that can increase a child's urge to urinate.
  • Bleeding: Agrimony has been used for thousands of years to stop bleeding and bruising, and encourage clot formation. Agrimony acts by "tanning" skin cells, making them impermeable to bleeding. This action also prevents bacteria from entering the wound.
  • Diabetes: Experiments in animals indicate that infusions of agrimony can prevent the development of type 1 diabetes, although it is not known whether the herb could have the same effect in humans. In type 2 diabetes, agrimony lowers blood sugars and counters excessive thirst.
  • Diarrhea: Agrimony is effective against diarrhea, especially in small children.
  • Jaundice and Liver Problems: Agrimony's astringents exhibit tonic and diuretic properties. Agrimony has a reputation for treating jaundice and other complaints. It gives tone to the digestive system and promotes the assimilation of food.
  • Parasitic and Other Infections: Agrimony contains the chemical compound agrimophol, which expels parasites. Agrimophol causes parasites to lose their hold on the lining of the bladder or intestine so that they are evacuated with urine or stool. This substance also kills the organism that causes river blindness, a tropical disease in which parasites infest the eye, and many common bacteria, as well as the bacteria that causes dysentery and typhoid fever.
Considerations for Use:
Agrimony is used in teas or tinctures. Its low toxicity makes it particularly suitable for children's illnesses.
While agrimony is an effective treatment for many forms of diarrhea, it can aggravate constipation. The tannins in agrimony cause pectin fibers to cross-link and bind. Blockage can result if you take agrimony at the same time as psyllium powders, such as Metamucil, or if you take it with prunes or prune juice.
In addition to its effects on the digestive system, agrimony affects the immune system. It stimulates the body to produce immune antibodies known as B cells. These cells produce complex, chemicals known as antigens that attack invading microbes. Certain kinds of cancer, including chronic leukemia, multiply myeloma, and ovarian cancer, deplete the body's supply of B cells. For people with these types of cancer, agrimony may offer a beneficial immuno-stimulant side effect. In addition, agrimony is helpful in preventing some kinds of breast cancer. A number of conditions, however, result from attacks on healthy tissues by B cells with defects in their genetic programming. For that reason, people with rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia gravis, Graves' Disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, lupus, Sjögren's Syndrome, or any other autoimmune disease should avoid agrimony.
Culinary Uses:
Fresh or dried flowering plant makes a pleasant herb tea.
Preparation and Dosage:
Tincture: up to 80 drops, three times a day
Infusion: 5 tsp. to 2 c. of water taken in three equal dosages
Taken internally, a typical daily dose may range from 3 to 6gm of the herb. Agrimony can also be applied topically as a poultice.
Parts Used:
The entire plant
Possible Side Effects
Agrimony's side effects include constipation and digestive complaints.
Drug Interactions
Taking agrimony with these drugs may increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar):
Taking agrimony with these drugs may increase sensativity to sunlight:
Arcabose, (Prandase, Precose)
Acetohexamide, (Acetohexamide)
Chlorpropamide, (Diabinese, Novo-Propamide)
Gliclazide, (Diamicron, Novo-Gliclazide)
Glimepiride, (Amaryl)
Glipizide, (Glucatrol)
Glipizide and Metformin, (Metaglip)
Gliquidone, (Beglynor, Glurenorm)
Glyburide, (DiaBeta, Micronase)
Glyburide and Metformin, (Glucovance)
Insulin, (Humulin, Novolin R)
Metformin, (Glucophage, Riomet)
Miglitol, (Glyset)
Nateglinide, (Starlix)
Pioglitazone, (Actos)
Repaglinide, (GlucoNorm, Prandin)
Rosiglitazone, (Avandia)
Rosiglitazone and Metformin, (Avandamet)
Tolazamide, (Tolinase)
Tolbutamide, (Apo-Tolbutamide, Tol-Tab)
Bumetadine, (Bumex, Burinex)
Ciprofloxacin, (Ciloxan, Cipro)
Doxycycline, (Apo-Doxy, Vibramycin)
Enalapril, (Vasotec)
Etodolac, (Lodine, Utradol)
Fluphenazine, (Modecate, Prolixin)
Fosinopril, (Monopril)
Furosemide, (Apo-Furosemide, Lasix)
Gatifloxacin, (Tequin, Zymar)
Hydrochlorothiazide, (Apo-Hydro, Microzide)
Ibuprofen, (Advil, Motrin)
Indomethacin, (Indocin, Novo-Methacin)
Ketoprofen, (Orudis, Rhodis)
Ketorolac, (Acular, Toradol)
Lansoprazole, (Prevacid)
Levofloxacin, (Levaquin, Quixin)
Lisinopril, (Prinivil, Zestril)
Loratadine, (Alavert, Claritin)
Methotrexate, (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
Naproxen, (Aleve, Naprosyn)
Nortriptyline, (Aventyl HCI, Pamelor)
Ofloxacin, (Floxin, Ocuflox)
Omeprazole, (Prilosec, Losec)
Phenytoin, (Dilantin, Phenytek)
Piroxicam, (Feldene, Nu-Pirox)
Prochlorperazine, (Compazine, Compro)
Quinapril, (Accupril)
Risperidone, (Risperdal)
Rofecoxib, (Vioxx)
Tetracycline, (Novo-Tetra, Sumycin)
Aromatherapy (A Lifetime Guide to Healing with Essential Oils) by Valerie Gennari Cooksley Copyright © 1996 by Prentice Hall, Inc. pg 36
Essential Guide to Natural Home Remedies by Penelope Ody Copyright © 1997,2000 by Penelope Ody pg 168
Encyclopedia of Medicinal Herbs by Joseph Kadans, N.D. Ph.D. Copyright 1970 by Parker Publishing Company, Inc. pp25-26
The Cherokee Herbal by J.T. Garrett Copyright © 2003 by J.T. Garrett pp 55-56, 151-152
Botanical .org A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve Copyright © 1995-2005 by
Encyclopedia or Herbs by Deni Brown Copyright © 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited. pg.107
The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide by Geo. T. Grossberg,MD and Barry Fox,PhD Copyright©2007 by Barry Fox,PhD pp.26-27
Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC Copyright©2002 Phyllis A. Balch. pp. 14-15
A Witches' Herbal