Scientific Name(S): Agrimonia eupatoria L. Family: Rosaceae

Common Name(S): Cocklebur, stickwort, liverwort

The yellow, star-shaped blossoms of Agrimonia eupatoria, an herb found throughout the northern hemisphere, have long been used as a remedy for diarrhea and a host of other ailments. Legend has it, for instance, that the ancient Greeks soothed eye problems with agrimony , and the Anglo-Saxons treated wounds with it as well.


Botany: Agrimony (of British Herbal Pharmacopoeia) is a perennial herb with small, star-shaped yellow flowers. The plant possesses a short rhizome and is supported by a firm, hairy stem. The basal leaves are arrayed in a rosette and they, as well as the alternate sessile stem leaves, are pinnate, serrate and glabrous. The flowers and fruit (achene) grow at the top of the stem in a long, terminal spike. Agrimony is common in grasslands throughout Europe. It is imported from Bulgaria, Hungary and the former Yugoslavia.

History: The name Agrimonia may have its origin in the Greek “agremone” which refers to plants which supposedly healed cataracts of the eye. The species name eupatoria probably relates to Mithradates Eupator, King of Pontres, who is credited with introducing many herbal remedies. Its ancient uses include treatment for catarrh (mucous membrane inflammation with discharge), bleeding, tuberculosis and skin diseases. In folk medicine, it has been reported, without verification, to be useful in gallbladder disorders. Numerous other reported uses include use as a dye, flavoring, gargle for performers and speakers, antitumor agent, astringent, cardiotonic, coagulant, diuretic, sedative, antiasthmatic and for corns or warts.

Uses of Agrimony

  • Agrimony is used as a tea and gargle for sore throat, and externally as a mild antiseptic and astringent.
  • To prepare a cup of soothing agrimony tea, infuse one to two teaspoons of the dried leaves, stems, or flowers in a cup (8 ounces) of hot water and let it steep for 5 to 15 minutes. To help control diarrhea, drink one cup of agrimony tea up to six times a day.

Side Effects of Agrimony

Agrimony reportedly can produce photodermatitis.

Toxicology: Agrimony has been reported to produce photodermatitis in man.

Summary: Agrimony is used as a tea and gargle for sore throats, in compresses or poultices for skin rashes and cuts, and in various bath preparations. It does appear to have justifiable use as a mild antiseptic and topical astringent. Internal uses of this herb require further verification.