Agrimonia Eupatoria. Agrimony.
Nat. Ord. — Rosaceae. Sex. Syst. — Icosandria Digynia.
The Root and Leaves.
Description. — Agrimony is a perennial herb, with a reddish, tapering, not creeping root, branched at the summit. The stems are from one to three feet in hight, leafy, scarcely branched, and covered with soft, silky hairs. The leaves are alternate, nearly smooth beneath, interruptedly pinnate, and consist of three, five, or seven oblong-obovate, or oval-lanceolate leaflets, from one to three inches long, and about one-third as wide, sessile, coarsely serrated, almost glabrous, with various minute intermediate ones; the terminal leaflet with a short petiolule. Stipules of the upper leaves, large, rounded, dentate or palmate. Flowers very numerous, subsessile, yellow, in a dense tapering spike, with lobed bracts ; they are about four lines in diameter. Racemes six to twelve inches long, spicate. Petals five, rarely twice the length of the calyx. Calyx inferior, five-cleft, invested with an outer lobed one ; calyx-tube curiously fluted with ten ribs, and surmounted with reddish-hooked bristles. Stamens twelve ; carpels two ; fruit hispid.
History. — Agrimony inhabits Asia, Europe, and North America. In this country it is found in fields, on the borders of woods, and along the roadsides, bearing a yellow flower in July and August. It is sometimes known by the name of Cockle-burr, Stickwort, etc. It has an agreeable aromatic odor, which is strongest in the flowers, and a rough, bitterish, aromatic taste, which is more powerful in the root. It yields its properties to water.
Properties and Uses. — Agrimony is a mild tonic, alterative and astringent. A decoction of it is highly recommended in bowel-complaints, passive hemorrhages, gonorrhea, leucorrhea, and chronic affections of the mucous membranes ; likewise in jaundice, and visceral obstructions, and as an alterative in cutaneous diseases. A strong decoction, sweetened with honey, is reputed an invariable cure for scrofula, if its use be persisted in for a length of time ; and it has also been highly extolled in the treatment of gravel, asthma, coughs, and obstructed menstruation. Dr. D. C. Payne speaks highly of a continued use of a decoction of this plant in the treatment of erysipelas, and scrofulous affections, to be used freely in connection with diet and regularity of the bowels. As a gargle, the decoction is useful in ulcerations of the mouth and throat. Dose of the powdered leaves, one or two drachms ; of the decoction from one to three fluidounces. The root is very astringent, and may be used wherever this class of agents is indicated. The plant has been also celebrated as a vermifuge.
Off. Prep. — Decoctum Agrimoniae ; Infusum Agrimoniae.