No. 3. Agrimonia eupatoria.
English Name—COMMON AGRIMONY.
French Name—Aigremoine Commune.
German Name—Gemeine Oderminig.
Officinal Names—Herba Agrimonia.
Vulgar Names—Cockle-bur, Stickwort, &c.
Authorities—Linnaeus, Decandolle, Michaux, Pursh, Henry, Schoepf, Dispensaries, &c.—Not in Bigelow nor Barton.
Genus AGRIMONIA—Calyx permanent urceolate five toothed, bristly outside. Corolla with five petals inserted on the calyx. Stamina twelve to fifteen inserted on the calyx. Two germens, two styles, and two seeds surrounded by the calyx—Leaves pinnate.
Species A. EUPATORIA—Stem simple; leaves interrupted pinnate, folioles opposite, sessile, oval, oblong, deeply serrate, the terminal petiolate; interfolioles short and jagged.
Description—Root Perennial—Stem hairy, rounded, one or two feet high, seldom branched.—Leaves alternating, the inferior larger, hairy, pinnate or compound, having from five to nine larger folioles and some smaller ones interposed, which are broad but short, and much divided. All the folioles are sessile and opposite except the last. Shape oval or oblong, acute at both ends, margin deeply and unequally serrated. Inflorescence in a terminal slender spike.
Flowers small, sessile. Calyx green, bearing the Corolla and Stamina, bristly, five toothed. Corolla yellow, with five oblong petals. Stamina yellow, short, anthers oval. Fruit, a small green bur, formed by the permanent Calyx, enclosing two seeds, convex outside, flat inside, and crowned by the two styles. This bur often sticks to clothes, like other bristly burs.
History—This plant has a wide range, being found in Europe, Asia, and North America, with hardly any change. It has been deemed medical very anciently, and although not very powerful, is not destitute of efficiency.
The Genus contains but few species; the Agrimonia parviflora is another found in North America, and probably equal in properties; it merely differs from this by narrower leaves, more numerous folioles, longer slender spike, and smaller flowers, but more fragrant. The Agrimonia Eupatoria is spread from Canada to Missouri and Carolina, and grows in woods, fields, glades and near streams. The Agrimonia parviflora is more common in the west and south. Both blossom in summer. The whole plant is used and is slightly fragrant.
The Genus belongs to the natural order of ROSACEA or RHODANTHES, next to Poterium and Waldsteinia. In the Linnean arrangement it is placed in DODECANDRIA Digynia, The name is a classical one, and Eupatoria, comes from Eupator, to whom many useful plants were dedicated by the Greeks: here it is employed for the species, while in Eupatorium it becomes a generic denomination.
Qualities—Similar to Adiantum; but it has less mucilage, and more tannin, with some gallic acid. The Aroma is different, rather similar to that of Melilot or Clover.
Properties—A mild astringent, tonic and corroborant. Useful in coughs, and bowel complaints. Being a very mild astringent it may be given in diarrhea, dysentery and relaxed bowels. It has been recommended in many other complaints, and is said to have cured the asthma. The best way to take it, is in a strong decoction sweetened with honey or Maiden-hair syrup. The dose is four cups every day. Both root and plant may be boiled.
Substitutes—Adiantum pedatum or Maidenhair—Solidago odora or Golden-rod—Geum virginicum—Glechoma Hederacea or Ground Ivy—Rose flowers and all mild vegetable astringents.
Remarks—This is one of the few plants which Henry has not altogether mistaken either in name or figure; yet his figure has both leaves and flowers too large and too sharp.
Additions and corrections
3. AGRIMONIA EUPATORIA—The roots and whole plant boiled in milk are used by herbalists for diabetes and incontinence of urine. One of their remedy for the tape-worm is Agrimony tea, with alum and honey. The roots are said to be more astringent than the leaves, the Indians use them in fevers, and some empirics for jaundice with honey. It is said also to be diuretic and vulnerary.
Medical Flora, or Manual of the Medical Botany of the United States of North America, 1828, was written by C. S. Rafinesque.