It is known as agrimony or St. William’s wort, and is a typical plant of the Iberian area. To the point that it grows spontaneously and is accustomed to large periods of drought.
However, in this article we will offer information on both the medicinal properties assigned to agrimony and the shape of its cultivation and its agronomic characteristics.
It is scientifically known as Eupatorian agrimony. Although it is not very complicated to pronounce, it is also known as agrimony (dry) or St. William’s wort.
It is a perennial type plant of the family Rosaceae with a characteristic yellow flower, which loves to live with species as Iberian as holm oaks and oaks. We can not get an idea of the large number of species that includes the family of rosacea, since apart from this plant are also included species as different as almond, peach, apple, roses, etc.)
Its name, specifically the part of eupatoria, comes from an ancient scholar of medicinal plants, the King Mithridates eupator. Of this man there are many stories and legends, such as that he had a wide range of poisons on hand and that little by little he was getting used to them for fear of being poisoned.
We have no doubt that he experienced many properties of medicinal plants, and one of them was the agrimony plant. It is attributed at that time its powerful antihemorrhagic effect.
Hence, in some specific areas it is known, apart from agrimony, as «wound grass» or «blood loss«.
As it is a plant rich in tannins, it is formerly used for its oils and its laxative capacity, since in high concentrations these tannins became toxic.
Agrimony was formerly used to treat liver conditions, and at that time the roots of the plant and stems, highly enriched in vegetable oils, were selected.
How Eupatorian agrimony it has the ability to self-pollinate and is well adapted to the Mediterranean environment, it is common to see it in many places, with spontaneous growth.
Other names also associated with this plant are the following:
- Eupatorio of the Greeks
- Blood loss
- Chicken Grass
Agrimony cultivation (Eupatorian agrimony)
Not very established cultivation except at the pharmaceutical or commercial level. Eupatorian agrimony it is a plant that we can find it wild if we know how to look for it. On the internet there is even information on the points of greatest growth or where it has been found, registered by lovers of medicinal or aromatic plants.
However, we cannot doubt the apparent ornamental considerations that can be extracted from St. William’s wort and can create confusion between species. Interestingly, this name is not widely used today, rather the term agrimony.
By the growing conditions and its climatological adaptation and to different types of soil, can be used in the design of xerophytic or rockery gardens.
Soil characteristics and humidity
Eupatorian agrimony in all types of soils and circumstances. In many bibliography it is mentioned that clay soils are positive for their development, but it has also been seen to grow in those of sandy or stony type.
Agrimony takes place in environments of Mediterranean atmosphere, with hot climates, long periods of light and dry. It is not only developed in Spain, far from it, since it is widely cultivated in warm areas of Europe, North Africa and America.
Irrigation and fertilizer
The network of its roots and its exploratory capacity, make the plant Eupatorian agrimony as an all-terrain species that is able to adapt to Mediterranean climates with water shortages and long periods of drought.
Need very few nutrients to grow and the mere fact of having a soil with at least 1% organic matterIt will be enough for the seed to be born and grow splendidly.
It appreciates maintenance irrigations especially in warm times, where there are no moisture resources in the soil.
Pests and diseases associated with agrimony
Currently, no specific types of pests and diseases that act against this plant have been documented or studied. Except rare aphid attacks (very unselective species) and because they had nothing closer.
This is closely related to its high content in tannins, astringent and bitter taste, which does not make it attractive for the installation of a pest or disease.
Ornamental calendar of agrimony
The flowering occurs in the summer months (June to August in the northern hemisphere), formed by these clusters of small yellow flowers. These flowers are used for various properties, as they were collected in the book that we tell later (Bach flowers).
The seed collection, if it is also required to take advantage of its high oil content as a medicinal remedy, it will be later, in the final months of summer.
At the ornamental level, it can be planted in gardens of low water conditions, such as xerophytes or coastal environments. If they depose in number, they can form a tapestry of yellow flowers in summer, which can be combined with other types of species and medicinal plants, such as Santolina.
Active ingredients analysed
The main active ingredients collected in the laboratory and extracted from different parts of theeupatoria grimonia are as follows:
- Phenolic compounds (malic acid, stearic acid, citric acid, etc.)
- Salicylic acid
- Ellagic tannins (agrimonolide) between 4-10% and catechic tannins.
- Other types of essential oils
Medicinal properties of Agrimony or St. William’s wort
Of the 38 Bach flowers, a compilation of the main plant extracts made by an Anglo-Saxon doctor named Edward Bach, curiously Eupatorian agrimony it is among them.
This doctor extracted the juice from the flowers, specifically 38 and previously diluted established its properties, which are collected in that famous book.
The collection of stems and leaves is done in summer or from the moment the first flowers appear. Roots are practically no longer used, as in the past.
These leaves and flowers are left to dry in the shade in a dry and cool environment.
1: Regulates blood sugar levels
Agrimony extracts favor the natural production of insulin, so it helps lower blood glucose levels.
Consult other medicinal plants used as remedy against diabetes.
2: Improves respiratory ailments and throat inflammations
All diseases related to inflammation of the throat, such as pharyngitis, laryngitis, etc. can be relieved through the intake of infusions and gargles of agrimony
3: Reduce aphonia
Infusions or gargling help improve aphonia, reducing scratching or the accumulation of mucus. It has been openly used as a complement to the daily routine of teachers and singers.
4: Prevents oral infections
By gargling, the extracts favor the healing of bleeding wounds, inflamed gums. It can be combined with other medicinal plants with similar properties, such as chamomile.
5: Reduces digestive disorders
The extracts of St. William’s wort favor the digestive tract, reducing the mucus that can be generated. In addition, taking this herb in infusion reduces problems related to diarrhea, gastritis, indigestion, etc.
This is due to the high concentrations of tannins and their astringent capacity, also helping in the secretion of gastric juices.
6: Reduces problems arising from rheumatism
Flavonoids transmit anti-inflammatory properties useful in rheumatic pains.
7: Helps fight insomnia
This plant has historically been used to help in sleep disorders or insomnia. An infusion with leaves and flowers 30 minutes before going to bed.
8: Decongests hepatic, biliary and renal pathways
The ability to improve the secretion of gastric juices and their astringent properties related to tannins, favor the deongestion of renal, hepatic and biliary tracts.
9: Healing and antihemorrhagic effect
Used in ancient times and known as blood loss, the decoction of 100 grams of agrimony leaf together with 50 grams of flowers and applied in compress favors wound healing and has an antihemorrhagic effect against bleeding wounds.
10: Promotes appetite
When we are sick or with stomach disorders and nothing enters our mouth, agrimony can be a great help taken as an infusion 30 minutes before the meal.
Eupatorian agrimony it has been a plant used for this type of disorders, as well as extreme thinness, anemia or early anorexia.
It is not recommended to take more than 2 infusions daily, due to the high concentration of tannins.
How to make agrimony infusion for mouthwashes?
In specialized stores we can find prepared bags of agrimony to prepare infusions. They usually come in bags of 50 to 100 grams.
Put a small spoon (coffee) of floral extracts of agrimony per cup, add hot water and let stand 5 minutes.
Once it is tempered, we can use it to gargle (wounds in the mouth, inflamed gums, laryngitis, pharyngitis, inflamed vocal cords, etc.), repeating the process several times a day, to improve digestive transit and all the benefits discussed above.
This mixture can be supplemented with honey, lemon or another medicinal plant to enhance the effect or make it more pleasant.
In the case of infusion to take, the same procedure is followed to prepare it, with 1 liter of water per 100 grams of agrimony. Subsequently, we can sweeten it or mix it with honey, chamomile, etc. to improve its flavor.
Other interesting species of Agrimony…
Within the same genus, we find other species of Agrimony, but different from «eupatoria«.
- Agrimonia parviflora Aiton
- Hairy agrimony Ledeb.
- Agrimony striata Michx.
You can combine these potential effects with other medicinal plants and spices, such as thyme or black cumin.
Where to buy Agrimonia
Among the most marketed products of this plant in specialized stores we find different uses.
For infusions, of course, herbs and extracts already prepared for consumption, in vacuum containers or well protected.
For example, the next case:
This bag, for example, includes about 50 grams of dried parts of the medicinal plant, which depending on the dose we have used for the preparation of infusions, we would have for 4 or 5 cups.
On the other hand, we also find the grouping of different plants that have beneficial action on the body when we consume them (not topically).
These capsules contain pure extract powder of japan’s acacia, agrimony, fumaria and golden sun. It is designed to relieve allergic symptoms, since they have antihistamine functions compatible with current medications.
You can find it both in capsule format and in liquid, with dropper bottle.
And finally, and for topical use, the tincture of agrimony, with healing effect but without being painful, since it does not contain alcohol.
Bibliographic references on Agrimony
- Bilai AR. et al., A flavonol glycoside from Agrimonia eupatoria. In: PH 32:1078. 1993.
- Helena S. Correia, Maria Teresa Batista and Teresa C.P. Dinis, The activity of an extract and fraction of Agrimonia eupatoria L. against reactive species. BIOFACTORS Volume 29, Issue 2-3, 2007, Pages: 91–104, Article first published online : 19 DEC 2008, DOI: 10.1002/biof.552029209
- Chon SC, et al., (1987) Med Pharmacol Exp 16(5):407-413.
- Drozd GA, et al., (1983) Khim Prir Soed 1:106.
- Patrascu V, et al., (1984) Ser. Dermato-Venerol 29(2): 153-157.
- Peter-Horvath M, et al., (1964) Rev Med 10(2):190-193.
- Great Encyclopedia of Medicinal, Aromatic and Culinary Plants. SERVILIBRO Edition.
- Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.
- PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd Edition (2000).