In ancient Greece, agrimony was believed to have magical powers, including that of healing the eyes. Later it was added to a mixture of herbs to heal wounds and treat snake bites.
The common agrimony, agrimonia eupatoria, is a delicately scented perennial herb growing on waste and, by country lanes and in hedgerows. Common agrimony grows up to 3 ft (9cm) high with stiff spikes of small yellow flowers. Lt flowers in summer and again in the autumn and as the flowers die and the petals drop there is left behind a dry woody burr which encloses the seed. This clings to clothing and animal fur to spread the seeds far and wide. The leaves consist of coarsely toothed leaflets growing thickly up the stems; soft hairs cover the whole plant. Common agrimony is not a plant for cultivation as the seeds have a poor germination, but it can readily be found growing wild.
The flowers and leaves are the parts mainly used in herbal medicine. For drying, the flowers must be gathered before the seeds have formed; the leaves can be picked at any time before the flowers bloom. They are then dried and stored in the usual way. Fresh leaves can be used for external applications.
Agrimony is an effective herb for coughs and chesty colds, but it has costive properties and is not a herb to be taken by those who suffer from constipation.
To make an infusion: Pour 2 cups of boiling water over a handful of dried agrimony flowers and allow to cool Strain and take a small glassful whenever the cough is troublesome, It can also be used as a gargle.
To treat athlete’s foot and other fungicidal attacks of the feet, plunge the feet into the bowl of agrimony infusion and sponge well between the toes. After wards dry the feet carefully between and underneath toes. Use a fresh infusion daily until cured.
A double strength infusion can also be used to relieve sprains or strained muscles.
To make a strong infusion: Steep 2 handfuls of fresh or dried leaves in 2 cups of boiling water. Allow to cool, then strain and use.