The Natural Way

Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Summer is over and many people will have vacationed in the beautiful warmth of the Caribbean. Locations with names like Jamaica, Freeport and Agimony come to mind. Agimony? Gotcha didn't I? Agimony is an herb; it just sounds like an enjoyable destination. Agimony has many healing benefits.

The useful herb consists of the whole plant, which is cut a few fingers above the ground and dried. When brewed into a tea, agimony has a slight, pleasant fragrance and a tangy, bitter taste. The Latin name is Agimonia eupatoria. It grows abundantly in North America and has other common names such as Stickwort, Cocklebur, Liverwort, Church Steeples and Sticklewort.

Science knows the main compound of use is catechin tannins. However, it is also rich in thiamin, palmitic acid, quercetin and ursolic acid. The herb is categorized in the old manner as a hepatic, stomachic, astringent, diuretic and tonic. The Chinese consider it to be a hemostyptic and as an anthelmintic (kills intestinal worms).

Medical doctors in Germany have studied the use of agimony and have approved its use for the treatment of diarrhea, inflammation of the skin, mouth and throat. This comes from the German Commission E monographs.

The original medicine practitioners often used the tea or ground herb for urinary problems such as cystitis, incontinence, inflammation and for prevention of kidney stones. Often, it was beneficial in reducing the frequency of bedwetting by children or the elderly. Other internal uses might have been for treating liver problems with jaundice and stomach ulcers. Externally, a plaster of wet herb would be placed on sores, wounds and insect bites. Problems caused by athlete's foot are quickly resolved with a soak in the tea, repeated daily for about 10 days.

There is no known health hazard, nor are there any side effects of serious consequence. Maybe, if you drank too much, you might get constipated as it does have an astringent benefit, but this may be of benefit, too. This one sounds exotic but is very easily found in nature. Agimony is close to being forgotten as a healing herb and is almost considered archaic -- it's sad to be forgotten.

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