The Natural Way

Monday, November 1, 2004

Can you rid yourself of athlete's foot and prevent kidney stones with an herb? Maybe so if you believe the German Medical Commission E. An old and almost forgotten herb is well-documented for these purposes and many more. Agrimony is the herb and it 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 agrimony and have approved its use for the treatment of diarrhea and 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 and inflammation and for preventing kidney stones. Often, it was beneficial in reducing the frequency of bed wetting in children or the elderly.

Other internal uses might have been for liver problems, 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. Agrimony sounds exotic but is very easily found in nature. It is close to being forgotten by Westerners, except Europeans, as a healing herb.

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