Agrimonia eupatoria / Agrimonie

Agrimonia eupatoria L . (Rosaceae)


    • Acids Palmitic acid, salicylic acid, silicic acid and stearic acid .

    • Flavonoids Apigenin, luteolin, luteolin-7-glucoside, quercetin, quercitrin, kaempferol and glycosides . (3)

    • Tannins 3-21% . Condensed tannins in herb ; hydrolysable tannins (e .g . ellagitannin) .

    • Vitamins Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), nicotinamide complex (about 100-300 pg/g leaf), thiamine (about 2lig/g leaf) and vitamin K .

    • Other constituents Bitter principle, triterpenes (e .g. a-anlyrin, ursolic acid, euscapic acid), phytosterols and volatile oil 0 .2% .

Herbal Use

Agrimony is stated to possess mild astringent and diuretic properties . ( ' ) It has been used for diarrhoea in children, mucous colitis, grumbling appendicitis, urinary incontinence, cystitis, and as a gargle for acute sore throat and chronic nasopharyngeal catarrh .

Pharmacological Actions

In vitro and animal studies

Significant uricolytic activity has been documented for agrimony infusions and decoctions (15% w/v), following their oral administration to male rats at a

dose of 20 mL/kg body weight (equivalent to 3 g dry drug) . (4) Diuretic activity was stated to be minimal and elimination of urea unchanged. A hypotensive effect in anaesthetised cats has been documented for an agrimony extract given by intravenous injection ; blood pressure was lowered by more than 40% . (5)

Marked antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and a-haemolytic streptococci has been reported for agrimony. (6)

An aqueous ethanol extract of the herb was tested for immunomodulative activity in the peritoneal cavities of mice. (7) Immunostimulant activity

resulted in an increase in phagocytic activity and increases in the activities of lysozyme and peroxidase. Agrimonia eupatoria given in the diet of mice

for 12 days prior to intraperitoneal administration of streptozotocin resulted in a reduction in hyperglycaemia. (8) Further investigation revealed stimulation of 2-deoxyglucose transport, glucose oxidation and incorporation of glucose into glycogen in mouse abdominal muscle . An aqueous extract (0.25-1 mg/ mL) stimulated insulin secretion from a BRIN-BD1 I pancreatic B cell line . () These findings demonstrate that A . eupatoria aqueous extract given orally to mice has antihyperglycaemic, insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity . (9)

A related species, A . pilosa, has also been investigated . In vivo antitumour activity in mice has been attributed to the tannin agrimoniin (IO) which has not been reported as a constituent of A . eupatoria . Agrimoniin was administered intraperitoneally into ascites-type and solid tumours in rodents . ( " ) At doses of greater than 10 mg/kg, given before or after intraperitoneal inoculation with MM2 cells, it completely rejected tumour growth in mice . ( " ) Solid tumours of MH134 and Meth-A were inhibited by agrimoniin, and the number of peripheral blood cells was increased, indicating that agrimoniin has antitumour activity and that it exerts its effect by enhancing the immune response. In vitro studies have reported that agrimoniin induces the cytotoxicity of murine peritoneal exudate cells, ( 12) and that it induces interleukin 1 in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and in mouse adherent peritonealexudate cells in vivo . (13)

Several phloroglucinols isolated from A . pilosa have demonstrated activity against Staphylococcus aureus, (14) and a methanol extract of the herb inhibited HIV-1 protease activity . ( 1S) An aqueous suspension of A. pilosa herb (1 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg) given orally or intraperitoneally significantly reduced blood glucose concentrations in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats . (16)

Clinical studies

The successful treatment of cutaneous porphyria in a group of 20 patients receiving agrimony infusions has been described . ( 17 An improvement in skin eruptions together with a decrease in serum iron concentrations and in urinary porphyrins was noted .

A compound herb preparation containing agrimony has been used to treat 35 patients suffering from chronic gastroduodenitis . 18) After 25 days of

therapy, 75% of patients claimed to be free from pain, 95% from dyspeptic symptoms and 76% from palpitation pains . Gastroscopy was said to indicate

that previous erosion and haemorrhagic mucous changes had healed . No side-effects or signs of toxicity were documented .

Contra-indications, Warnings

Excessive doses may interfere with existing drug treatment for high or low blood pressure, and anticoagulant therapy. In view of the tannin constituents, excessive use should be avoided .

Pregnancy and lactation Agrimony is reputed to affect the menstrual cycle . « 2) In view of the lack of toxicity data, excessive use of agrimony should be

avoided during pregnancy and lactation .


1 Bilia AR et al . Constituents and biological assay ofAgrimonia eupatoria . Fitoterapia 1993; 64 : 549-550.

2 Carnat A et al . L'aigremoine : etude compareed'Agrimonia eupatoria L . et Agrimonia proceraWallr. Plantes medicinales et phytotherapie 1991;25: 202-211 .

3 Sendra J, Zieba J . Flavonoids from Agrimoniaeupatoria L. Diss Pharm Pharmacol 1971; 24: 79-83.

4 Giachetti D et a! . Ricerche sull'attivita diuretica eduricosurica di Agrimonia eupatoria . Boll Soc ItalBiol Sper 1986; 62 : 705-711 .

5 Petkov V. Plants with hypotensive, antiatheromatous and coronarodilatating action . Am J ChinMed 1979; 7 : 197-236 .

6 Petkov V. Bulgarian traditional medicine: A sourceof ideas for phytopharmacological investigations . JEthnopharmacol 1986; 15 : 121-132.

7 Bukovsky M, Blanirik P . Immunomodulativeeffects of ethanolic-aqueous extracts of herbaAgrimoniae, flos Chamomillae and flos Calendulaecum calyce . Farmaceutiky Obzor 1994; 63 : 149-156.

8 Swanston-Flatt SK et al. Traditional plant treatments for diabetes in normal and streptozotocindiabetic rats . Diabetologia 1990; 33 : 462-464 .Gray AM, Flatt PR . Actions of the traditional antidiabetic plant, Agrimonia eupatoria (agrimony) :effects on .hyperglycaemia, cellular glucose metabolism and insulin secretion. Br J Nutr 1998; 80 :109-114.

10 Miyamoto K et al. Isolation of agrimoniin, ananritumour constituent, from the roots of Agrimonia pilosa Ledeb. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1985;

33: 3977-3981 .

11 Miyamoto K et al . Antitumour effect of agrimoniin, a tannin of Agrimonia pilosa Ledeb., ontransplantable rodent tumors . Jpn j Pharmacol1987; 43 : 187-195.

12 Miyamoto K et al. Induction of cytotoxicity ofperitoneal exudate cells by agrimoniin, a novelimmunomodulatory tannin of Agrimonia pilosaLedeb. Cancer Immunol Immunother 1988; 27:

13 Murayama T et al. Agrimoniin, an antitumour tannin of Agrimonia pilosa Ledeb., induces interleukin-1 . Anticancer Res 1992; 12 : 1471-1474.

14 Yamaki M et al. Antimicrobial activity of naturally occurring and synthetic phloroglucinols against Staphylococcus aureus. Phytother Res 1994; 8:


15 Min BS et al. Screening of Korean plants against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 protease . Phytother Res 1999; 13 : 680-682 .

16 Hsu F-L, Cheng J-T. Investigation in rats of the antihyperglycaemic effect of plant extracts used in Taiwan for the treatment of diabetes mellitus.

Phytother Res 1992; 6 : 108-111 .

17 Patrascu V et al. Rezultate terapeutice favorabile in porfiria cutanata cu Agrimonia eupatoria . Dermato-venerologia 1984; 29: 153-157.

18 Chakarski I et al. Clinical study of a herb combination consisting of Agrimonia eupatoria, Hipericum perforatum, Plantago major, Mentha piperita, Matricaria chamomila for the treatment of patients with chronic gastroduodenitis . Probl Vatr Med 1982; 10 : 78-84


The whole plant of Agrimonia Eupatoria, Linne (Nat. Ord. Rosaceae). A common perennial in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.

Common Names: Agrimony, Stickwort, Cockleburr.

Principal Constituents.—Tannin and a volatile oil.


1. Infusum Agrimoniae, Infusion of Agrimony (1 ounce to Water, 16 ounces. Dose, 2 to 3 fluidounces.

2. Specific Medicine Agrimonia. Dose, 5 to 60 drops.

Specific Indications.—Deep-seated colicky pain in lumbar region with uneasy sensations reaching from kidneys and hips to the umbilicus; atony or irritation of the urinary tract, with muddy, ill-smelling urine.

Action and Therapy.—A mild tonic and astringent, indicated as abovementioned, and of considerable value in cystic catarrh and nephritic irritation from the presence of gravel. It is also sometimes used as a gargle, and internally for mucous profluvia from any of the mucous structures of the body. The infusion is especially useful. We have known it to give relief in abdominal pain due to faulty intestinal digestion. Dribbling of urine in old persons is said to be relieved by agrimony.

History Agrimonia eupatoria

The name Agrimonia may have its origin in the Greek “agremone” which refers to plants which supposedly healed cataracts of the eye. The species name eupatoria relates to Mithradates Eupator, King of Pontus, who is credited with introducing many herbal remedies. Its ancient uses include treatment for catarrh (mucous membrane inflammation with discharge), bleeding, tuberculosis and skin diseases. 1 In folk medicine, it has been reported, without verification, to be useful in gallbladder disorders. Numerous other reported uses include use as a dye, flavoring, gargle for performers and speakers, antitumor agent, astringent, cardiotonic, coagulant, diuretic, sedative, antiasthmatic and for corns or warts. 3


The aerial parts of the plant contain 4% to 10% condensed tannins, small amounts of ellagitannins and traces of gallotannins. 2 , 4 Also reported are some 20% polysaccharides. 4 A triterpenoid, ursolic acid, has been isolated. Silicic acid, traces of essential oil, and the flavonoids luteolin and apigenin 7-O-β-D-glucosides are present. 4 Organic acids, vitamin B 1 , vitamin K and ascorbic acid are also found. The fresh herb contains agrimoniolide, palmitic and stearic acids, ceryl alcohol and phytosterols. Seeds contain 35% oil which contains oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids. 2 , 3


1. Bunney S, ed. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs: Their Medicinal and Culinary Uses . New York, NY: Dorset Press; 1984.

2. Bisset NG, ed. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals . Stuttgart: Medpharm Scientific Publishers; 1994.

3. Duke JA. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs . Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1985.

4. von Gizycki F. Pharmazie . 1949;4:276, 463.

5. Hoppe HA. Drogenkunde . 8th ed. Berlin: Walter deGruyter; 1975.

6. Drozd GA, et al. Prir Soedin . 1983;1:106.

7. Chon SC, et al. Med Pharmacol Exp . 1987;16:407.