Perennial growing to a height of 5 ft (1.5 m). Has a red stem, downy leaves, and dense bunches of pink to mauve florets.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to Europe, hemp agrimony is now also found in western Asia and North Africa. It grows in damp woods, ditches, marshes, and in open areas, and is gathered when in flower in summer.
Aerial parts, root.
Hemp agrimony contains a volatile oil (with alpha-terpinene, p-cymene, thymol and an azulene), sesquiterpene lactones (especially eupatoriopicrin), flavonoids, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, and polysaccharides. P-cymene is antiviral, while eupatoriopicrin has anti-cancer properties and inhibits cellular growth. The polysaccharides stimulate the immune system. In isolation, the pyrrolizidine alkaloids are toxic to the liver.
History & Folklore
Hemp agrimony was known to Avicenna (980–1037 CE) and other practitioners of Arabian medicine in the early Middle Ages.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Hemp agrimony has been employed chiefly as a detoxifying herb for fever, colds, flu, and other acute viral conditions. The root is laxative and diuretic, and the whole herb is considered to be tonic. Recently, hemp agrimony has found use as an immunostimulant, helping to maintain resistance to acute viral and other infections.
See also boneset (E. perfoliatum) and gravel root (E. purpureum).
In view of hemp agrimony’s pyrrolizidine alkaloid content, take only under professional supervision.