Friday, 29 August 2008

Agrimony

Agrimony is a herb that is not well know to many but has many uses.

It is perennial plant and grows up to 80cm tall. With its narrow pointed, deeply serrated leaves it is a very distinctive herb. The slender spikes of yellow flowers blossom in summer then are transformed into seed capsules. Both the flowers and foliage have a apricot fragrance, It grows naturally in most part of Europe and north Americas.

Agrimony in by-gone times was said to cause a deep sleep. When placed beneath a mans head this sleep would last until it was removed. It is a medicine that is steeped in tradition and as astringent and antibacterial qualities. With this is was commonly used for battle wounds alongside the treatment of bladder infections. There are also a number of other ailments that it can treat.

The flowers are used nowadays to treat sore throats, acne and diarrhoea. In France a tea is commonly made from the flowers and leaves and combined with ordinary tea it make an enchanting aromatic drink.

As well as food and medicine agrimony can be used as a source of a yellow dye. The whole plant including the root is used for this. A great range of yellows from very pale to a deep dark yellow can be made by harvesting the herb throughout the growing season.The later it is harvested the darker the yellow becomes.

If you want to cultivate and grow agrimony. You need to find a sunny or semi-shaded spot. It can put up with mini droughts and doesn't mind alkaline soil. For the seeds to germinate some cold weather is needed so planting in the autumn is a good strategy. To dry the herbs leave in a well ventilated area and store in air tight containers. Agrimony seeds can be harvested in late summer or early autumn and best stored in freezer.



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