An Herb for Awhile: Agrimony

640px-Illustration_Agrimonia_eupatoria0As a Witch living with a sleep disorder, specifically sleep apnea, one of the herbs I cherish is agrimony.  I first learned of this herb during coven training in another Tradition; it was an ingredient in a dream-pillow.  Although some refuse to employ it as such due to an old cantrip that the herb is so powerful it will make one “sleep like the dead” until the herb is physically removed from under the pillow, I have found it to be a benign, soothing, gentle influence.

The pretty yellow flowers are easily remembered once seen in nature, and it has a charming necklace of old folk-names, such as sticklewort, philanthropos,cockleburr, and church steeples. There are accounts of the flowers and leaves being harvested as part of the summer harvest and dried for use as a tea to cure congestive coughs (“chesty coughs”) during the following Spring.  It is said to be invasive, so if you have it in your garden, you will want to take care how you manage it. Long dried sprigs can be hung in bunches to keep out unwanted evil influences as part of your network of house wards (a topic for future discussion).   We read that a poultice of the leaves can be applied to the forehead area to help soothe migraines.

Culpepper says that the plant’s ruler is Jupiter and that its zodiacal attribution is Cancer.   It was once used, so it is said, in detecting Witches–perhaps because they were anxious to get their long bony fingers on it for its marvelous properties, magical and curative!

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