(In addition to the above species that grow in the west, Michael Moore covers (Agave schottii) a western version of Manfreda virginica, that grows in abundance in New Mexico mountains.)
Appearance and Habitat: The appearance is similar to yucca and often mistaken for it. Agave is a more robust plant with thicker spiny-edged leaves and a flowering stalk that, unlike yucca, forms arm-like branches. It is usually found from 2,000 feet to 7,000 feet on mesas, limestone slopes, and rocky mountain sides.
Medical Uses: Collect the leaves and tap roots of Agave. The leaves can be dried in a paper sack and take them from the north side of the plant, so the inner leaves aren’t sunburnt. For the roots, take the roots of the small plants that grow from the larger one to keep the plant alive. For the leaves, dry them in bundles until they are brittle-dry, then cut them and store them. For the tap roots, cut them in half before drying them in cheese cloth folded. Make a pocket in the cheese cloth. Make sure that you hang them in the shade when drying any herb. The leaves and particularly the root contain the sapogenins hecongenin and tigogenin, soapy substances used in the manufacture of steroids. A teaspoon of the leaf sap or 1/4 ounce of the dried leaf boiled in tea helps indigestion, stomach fermentation, and chronic constipation. The fresh sap is used for burns, cuts ad skin abrasions. The root, fresh or dried, makes a useful soap and, like yucca, has been used for arthritis – 1/2 teaspoon of the root powder in tea, morning and evening. Constant use may interfere with oil-soluble vitamin absorption in the small intestine. In Mexico it has also been used for jaundice, in similar doses.
Foot Notes: Medicinal Plants Of the Mountain West by Michael Moore, 1st Edition, page 19, publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press ; copy right 1979 ISBN 0-89013-104-X
Common Name: Agrimony
Latin Name: Agrimonia gryposepala, A. striata, A. parviflora
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=AGST all of southern Canada, Rocky Mountain states, N. and S. Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky north through New England (Agrimonia striata)http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=AGGR2 all states adjacent to the Mississii R. and east ward, except Flordia, N. and S. Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, and corresponding southern Canada. (Agrimonia gryposepala)http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=AGPA6 Texas to South Dakota, east to Georgia, Massachuesetts, Ontario. (Agrimonia parviflora)Photos: (click on latin name after common name)
Appearance and Habitat: Damp thickets and the edges of low woods, growing in clumps. Moist or dry soils. Eastern N. America – Connecticut and New York to Florida, west to Texas and Nebraska. A perennial growing to 2 m (6ft 7in). It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September.
Edible Uses: None
Medicinal Uses: A tea made from the whole plant is astringent. It is used in the treatment diarrhoea, bleeding, wounds, inflammation of the gall bladder, urinary incontinence etc. It is gargled as a treatment for mouth ulcers and sore throats. An infusion of the seedpods is used to treat diarrhoea and fevers. An infusion of the root is used as a blood tonic and is given to children to satisfy their hunger. The powdered root has been used to treat pox.
Appearance and Habitat: An erect, wand-like cluster of small yellow flowers extending above pinnately compound leaves; stem exudes spicy odor when crushed. The species name means having hooked sepals. The similar Southern Agrimony (A. parviflora) has leaves with 11-23 leaflets; it occurs from Ontario east to Massachusetts, south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to South Dakota. Five other very similar Agrimonia species occur in the East. It is found in thickets and woods and grows 3-6 feet tall. The flowers are yellow and bloom in July and August. It can grow in partial shade or shade. (1) A member of the Rose family, with foot-long thin terminal racemes of numerous yellow flowers. As with all roses they are five petaled. The flowers mature into little round burrs. The basal leaves are shaped like mustard greens, hairy and pinnate, with three terminal leaflets. The leaves are serrated, and like with roses, there are 3, 5, 7 on each stem. The two to three foot stem has smaller irregular leaves, usually three parted. In the west, it grows in the middle mountains of S. California (San Bernardino, Palomar, and San Jacinto) most of the coastal northwest, the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, most of the Rocky Mountains in yellow pine and ponderosa forests along sheltered, wooded streams, and meadows. (2)
Edible Uses: None
Medicinal Uses: Agrimony is an astringent and diuretic, containing many astringent acids and tannins. Tea can be made from the dried root (1 teaspoon) or of the herb (1 tablespoon) as needed for urine acidity and mild bladder and urethra inflammations. It is especially useful when the inflammations are causing a dull flank or lower back pain. It is a short-term remedy for urinary tract inflammations. Both internally and externally use the tea for mild hives and moist skin eruptions. A weak tea made from the leaves makes a soothing eyewash. The tea is also useful externally for diaper rash or other chafing rashes for babies. The tea is rather useful as a daily tonic for people with sticky blood, high LDL cholesterol and moderate tendancy for platelet aggregation. (3)
Foot Notes: ( 2, 3) Medicinal Plants Of the Mountain West by Michael Moore, 1st Edition, page 20, publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press ; copy right 1979 ISBN 0-89013-104-X
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