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Scientific Name(s): Agrimonia eupatoria L., Agrimonia pilosa Ledeb., Agrimonia procera Wallr.
Common Name(s): Cocklebur, Common agrimony, Guan Chang Fu Fang, Hairy agrimony, Liverwort, Stickwort

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 1, 2022.

Clinical Overview


Reported uses for agrimony include as a dye, flavoring, gargle for performers and speakers, and astringent. Agrimony has been investigated clinically for hepatoprotective and antioxidant effects. However, clinical trial data are lacking to support use for any indication.


Clinical data are lacking to provide dosing recommendations. In a small study evaluating the effect of agrimony on lipid profile and antioxidant status, 200 mL of boiled water was added to 1 g of dried aerial parts of A. eupatoria and consumed twice a day for 1 month.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Agrimony reportedly has produced photodermatitis.


No data.

Scientific Family

  • Rosaceae (rose)


Agrimony is a perennial herb with small, star-shaped yellow flowers. The plant possesses a short rhizome and is supported by a firm, hairy stem. The basal leaves are arrayed in a rosette and, along with the alternate sessile stem leaves, are pinnate, serrate, and glabrous. The flowers and fruit (achene) grow at the top of the stem in a long, terminal spike. Agrimony is common in grasslands throughout Europe. It is imported from Bulgaria, Hungary, and the former Yugoslavia.(Bisset 1994, Bunney 1984, USDA 2021) A. pilosa Ledeb. is referred to as "herba agrimonia" in some countries,(Li 2015, Pu 2016, Yu 2015) and a report suggests that the chemical composition of A. procera Wallr. is equivalent to A. eupatoria L. as a valid source of Agrimoniae herba (defined as dried flowering tops of A. eupatoria).(Granica 2015)


The name Agrimonia may originate from the Greek word agremone, which refers to plants that heal cataracts of the eye. The species name eupatoria relates to Mithradates Eupator, king of Pontus, who is credited with introducing many herbal remedies. Agrimony's ancient uses include treatment for catarrh, bleeding, tuberculosis, and skin diseases.(Bunney 1984) In folk medicine, agrimony has been reported as useful in gallbladder disorders. Other reported uses include as a dye; flavoring; gargle for performers and speakers; antitumor, astringent, cardiotonic, coagulant, diuretic, sedative, and antiasthmatic agent; and for treatment of corns or warts.(Al-Snafi 2018, Duke 2002) The plant is often included in phytomedicine mixtures for "liver and bile teas." Agrimony extracts are often used in small amounts in prepared European cholagogues and stomach/bowel and urological commercial products.(Bisset 1994, Drozd 1983, Hoppe 1975, von Gizycki 1949)

Guan Chang Fu Fang is a natural compound extracted from herba agrimonia (A. pilosa Ledeb.), Patrinia scabiosaefolia, and Solanum nigrum L. that is used in China for the management of certain cancers.(Yu 2015)


The aerial parts of the plant contain 4% to 10% condensed tannins, small amounts of ellagitannins, and traces of gallotannins.(Bisset 1994, von Gizycki 1949) Polysaccharides have also been identified (approximately 20%).(von Gizycki 1949) A triterpenoid, ursolic acid, has been isolated. Silicic acid, traces of essential oil, and the flavonoids luteolin and apigenin 7-O-beta-D-glucosides are present.(von Gizycki 1949) Organic acids, vitamin B1, vitamin K, and ascorbic acid have also been found. The fresh herb contains agrimoniolide, palmitic and stearic acids, ceryl alcohol, and phytosterols. The seeds contain 35% oil; the oil contains oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids.(Bisset 1994, Duke 2002)

The chemical composition, and therefore effectiveness (minimum inhibitory concentration [MIC]), of A. eupatoria can be affected by the harvest season and location, as well as by the extraction method.(Mouro 2020)

Uses and Pharmacology

Analgesic effects

Animal data

In a cisplatin-induced neuropathic rat model, an ethanolic A. eupatoria extract of aerial parts was administered orally at 200 mg/kg for 1 week. The extract improved mechanical, thermal, and cold-allodynia hyperalgesia, often as effectively as gabapentin 100 mg/kg intraperitoneal injection.(Lee 2016)

Antibacterial activity

In vitro data

An aqueous extract of A. pilosa showed potent antibacterial activity against several Escherichia coli isolates and Listeria monocytogenes in vitro. Inhibitory activity of the extract against E. coli ATCC 25922 was comparable to that of ampicillin, with MICs of 7.81 and 8 mg/L, respectively.(McMurray 2020) In another study, an ethanolic crude extract of A. eupatoria was more effective against Staphylococcus aureus than Pseudomonas aeruginosa, with respective MICs of 1.25 and 3.75 mg/mL.(Mouro 2020) In a study investigating the neutralization of cholera toxin by 5 plant extracts obtained from the Rosaceae family, an aqueous extract of A. eupatoria aerial parts changed the cholera toxin structure and inhibited its binding to cell surfaces. The extract showed bactericidal activity against Vibrio cholerae at doses above those used in traditional medicine (10 mg/mL). The extract had no effect on Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a beneficial bacteria of the gut microbiome.(Komiazyk 2019)

Antioxidant/Anti-inflammatory effects

In vitro and in vivo data

In a study evaluating radical scavenging activity, a 55% ethanol extract of A. pilosa exhibited antioxidant activity, with subsequent experiments identifying catechin, luteolin, quercetin, quercitrin, hyperoside, rutin, and luteolin-7-O-glucoside as the specific flavonoid compounds with the most potent activity. Half maximal inhibitory concentration values ranged from approximately 4 to 8 mcM, while the value for vitamin C was 14.62 mcM. All the flavonoid compounds showed a concentration-dependent protective effect against DNA oxidative damage.(Zhu 2017b) Antioxidant potential of the phenolic content has been determined.(Kuczmannová 2015, Yoon 2012)

Clinical data

In a small study of 19 healthy volunteers (18 to 55 years of age) to evaluate effects of 30-day agrimony tea consumption on markers of inflammation, oxidative status, and lipid metabolism, 1 g of aerial parts of A. eupatoria was added to 200 mL of boiled water and consumed as a tea twice daily. By the end of the intervention, significant elevation of plasma total antioxidant capacity was observed (P<0.001) and interleukin 6 levels were significantly lowered (P<0.05).(Ivanova 2013)

Antiviral activity

In vitro data

A 50% aqueous ethanolic extract of A. pilosa aerial parts at concentrations of 0.1 mcg/mL and 0.5 mcg/mL significantly inhibited replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Vero cells compared with mock-treated controls (P<0.001). The 0.5 mcg/mL dose performed comparably to remdesivir (5 mcM) and chloroquine phosphate (10 mcM). Unlike remdesivir and chloroquine, the extract interfered with viral entry into the cell, which is key to replication. Similar results were observed with a 6:4 mixture of A. pilosa extract plus galla rhois.(Lee 2021)


In vitro and in vivo data

Antioxidant potential of the phenolic content has been determined.(Kuczmannová 2015, Yoon 2012, Yu 2015) Cytotoxic effects of agrimony against cancer cell lines have been demonstrated in vitro.(Ad'hiah 2013) In one study, simultaneous administration of Guan Chang Fu Fang and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) inhibited cell growth and induced apoptosis in a synergistic manner within the LoVo cell line. Low doses of Guan Chang Fu Fang and 5-FU induced S-phase cell cycle arrest in LoVo cells via the Bcl-2 family of proteins. Also, expression levels of certain chemotherapeutic agent resistance–related genes were identified to be downregulated by Guan Chang Fu Fang alone and in combination with 5-FU.(Yu 2015)

Cardiovascular effects

Animal and in vitro data

In vitro, clotting time was prolonged in a dose-dependent manner when an A. pilosa aqueous extract at concentrations of 4 g/L, 20 g/L, and 80 g/L was mixed with plasma or whole blood samples. At 4 g/L, the extract significantly prolonged clotting time (1,100 seconds vs 310 seconds at 0 g/L); in the 80 g/L group, whole blood showed no coagulation after 1 hour. Prothrombin time and coagulation factor VII activity were reduced; activated partial thromboplastin time was prolonged; and activity of coagulation factors VIII, IX, and XI were decreased with the extract, also in a concentration-dependent manner. However, thrombin time, fibrinogen levels, coagulation factor X activity, and calcium ion concentrations were not affected. Additionally, the levels of all blood viscosity markers increased with increasing A. pilosa concentrations.(Fei 2017)

In a rat model of middle cerebral artery occlusion, effects of various A. pilosa extracts on protection against cerebral ischemic-reperfusion injury were investigated. The 4 extraction methods were petroleum ether, ethyl acetate, ethanol, and water. The extracts were administered at 4 g/kg at 0 and 6 hours after occlusion. All 4 extracts resulted in significantly less mean infarction volumes than the control (29.4%), ranging from 13.5% for the water extract to 22.5% for the ethyl acetate extract (P<0.01 and P<0.05, respectively). However, the extracts were not as effective as the positive control, nimodipine (9.2%). Only the water extract of A. pilosa demonstrated a protective effect on neurologic functional recovery (P<0.05).(Zhu 2017a)


Animal data

Studies in rodents suggest that the chemical constituents of agrimony have potential in diabetes.(Kuczmannová 2016, Wang 2016) Rats fed a high-fat diet to induce glucose intolerance were treated with an aqueous extract of A. pilosa. After 16 weeks, insulin levels, insulin resistance, and liver weight significantly improved with A. pilosa and worsened in untreated rats (P<0.05). However, glucose levels remained similar among groups. The effects appeared to result from improvement in inflammatory markers (ie, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha, adiponectin).(Jang 2017) In a postmenopausal metabolic syndrome rat model, A. pilosa was administered for 4 weeks to ovariectomized animals fed a high-fat diet. Supplementation with the extract significantly reduced serum glucose by 26% and improved insulin and adiponectin levels compared with untreated controls (P<0.05 for each). The atherogenic index was also significantly lower in the extract-treated group compared with untreated controls (P<0.05). A decrease in hepatic lipid droplet formation was also observed in the extract group.(Jang 2020)

Hepatoprotective effects

Animal data

In a rat model of chronic ethanol-induced liver injury, an A. eupatoria water extract attenuated increased levels of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and myeloid differentiation factor 88 protein expression, inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 protein and mRNA expression, and nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-kappa B. Hepatoprotective effects are likely due to suppression of oxidative stress and TLR-mediated inflammatory signaling.(Yoon 2012)

Clinical data

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 80 Korean adults with elevated ALT levels (45 to 135 units/L) were treated with 160 mg/day of a standardized aqueous extract of A. eupatoria aerial parts for 8 weeks. Compared with placebo, the extract significantly reduced ALT (−15.7% vs 2.5%; P=0.038) and AST levels (−6.4% vs 3.2%; P=0.04). The reduction in alkaline phosphatase was not statistically significant, and no effect was observed on gamma-glutamyltransferase or total bilirubin. Additionally, triglyceride levels were significantly reduced with A. eupatoria extract (−17.7 mg/dL) compared with placebo (60.7 mg/dL; P=0.01). Changes in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and high-density lipoprotein were not significantly different from controls.(Cho 2018)

In a small study of 19 healthy volunteers (18 to 55 years of age) to evaluate effects of 30-day agrimony tea consumption on markers of inflammation, oxidative status, and lipid metabolism, 1 g of aerial parts of A. eupatoria was added to 200 mL of boiled water and consumed as a tea twice daily. Improvement in lipid profile (as estimated by increased HDL) was observed. No abnormal changes in AST, ALT, and gamma-glutamyltransferase activities were observed at the end of the study.(Ivanova 2013)

Steroid-induced avascular necrosis of the femoral head

In vitro data

A water-soluble beta-glucan isolated from A. pilosa reduced dexamethasone-induced apoptosis, cytotoxicity, and cell loss in murine osteoblasts. Subsequent experiments demonstrated improvements in collagen secretion, mineralization, and alkaline phosphatase activity with the extract and its sulphated derivatives, reflecting increased osteoblastogenesis.(Huang 2020)


Clinical data are lacking to provide dosing recommendations.

In a small study evaluating the effect of agrimony on lipid profile and antioxidant status, 200 mL of boiled water was added to 1 g of dried aerial parts of A. eupatoria and consumed twice a day for 1 month.(Ivanova 2013)

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Agrimony has reportedly produced photodermatitis.(USDA 2021)


No data.



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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