Some years ago, I was at Disneyland with a very intuitive person. As we were strolling along we saw a figure of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. Upon seeing the image of that smiling cat, she turned to me and asked, “Why would agrimony come to my mind when I see him?” I knew that the smile of that cat hid a rather cynical and devious nature and knowing the indications for agrimony as a flower remedy, I answered, “Because agrimony flower essence is helpful for people who hide their stress and emotional pain under a mask of cheerfulness.” That’s when I started calling agrimony the “Cheshire cat remedy.”
Because I’ve used agrimony as a flower remedy more than I have as an herb, I’m going to start with the emotional indications for this herb first. You’ve probably met people who always seem cheerful as if there is a perpetual smile painted on their face. However, if you were to take their pulse, you’d find out that their pulse was very tense and wiry, a sign of a highly stressed condition. So, if you dig deeper and get past the happy and enthusiastic exterior, you’ll find a person who is suffering on the inside. Inside they have a great deal of emotional pain and anxiety but have been taught since childhood that you don’t let people see these emotions, and have mastered the art of suppressing them.
The Agrimony Personality
The agrimony person may be very popular, always appearing pleasant and “nice” and never burdening others with their problems, but these stuffed emotions increasingly cause problems with both their emotional and physical health. All of us need to unburden our souls to someone periodically if only to help us sort out our thoughts. But the person who needs agrimony has a hard time being emotionally genuine with others, and even emotionally honest with themselves. Eventually, they may turn to various substances or activities to help them numb their feelings. This could be large amounts of caffeine so they can keep pushing themselves or alcohol to drown their pain, or something stronger if the disconnection between what they really feel and what they show on the surface continues to grow.
My years of experience in the field of natural healing have taught me that the mind-body connection is very real. A person’s personality dramatically affects the kinds of health problems they tend to develop, and agrimony is a good example of this. It’s hard to perpetually hold on to things and a person who holds that kind of tension in their system has to release it somewhere, and in the case of agrimony, this release takes place via the bowels and kidneys.
While the flower essence helps a person become more emotionally honest, acknowledging and expressing what’s really going on inside, thus relaxing the person’s tense and anxious state, agrimony as an herb is an astringent. It tones up tissues that are leaking and lose. Thus, agrimony has a paradoxical action, it is both relaxing and toning. For example, it’s used to treat constipation that alternates with diarrhea. It’s also helpful for nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea accompanied by intestinal spasms.
Other Actions of Agrimony
The same paradoxical relaxing and toning action is seen in the urinary system. Agrimony is helpful for spastic pain, UTIs, and urinary inflammation, but is also helpful for stopping bed wetting in children and incontinence in adults. But it’s the personality pattern that gives the strongest indications that agrimony is the right remedy in these situations. The person is tense, holding onto their emotions, but can’t keep holding on, which means that their kidneys and bowels periodically dump their load in an uncontrolled manner.
There is a similar pattern with respiratory problems. Very early in my work of emotional healing, I discovered that all emotions have a breathing pattern. When one suppresses any emotion, it is done by tensing the body and holding the breath. The agrimony person holds their breath to numb their pain. According to Matthew Wood in The Earthwise Herbal, they "need to learn to breath through their pain.” Agrimony is useful for the person who struggles to breathe freely, a phrase we associate with being able to be relaxed and natural, without having to put up pretenses to get along with others. Agrimony can clear up excess mucus and is helpful for stifled breathing in asthma or bronchitis, where a person’s lungs need to open up.
So, if you know any Cheshire cat people, who appear happy and cheerful outside, but are tense and stressed within, you know a great herb (and flower essence) to help them. Agrimony can ease their inner tension and help them become more emotionally open and honest, especially with themselves. This inner shift will improve their health at the same time it eases their emotional stress.