Agrimony
(Red-crown Crane's Herb)

The Chinese herb, Agrimony is also know as the "Red-Crown Crane's Herb" (Or Xianhecao in Chinese). Does it sound like a herb for crane to you? Let me share this story with you:



One summer two Chinese officials were making a long trip to Beijing to take a national examination for promotion. Seeing that time was almost running out, they hastened their journey, only to find themselves in a desert without any village in sight. They were hungry and thirsty and physically exhausted, but they could find neither water to drink, food to eat nor a place to rest. One of the officials suddenly developed a nosebleed and the bleeding wouldn’t stop, so his fellow traveler ripped a sheet of paper from an old book and squeezed it into his friend’s nose. But it was in vain, as the flood continued to flow from his nose.

The official with the nosebleed said, "I wish I had some water." Where could I possibly get water for you?" responded his nervous friend. "We are on a wide desert now. We’re in dire straits. I wish someone would help us."

At that moment, a bird flew past them with a loud cry. The official with the nosebleed looked up and saw a red-crowned crane circling over his head. "Dear bird" I wish I could borrow your winds to fly out of this desert, " shouted the official, with both arms outstretched and his mouth wide open. Shocked by the official’s loud shouting, the read-crowned crane suddenly opened its beak and a blade of grass dropped from it to the ground. The official picked it up and murmured with a smile. "Even if I can’t borrow your wings, I can still use this grass to moisten my mouth for some relief." And so, he put the grass in his mouth and started chewing it as if it were a piece of gum. Oddly enough, the nosebleed stopped after a short while and both officials started jumping with joy. "The bird gave us a magic grass," one of them said jokingly.

The two Chinese officials made it to the examination hall in the capital just in time for the examination and both of them passed and got promoted. When the two officials got together again some time later, the recalled the event on the desert and began to wonder about the grass that stopped the nosebleed. They started making inquiries about the name of the grass. But no herbalists knew anything about it. The two then drew pictures of the grass from their recollections and ordered their subordinates to search for it.

Finally, many years later, the grass was found growing along some hillsides. It was a perennial herb with long soft hairs over the entire plant. Discovering that the plant still had no name, the officials named it after the red-crowned crane.


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