Potentilla anserine

Botanical Name : Potentilla anserine
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Genus: Argentina
Species: A. anserina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Other Name :Argentina anserina

Common Names :Common Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil or just “silverweed”

Habitat : Potentilla anserine is native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere,it grows  often on river shores and in grassy habitats such as meadows and road-sides.

Description:
Potentilla anserine is a low-growing herbaceous plant with creeping red stolons that can be up to 80 cm long. The leaves are 10-20 cm long, evenly pinnate into in crenate leaflets 2-5 cm long and 1-2 cm broad, covered with silky white hairs, particularly on the underside. These hairs are also present on the stem and the stolons. These give the leaves the silvery appearance from which the plant gets its name.

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The flowers are produced singly on 5-15 cm long stems, 1.5-2.5 cm diameter with five (rarely up to seven) yellow petals. The fruit is a cluster of dry achenes.

It is difficult to distinguish A. anserina from A. egedii (the only other species in the genus), the two taxa only differing in characters of the hairs; some botanists treat A. egedii as a subspecies of A. anserina.

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Potentilla anserine is most often found in sandy or gravelly soils, where it may spread rapidly by its prolific rooting stolons. It typically occurs in inland habitats, unlike A. egedii, which is a salt-tolerant coastal salt marsh plant.

Edible Uses:
The plant has been cultivated as a food crop for its edible roots. The usual wild forms, however, are impractical for this use, as they are small and are hard to clean. It may also become a problem weed in gardens.

The mission of Sarat Chandra Das to Tibet in the late nineteenth century reported that the root of the plant, under a Tibetan name variously transcribed as toma, doma or droma, was served cooked in butter and sugar at the New Year’s celebrations in the Tibetan capital Lhasa

Medicinal uses:
The dried flowering stems are used medicinally.  The drugs contain chiefly flavonoid compounds and catechol tannins as well as constipating, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, which also determine their use in the treatment of chronic nonspecific diarrheas, especially when accompanied by indigestion.  They are used primarily for those who do not tolerate sulfa drugs.  It used to be found in formulas for uterine and stomach spasms and was added to douche formulas.  Their occasional recommended use to relieve menstrual pains is, however, ineffective.  The dried flowering stems are prepared in the form of a briefly steeped infusion—one teaspoon of the crumbled drug to one cup boiling water.  The alcohol extract from the roots of both species (20-30 drops in a glass of water) is used externally with success for gargling to relieve sore throats or for swabbing inflamed gums and to tighten spongy gums and loose teeth and where there is inflammations of the mouth such as gingivitis or apthous ulcers.  Both hemorrhoids and poison oak can be treated topically with the tea.

Herbal tea from the underground roots is used to help delivery, and as antispasmodic for diarrhea. The plant was also put in shoes to absorb sweat. It was formerly believed to be useful for epilepsy, and that it could ward off witches and evil spirits.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina_anserina
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

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