Botanical Name: Argentina anserina
Species: A. anserina
Synonyms: Potentilla anserina, Dactylophyllum anserinam. Fragaria anserina.
Common Names: Silverweed, Common silverweed or Silver cinquefoil.
Other Common Names: Goosegrass, Goosewort, Wild tansy, Trailing tansy, Crampweed, Moor grass, Prince’s feathers, Argentina (Spanish), Gänsefingerkraut (German), Potenille (French), Gåsemure (Norwegian), Gasort (Swedish), Tagarmura (Icelandic), Ketohanhikki (Finnish), Gase-potenti (Danish).
Habitat:Silverweed is native to the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. The plant is often found growing wild on river and seashores and in grassy habitats such as meadows, open woodland, and road-sides.It 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.
The plant thrives best in semi-shade or full sun in well-drained moist soil and it tolerates maritime exposure
The plant was originally placed in the genus Potentilla by Carl Linnaeus in his Species plantarum, edition 1, (1753) but was reclassified into the resurrected genus Argentina by research conducted in the 1990s. The reclassification remains controversial and is not accepted by some authorities. It is a species aggregate which has frequently been divided into multiple species.
Silverweed is a low-growing herbaceous perennial plant with creeping red stolons that can be up to 80 cm long. The leaves are 10–20 cm long, evenly pinnate into in saw-toothed 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.
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.
Silverweed is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs on the same plant) and it is pollinated by bees, flies, and beetles. The plant is self-fertile.
It grows best in a well-drained loam, preferring a position in full sun but tolerating shade. Prefers an alkaline soil but tolerates a slightly acid soil. Silverweed was formerly cultivated for its edible root … This plant spreads vigorously by its running roots and can be very invasive.
The starchy rootstock can be roasted, cooked or eaten raw and it has a pleasant flavor, crunchy and nutty, similar to sweet potatoes, parsnip or chestnuts.
In the past, the roots were used as food by the Native North Americans, the Inuits of Greenland and the Sami of northern Scandinavia.
The roots can also be dried and ground to a powder that can later be mixed with regular flour and cereals, or used in soups. The roots have also been used as a coffee substitute.
Young fresh shots or the leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Silverweed contains at least 2% tannins, flavonoid glycosides (including quercitrin and quercetin), coumarin, phytosterols, anthocyanins, choline, bitter substances, mucilages and resins.The plant also contains long and medium-chain polyprenols (isoprenoid alcohols) present in the leaves. These polyprenols seem to have anti-viral properties and ongoing research is being conducted to verify the effectiveness of these compounds in that regard.
It is primarily used for its astringent effect due to its content of tannins. The root normally contains more tannins than the aerial parts.
It is less astringent than tormentil (Potentilla erecta) and creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans).
The similar medicinal effect of silverweed and tormentil has meant that they can be used in the same way as a natural treatment for diarrhea and minor external and internal bleeding.
Because silverweed contains a much lesser amount of tannins than tormentil, it has milder but weaker effect on the gastrointestinal tract.
Silverweed has been used traditionally as an herbal remedy for cramps and spasms.
In folk medicine, it has been used as a relief for abdominal pressure, excessive internal gas formation, menstrual cramps, gastritis, stomach ulcers, fevers and intestinal and muscle cramps.
The plant’s alleged antispasmodic effect on the uterus and intestines has been verified in research using animal models but later studies have not been able to confirm that this effect also applies to humans.
Silverweed is not used much internally as an antispasmodic in today’s herbal medicine but it is often included in herbal mixtures and tea blends to treat diarrhea.
External Use of Silverweed:
Externally, the herb has been used as a mouthwash for inflammation of the mouth and throat, toothache, loose teeth, gingivitis, vaginal discharge and sore throat.
In the past, distilled water from silverweed was used for cosmetic reasons to remove freckles and pimples and as a treatment for sunburns.
In addition, silverweed was used externally in the form of ointments and compresses as a remedy for bleeding hemorrhoids and to speed up the healing of wounds, scrapes, and cuts.
Other Uses: Silverweed was also used to dye yarn and tan leather.A sprig placed in the shoe can help prevent blisters. An infusion of the leaves makes an excellent skin cleansing lotion, it is also used cosmetically as a soothing lotion for reddened skin and for the delicate skins of babies. All parts of the plant contain tannin, though the report does not give quantities. A dynamic accumulator gathering minerals or nutrients from the soil and storing them in a more bioavailable form – used as fertilizer or to improve mulch.
Known Hazards: Possible stomach irritation.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.