Herbs & Plants

Potentilla Tormentilla

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Botanical Name:Potentilla Tormentilla
Family:    Rosaceae
Order:    Rosales

Synonyms: Septfoil. Thormantle. Biscuits. Bloodroot. Earthbank. Ewe Daisy. Five Fingers. Flesh and Blood. Shepherd’s Knapperty. Shepherd’s Knot. English Sarsaparilla.

Common Names: Shepherd’s Knot, Tormentil

Habitat :Potentilla Tormentilla is native to Europe, western Asia and North Africa. It can be found in pastures, heaths, open woods and moorlands, preferring light acid soils.

Potentilla Tormentilla is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing 10 to 30 centimeters tall. It has erect and slender stems and pinnately compound, glossy leaves. Leaves have three obovate leaflets with serrated margins.  Leaves on the stalks are sessile and with shorter petioles than the radical ones. Flowering occurs from May to September. During this period a single flower appears at the tip. The flower is yellow and four-petaled.
Parts used: Dried rhizome and herb.


In Potentilla Tormentilla the flowers are yellow as in P. reptans, but smaller, and have four petals instead of five, and eight sepals, not ten so separated as to form a Maltese cross when regarded from above.

From the root-stock come leaves on long stalks, divided into three or five oval leaflets (occasionally, but rarely, seven, hence the names Septfoil and Seven Leaves), toothed towards their tips. The stem-leaves, in this species, are stalkless with three leaflets.

A small-flowered form is very frequent on heaths and in dry pastures, a larger-flowered, in which the slender stems do not rise, but trail on the ground, is more general in woods, and on hedge-banks. From the ascending form, 6 to 12 inches high, this species has been called P. erecta, but even in this case the long stems are more often creeping and ascending rather than actually erect.

Medicinal use:

Parts used: Dried rhizome and the herb

Chemical Constituents: It contains 18 to 30 per cent of tannin, 18 per cent of a red colouring principle – Tormentil Red, a product of the tannin and yielding with potassium hydroxide, protocatechuic acid and phloroglucin. It is soluble in alcohol, but insoluble in water. Also some resin and ellagic and kinovic acids have been reported.

There is a great demand for the rhizome, which in modern herbal medicine. Common Tormentil is considered to be a very good astringent and tonic. It is a very beneficial remedy against acute and nervous diarrhea, and can relieve symptoms of mucous and ulcerative colitis. It is also useful in treatment of constipation. It also imparts nourishment and support to the bowels. Quinoric acid found in Common Tormentil is a powerful agent against malaria. Used as a gargle, the plant expresses its astringent properties and helps in cases of mucous membranes inflammations.It is employed as a gargle in sore, relaxed and ulcerated throat and also as an injection in leucorrhoea.

The fluid extract acts as a styptic to cuts, wounds, etc.  It can be also very helpful in the treatment of laryngitis, pharyngitis, bleeding gums and mouth ulcers. Used in a douche, Common Tormentil can be helpful in cases of vaginal infections. It can ameliorate the healing of wounds and cuts. A decoction is said to help in case of conjunctivitis.A strongly-made decoction is recommended as a good wash for piles and inflamed eyes. The decoction is made by boiling 2 OZ. of the bruised root in 50 OZ. of water till it is reduced one-third. It is then strained and taken in doses of 1 1/2 OZ. It may be used as an astringent gargle. If a piece of lint be soaked in the decoction and kept applied to warts, they will disappear.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Potentilla reptans

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Botanical Name :Potentilla reptans
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Potentilla
Species: P. reptans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms:  Cinquefoil. Five Fingers. Five-Finger Blossom. Sunkfield. Synkefoyle.

Common Names :Five-leaf Grass,Five-leaved or Five Fingers, Creeping cinquefoil, European cinquefoil or creeping tormentil, Jacob’s Ladder or Greek Valerian, Potentilla  canadensis

Habitat:  Potentilla reptans is  native to Eurasia and Northern Africa and naturalized elsewhere.It grows in dry sunny locations in meadows, pastures and waste ground, usually on basic or neutral soils.

Potentilla reptans is a creeping perennial plant with large yellow flowers(about 2 cm in diameter) like the Silverweed and it blooms in June – August, each one growing on its own long stalk, which springs from the point at which the leaf joins the stem. The rootstock branches at the top from several crowns, from which arise the long-stalked root-leaves and thread-like, creeping stems, which bear stalked leaves and solitary flowers. These stem-runners root at intervals and as they often attain a length of 5 feet, the plant is rapidly propagated, spreading over a wide area. It grows freely in meadows, pastures and by the wayside.
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The name Five-leaved or Five Fingers refers to the leaves being divided into five leaflets. Each of these is about 1 1/2 inch long, with scattered hairs on the veins and margin, the veins being prominent below. The margins of the leaflets are much serrated. In rich soils the leaflets are often six or seven. Out of a hundred blossoms once picked as a test, eighty had the parts of the corolla, calyx and epicalyx in fives, and the remaining twenty were in sixes.

Easily grown in a well-drained loam, preferring a dry position in full sun but tolerating shade . Prefers an alkaline soil but tolerates a slightly acid soil. The plant spreads vigorously by means of runners and can be invasive with new runners up to 1.5 metres long being produced each year. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. The flowers are partially closed in dull weather and close completely of a night time. When closing, self-fertilisation is affected because the anthers are caused to touch the stigmas.

Seed – sow early spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:  Young leaves are eaten raw. A useful addition to salads.

Medicinal Uses:

 Parts Used: Herb, root.

Antispasmodic; Astringent; Febrifuge; Odontalgic.

Both the roots and the herb are antispasmodic, astringent and febrifuge. An infusion of the dried herb is used in the treatment of diarrhoea etc, it is also used as a gargle for sore throats and is used externally as an astringent lotion. A concentrated decoction of the root relieves toothache.

The outer bark of the root has been used as a remedy for diarrhea and internal hemorrhages.  The powder also makes an astringent for mouth sores and relieves diarrhea.  Taken with honey, it relieves sore throats, coughs and fever. A decoction made by boiling  one ounces of root in a quart of water until the liquid is reduced to one pint, or an infusion of one ounce of the dried leafy tops, steeped for 10 or 15 minutes in a pint of water, are both suggested in old herbals.

Other Uses:
The herb is used in cosmetic.The plant is an ingredient in many anti-wrinkle cosmetic preparations for the skin.The flowers attract butterfly.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Potentilla anserine

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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.

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.

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.

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.


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Herbs & Plants


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Botanical Name:Potentilla simplex
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Genus: Potentilla
Common names:potentilla, five-fingers, tormentil, and barren strawberry.
Other Names: Five Fingers, Five-Finger Blossom, Five-finger grass, Sunkfield, Synkefoyle, Common Cinquefoil, Creeping Cinquefoil, Oldfield Cinquefoil
Parts used: The whole plant flowering, leaves.

Native to Eastern and Central N. America from Nova Scotia to North Carolina, Alabama, Minnesota and Missouri. Found growing in dry open woods, prairie hillsides, roadsides, old fields and waste places.

Cinquefoil is a genus of about 500 species of annual, biennial and perennial herbs.Many of the species have leaves divided into five leaflets arranged palmately (like the fingers of a hand), whence the name cinquefoil (French, cinque feuilles, “five leaves”), though some species (e.g. P. sterilis) have just three leaflets, and others (e.g. P. anserina) up to 15 or more leaflets arranged pinnately. The leaves of some cinquefoils are eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species.


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The roots are long, slender rhizomes branched at the top from several crowns, from which arise the long-stalked leaves and solitary, yellow flowers that close up at night, and threadlike, creeping stems. The stem-runners root at intervals and often attain a length of 5 feet or more, spreading over a wide area. The name Five-leaf or Five Fingers refers to the leaves being divided into five leaflets. Each of these is about 1 1/2 inch long, with scattered hairs on the veins and margin. The margins of the leaflets serrated. In rich soils the leaflets are often six or seven. Flowers bloom in late May thru August. Harvest edible young shoots and leaves before flowers bloom. Gather entire plant, in bloom, dry for later herb use.

Recent genetic research has resulted in a number of changes to the circumscription of Potentilla (Eriksson et al., 2003).

The genera Duchesnea, Horkelia, and Ivesia, previously all regarded as distinct, have been shown to be members of Potentilla, though this change has not been universally adopted.

Conversely, the shrubby plant previously included in this genus as Potentilla fruticosa, does not to belong to Potentilla at all, and is now treated in the genus Dasiphora as Dasiphora fruticosa.

The two species formerly treated as Potentilla palustris and Potentilla salesowianum are now separated into the genus Comarum, while Potentilla tridentata is transferred to Sibbaldiopsis as Sibbaldiopsis tridentata, and Potentilla arguta is similarly now separated into the genus Drymocallis as Drymocallis arguta.

The silverweeds are also separable into the new genus Argentina, though these are closer to the typical species of Potentilla, and this separation is less well supported.

Potentilla is also related to the genera Geum and Dryas, and also to the strawberries in the genus Fragaria; Potentilla differs from the strawberries in having dry, inedible fruit (hence the name “barren strawberry” for some species).

Some species are grown as garden plants.

Cultivation: Cinquefoil is easily grown, prefers full sun but tolerating shade, in any moderately good well-drained soil. Sow seed early spring or autumn.

Collection and Harvesting :The best time to harvest and collect cinquefoil is in the month of June at the peak of summer. During collection, all the discolored or insect eaten leaves are rejected and only whole and undamaged parts are collected – it’s normal to uproot the entire plant. The proper way to dry cinquefoil is in shady sites.

Constituents: Cinquefoil contains tannins, resins, starches, glycine, tormentol, choline, amino acids, minerals (calcium, iron, sulfate, magnesium, potassium, silica, sodium), red pigment, vitamin C, bioflavonoids.

Medicinal Properities and Uses:
Cinquefoil is edible and medicinal, young shoots and leaves are edible in salad or cooked as a pot herb. The plant contains large amounts of tannins making it very astringent. A medicinal infusion made from the root is used in alternative medicine as an astringent, antiseptic, and tonic, used as a mouthwash for “thrash” and taken for dysentery and diarrhoea. A medicinal tonic is used for fevers and debility. A decoction is odontalgic, used as a gargle for loose teeth, spongy gums and, periodotal disease. Fresh juice mixed with honey removes hoarseness and relaxes sore throat, is very medicinal for coughs. A strong decoction is poured over infections, sores, rashes and as a bath additive it is soothing for reddened or irritated skin. An infusion of the leaves makes an excellent skin cleansing lotion and is also used cosmetically as a soothing lotion for reddened skin and for babies delicate skin. Powdered or crushed root stops bleeding. The plant is an ingredient in many anti-wrinkle cosmetic preparations for the skin.

The use of remedies made from the cinquefoil has a long history. Traditionally, cinquefoil was being employed as an herbal astringent and an anti-hemorrhagic agent. It was also a very common folk remedy for treating fevers and related problems in the body. The main anti-bleeding agent in the cinquefoil is the tannic acid present in the extracts of the herb, though the early traditional users of the herb were not aware of this fact. The presence of tannic acid is the reason for the extreme effectiveness of the cinquefoil remedy as an herbal astringent in stopping bleeding in any part of the body. The cinquefoil has also been traditionally linked with a potent ability to cure all kinds of fevers; this has been questioned in recent years, as repeated pharmacological investigations have not shown the herb to posses this ability.

It was an ingredient in many spells in the Middle Ages, and was particularly used as a magic herb in love potions. In an old recipe called ‘Witches’ Ointment’ the juice of Five-leaf Grass, smallage and wolfsbane is mixed with the fat of children dug up from their graves and added to fine wheat flour.
Dose: A medicinal infusion of 1 oz. of the herb to a pint of boiling water. Take 1 cup a day.

Decoction, 1 1/2 oz. of the root, boiled in a quart of water down to a pint.

How much to take:
Cinquefoil infusion: the herbal infusion can be taken thrice a day to treat all kinds of problems. The infusion can be prepared by steeping two teaspoonfuls of the dried and powdered herb in a cup of boiling water for fifteen minutes. The infusion can be prepared fresh on a daily basis.
Herbal compress: chopped cinquefoil can be prepared into an herbal compress to relieve topical disorders. Use one to two tablespoonfuls of chopped fresh cinquefoil and boil it in half a liter – a pint – of water. Allow the herb to steep in the boiling water twenty minutes before straining and cooling. The lukewarm herbal infusion can be made into a moist compress and applied on affected areas of the body. As soon as the herbal compress dries out, it must be moistened in the infusion again – this can be repeated throughout the day for maximum relief.
Cinquefoil tincture: the cinquefoil tincture can be taken in doses of two ml thrice daily to treat a variety of problems.

Applications :
Cinquefoil is also consumed as a vegetable in Europe and other places. Tender leaves of the cinquefoil can be eaten raw, or finely chopped and added in a salad or cooked in a variety of dishes such as hotpot or vegetable soups. To make external compresses, use dried whole plants that have been dried in the shade. Compresses can also be prepared from fresh decoction – made by steeping one dried whole plant in a cup or 250 ml of water. This herbal compress is excellent for the treatment of external disorders such as suppurations and hemorrhage or bruising. Herbal cinquefoil meant for consumption can be prepared by steeping the dried whole root in a cup – 250 ml – of boiling water. This remedy can be drunk to gain relief from problems like diarrhea, gastritis or uterine hemorrhaging particularly if these problems are chronic in nature. Herbal remedies made from the cinquefoil are also effective in the treatment of fractures or cases of chronic osteoporosis in patients. Since there are no side effects associated with the use of the cinquefoil, the remedies may be used in complete safety and without fear for prolonged treatments that extend for one or two consecutive months. Such treatments are particularly beneficial when the herb is used in combination with other beneficial plants that are rich in chlorophyll content, including plants like the plantain. Cinquefoil remedies can also be combined with herbs which are rich in vitamin C, such as watercress and common sorrel for maximum effectiveness. The combination of the herbal remedies in this way permits an increase in the total volume of minerals and tannins that can be absorbed by the body at any one time during the treatment. Cinquefoil is an extremely effective herb for the detoxification of the body. Addicts to any addictive chemicals benefit from the cinquefoil as the herb helps such people to walk away from addictive alkaloids like nicotine found in tobacco and cocaine extracted from coca leaves.

Pain- Relieving -Decoction:
4 t (10g) fresh cinquefoil leaves
1 t (5 g) fresh valerian roots (if dried, use 3 t)
4 cups (1 liter) water
Boil the fresh plants for 5 minutes (or infuse for 15 minutes if they are dried). Drink 1 cup (250 ml), 4 times daily, before meals.

Effective against all kinds of pain stemming from headaches, diarrhea, neuralgia, premenstrual cramps and even contractions during childbirth.

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.


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