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Tormentil

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  • Botanical: Potentilla erecta
  • Family: Rosaceae
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Tormentil

Botanical

Potentilla erecta

Family

Rosaceae

Known as

Septfoil, Blutwurz, Dilledapp, Durmentill, Natterwurz, Rotwurz, Ruhrwurz, Siebenfinger, Tormentill

Old Use

medicine, culinary, industry

Parts Used

roots

Medicinal

chapped skin, circulation, cramps, cramps stomach, diabetes, diarrhea, digestion, dry skin, eye inflammation

Heart & Circulation

circulation, hemostatic

Infection & Inflammation

conjunctivitis, eye inflammation, gum bleeding, mouth sores, sinusitis, toothache

Respiratory System

bronchitis, catarrh

Stomach & Intestinal

diabetes, diarrhea, digestion, liver weakness

Skin & Hair

chapped skin, conjunctivitis, corns, cracked skin, itching, scars, warts

Properties

antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, astringent, digestive, emmenagogue

Description

Potentilla erecta is a low, clump-forming plant with slender, procumbent to arcuately upright stalks, growing 10–30 centimetres (3.9–11.8 in) tall and with non-rooting runners. It grows wild predominantly in Scandinavia, Europe, and western Asia mostly on acid soils in a wide variety of habitats, such as mountains, heaths, meadows, sandy soils and dunes.This plant is flowering from May to August/September. There is one yellow, 7–11 millimetres (0.28–0.43 in) wide flower, growing at the tip of a long stalk. There are almost always four notched petals, each with a length between 3 and 6 mm. Four petals are rather uncommon in the rose family. The petals are somewhat longer than the sepals. There are 20–25 stamens. The radical leaves have a long petiole, while the leaves on the flowering stalks are usually sessile or with short petioles. The glossy leaves are alternate, ternate, consisting of three obovate leaflets with serrate margins. The paired stipules are leaflike and palmately lobed. There are 2–8 dry, inedible fruits.

Properties & Uses

Containing more tannin than oak bark, all parts of tormentil are strongly astringent, finding use wherever that action is required. This plant is considered to be one of the safest native astringents and it is widely used in herbal medicine in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, sore throats etc. The whole plant, and especially the root, is antibiotic, strongly astringent, haemostatic and hypoglycaemic. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, ulcerative colitis etc. Externally, the plant makes a good styptic for cuts etc., and a strongly made decoction has been recommended as a wash for mouth ulcers, infected gums, piles and inflamed eyes. Extracts are used to treat chapping of the anus and cracked nipples. The plant's effectiveness as a toothache remedy is undeniable and it has also been of benefit in treating bed-wetting by children.

Other Uses

A red dye is obtained from the roots. The plant, and especially the root, is rich in tannin It s used cosmetically as a compress to tone up flabby skin. The root contains up to 20% tannin.

The roots are extremely rich in tannin, long boiling converts this into a gum and it can then be eaten. An emergency food, it is only eaten when all else fails. A tea is made from the rhizomes.

 

Cautions

Gastrointestinal symptoms if doses over 1g. Interferes with iron absorption & other minerals when taken internally. Avoid if inflammatory or ulcerative bowel disease. Avoid if pregnant or lactating

Distribution

Potentilla erecta is almost ubiquitous in the British Isles, recorded in almost all 10 km squares except close to the Wash and is listed as a species of least concern. It is very common in grasslands, heaths, moors and mountains, bogs including roadsides and pastures, mostly on acidic soilsbut avoiding chalk. 

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.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.