POTENTILLA: Uses and Benefits

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Common Name: Potentilla Reptans, Creeping Cinquefoil, Creeping Tormentil, European Cinquefoil

Genus: Potentilla

 

Potentilla  is a very interesting perennial plant in the Rose family that is known by a number of names. Easy to grow, this small plant, has fuzzy dark green leaves with a strawberry-like look, and five petals yellow flowers. It is a rather quite common hardy plant that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. It grows well in the open meadows and grassy slopes,  and it’s very common to find from late spring to late summer, will dries out with first frost.

People have used this plant for the tannic acids that is found in its rootstock, to treat different kinds of conditions and disinfect wounds. The starchy roots taste like parsnips, rather then sweet potatoes, and have served as a human food, while its leaves are valued as a healthful tea. Like all its relatives in the Rose family, flowers are edible, and can add a healthy creative touch to fruit or green salads.

MEDICINAL USE

This plant is considered to be one of the safest native astringents, widely used in herbal medicine in the treatment of  dysentery and sore throats. The whole plant, and especially the roots, are antibiotic and strongly astringent.

One of the most popular uses, from ancient time to present, is as an anti-inflammatory substance. A decoction of the leaves and stems to produce a topical solution for inflammation of the body and joints. When ingested, this anti-inflammatory quality can reduce irritation in other parts of the body, as well as increasing organ function. Women can use its extraction when experiencing painful menstrual periods. This quality makes it a very effective remedy for fevers, or nerve pain and arthritis, making it particular popular among aged people.

For those suffering from any sort mouth conditions, gargle a decoction of this plant, the analgesic quality of the herb will relieve the pain.  Its decoctions are recommended as a wash for mouth ulcers, infected gums and inflamed eyes as an effective way to prevent bacterial infections. The plant’s effectiveness as a toothache remedy is undeniable. My grandmother used to chew bits of this herb, and I  finally understand the reason behind this habit of hers!

The tannins contained in the plant promote antioxidant activity to heal wounds and protect against infection. If you have age marks and wrinkles, the tannins act as tighten for the skin improving appearance, thanks to its astringent nature.