POTENTILLA: Uses and Benefits

 Family: Rosaceae

Genus: Potentilla

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


Potentilla Reptans 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 rood nodes near the base of the stem, has fuzzy dark green leaves with a strawberry-like look, and boasts five petals yellow. It is a rather quite common hardy plant that has been used for traditional medicine for thousands of years. It grows well in the open meadows and grassy slopes, start producing leaves in May and flowers by June-July, will dries out by September.

Potentilla favour meadowland, roadsides, field margins and dry stone walls. 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 root taste like parsnips, rather then sweet potatoes, has served as a human food, while its leaves are valued as a healthful tea. Like all its cousins in the Rose family, Potentilla flowers are edible, and can add a healthy creative touch to fruit or green salads. Roots are extremely rich in tannin, long boiling converts this into an edible.


MEDICINAL USE: This plant is considered to be one of the safest native astringents, widely used in herbal medicine in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, sore throats. The whole plant, and especially the root, is antibiotic, strongly astringent, haemostatic and hypoglycaemic. One of the most popular uses for Potentilla, 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 made from Potentilla, the analgesic quality of the herb will relieve the pain. Decoction are recommended as a wash for mouth ulcers, infected gums, piles and inflamed eyes as an effective way to prevent bacterial infections within the mouthPotentilla salve applied on the skin can quickly promote rapid healing. 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, due to its astringent nature.


The plant’s effectiveness as a toothache remedy is undeniable. My grandmother used to chew bits of this herb, and I have finally understood the reason behind this habit of hers!



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