Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) Overview

Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) other names: Biscuits, Bloodroot, Cinquefoil, Earthbank, English Sarsaparilla, Ewe Daisy, Flesh and Blood, Potentielle Droite, Potentille, Potentille Dressée, Potentilla, Potentilla erecta, Potentilla tormentilla, Potentille Tormentille, Septfoil, Shepherd's Knapperty, Shepherd's Knot, Thormantle, Tormentilla, Tormentillae Rhizoma.

Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) flower

Tormentil is a small growing herb that produces numerous branches. The leaves of this herb have very thin hair and have radiating divisions. They are digitately divided into four or five leaflets having toothed margins. These leaflets appear directly from the stems as the plant does not have leaf stalks. The flowers of tormentil appear solitarily and are comparatively small and have a yellow hue. Tormentil flowers have a marked difference from the flowers produced by all other Potentilla species as well as most other Rosaceae species, as they have four petals instead of the regular five petals in the flowers borne by other plants of the species.

Tormentil is low, clumb-forming plant having slender, lying on the ground to curved upright stalks and growing up to 10 cm to 30 cm in height. The plant has non-rooting runners. This herbaceous plant is found growing throughout Asia as well as northern Europe, usually in a wide diversity of locales, including meadows, clearings, dunes and sandy soils.

The tormentil plant is in bloom during the period between May and August/ September. One plant produces a solitary flower, which is 7 mm to 11 mm wide, yellow in color and grows at the apex of a long stalk. Each flower generally has four indented petals, each of them growing to a length of 3 mm and 6 mm. In effect, four petals is something uncommon in flowers of the Rosaceae species or rose family. The yellow petals of the flowers are slightly longer compared to the sepals. Each flower contains around 20 to 25 stamens. The leaves of the plant are glossy and pinnately compound (having leaflets arranged on both sides of a common stalk). The stipules resemble leaves and are palmately lobed.

This herb is a very ordinary plant that is found growing in abundance in the meadows and on hills. Tormentil can be distinguished by the small yellow flowers borne by it. The roots of the plants are rhizome-like and are used for medicinal purpose. These rhizomes are dug up in summer or early part of autumn.

Tormentil is indigenous to central and eastern regions of Europe. The herb is basically wild-harvested, especially in Eastern Europe.

Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) Health Benefits

Tormentil is an herb. The root is used to make medicine.

People use tormentil as a tea for diarrhea, stomach problems, and fever.

The herb tormentil is used to treat a number of health conditions, especially those related to the gastro-enteric tract. Medications prepared with this herb are taken orally to treat dysentery, diarrhea, gastroenteritis and enterocolitis (inflammation of the colon and small intestine). In addition, tormentil is used as a gargle or to wash the inflammation of the mucus membranes in the mouth and throat. This herb is also applied externally to cure sores, wounds and different skin complaints.

The rhizome-like root of the tormentil herb is chubby. A salve prepared with the dehydrated rhizome of tormentil plant has been traditionally used as a medication to cure several ailments, including stopping hemorrhages or treating diarrhea. At the same time, the lotion is also used as a food during emergencies and also to dye leather red.

Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) image

In herbal medicine, the tormentil plant is especially used as an astringent owing to its rich tannin content, which is exceptionally high for any type of herbaceous plant. In effect, this is related to the herb's use as a red dye, which is mainly attributed to its structurally similar phlobaphene content.

In herbal medicine, tormentil is known to be a safe and helpful astringent medication, especially pertinent to the gut wall, and is used to cure severe or nervous diarrhea, enteric irritation and/ or for providing relief from the symptoms of ulcerative and mucus colitis (inflammation of the colon). Using tormentil helps to prevent worsening of gastritis and peptic ulceration owing to consumption of food.

As aforementioned, tormentil is an extremely useful astringent gargle for treating the inflammation of the mucus membranes in the mouth and throat. In addition, this herb is also effective in treating conditions, such as pharyngitis (inflammation of the mucus membranes of the pharynx), laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), mouth ulcers and bleeding gums. The lotion prepared with the dried rhizomes of the tormentil helps in alleviating hermorrhoids and a douche prepared with the dried rhizomes of the herb may be applied to treat infections of the vagina. 

Whether this herb it used in the form of a lotion, ointment, poultice or compress, it helps to hasten the healing of cuts, wounds and pus emitting sores. In effect, a weak decoction prepared with the tormentil rhizome is effective for treating conjunctivitis. It is believed that the red pigment enclosed by the herb's rhizome possesses extraordinary attraction for bacteria. This red dye slows down the growth of bacteria much in the same manner as the aniline dyes are known to do.

Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) Side effects

Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Tormentil (Potentilla Erecta) picture

Tormentil is possibly safe for most adults when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. Tormentil extract has been taken by mouth safely by adults for up to 3 weeks.

Tormentil can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach complaints. 

Children: Tormentil is possibly safe in children when taken by mouth for up to 5 days.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking tormentil if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.