Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects


Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) Overview


Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) 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, Tormentille.

The plant called the cinquefoil has a creeping habit. The stem runners of this perennial herb can often reach up to five feet in length. The cinquefoil bears leaves that have serrated or toothed margins on the lamina. The leaves are marked off by hairy veins. Leaves are borne on long stalks and each individual is divided into five or seven smaller leaflets. The cinquefoil bears bright yellow colored flowers from May to August in the fall. Each leaf is borne singly on individual leafless stalks on the plant.

Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) picture


The cinquefoil is quite easy to recognize in the wild. The herb is a rather pretty and dainty species of plant. The name of the cinquefoil is after an Old French word that means "five-leaf." Cinquefoil has a stem that creeps on the ground similar to the way in which the stem of the strawberry plant creeps using runners. The creeping stem produces roots, and then sends up stalks which either bears a solitary yellow flower or a leaf that is divided into five or seven distinct serrated leaflets.

The five leaflets of the cinquefoil was a symbol for the five senses of the human body, and was a common heraldic device in medieval times. The cinquefoil in heraldry served as a motif for a man who had achieved mastery over the self, which is the reason many medieval knights vied to emblazon the cinquefoil's five-fingered leaf symbol on their shield - the right to use this heraldic device could only be granted to knights who gained mastery over the self. The cinquefoil was also linked to many other powers in superstitious medieval times, for example, the herb was supposed to scare off witches. Medieval lovers often used the cinquefoil in preparing love potions and as an instrument in romantic divinations. Medieval fishermen often fixed the herb to their nets to increase their catch of fish.

The cinquefoil herb was brought over from Europe and introduced to North America. The cinquefoil is now naturalized to North America and the herb grows wild in parts of eastern North America with a range that extends from Nova Scotia all the way North to the province of Ontario in Canada and a range south to Virginia in the Eastern US.


Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) Health Benefits


Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) plant


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

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

Cinquefoil tincture, an alcoholic preparation of the root, is sometimes applied to small cuts to stop bleeding. It is also added to water and used as a rinse or mouthwash to treat sore mouth and throat.


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.

Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) Side effects


Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Cinquefoil (Potentilla Reptans) flower


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

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

Children: Cinquefoil 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 cinquefoil if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.