Botanical Name: Potentilla erecta.
Potentilla, the scientific name of the genus tormentil belongs to, derives from the Latin word “Potentia” which means power. Medicinal Uses And Health Benefits – Tormentil.
Other Common Names: Septfoil, bloodroot, erect cinquefoil, shepherd’s knot, tormentilla (Spanish), Aufrechtes Fingerkraut (German), potentille dressée (French), tepperot (Norwegian), blodrot (Swedish), blóðmura (Icelandic), rätvänä (Finnish), blodrød (Danish).
N.B. One of tormentil’s common English name “bloodroot”, is also the name of a completely different plant, the American species Sanguinaria canadensis. This plant belongs to different plant family and has other medicinal properties.
Habitat: Tormentil grows wild predominantly in Europe, West Siberia, Asia Minor and Newfoundland.
The plant grows on lean, sandy, light acid soils in dry habitats, such as mountains, meadows, bogs, dunes, fens, heaths and open woods.
Description: Tormentil is a 10 to 30 cm high, perennial, herbaceous plant that belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae). The stems are slender, procumbent or erect, and richly branched. The short rhizome is thick, hard, and blackish externally but brownish red internally.
The shiny, dark green leaves are alternate and consist of three obovate leaflets with serrate margins.
Each flower stalk produces one single yellow flower at the tip. The flower has four petals (rare in the rose family) that form a cross-like shape. The plant is in bloom from August to September and it produces 2 to 8 inedible fruits.
Tormentil is hermaphrodite (male and female organs on the same plant) and it is pollinated by bees, beetles and various insects belonging to the order Lepidoptera e.g. butterflies and moths.
Plant Parts Used: It is the rootstock (rhizome) that is used medicinally.
The rhizomes are dug up in early spring or late fall. The small root runners (stolons) are removed before the rhizomes are cleaned and dried for later use in powder form or as a tincture.
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
- Mouth sores (lichen planus). Early research suggests that gargling with a tormentil solution, applying codfish oil to the affected area, and taking conventional medicine to stimulate the immune system shortens flare-ups of lichen planus compared to taking only conventional medicines to stimulate the immune system.
- Ulcerative colitis. Early research suggests that taking tormentil extract daily for 3 weeks may reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
- Stomach complaints.
- Stopping bleeding, when applied to small cuts.
- Sore mouth and throat, when used as a mouthwash.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of tormentil for these uses.
Side Effects & Safety
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.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
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.
Dosage and Administration
As tea: Boil 1-3 tablespoons of the chopped tormentil root in half a liter of water for 15 minutes. A cup of the tea can be drunk several times a day between meals.
This concoction can also be used as a gargle or added to bathwater or sitz bath.
The tea has a rather distasteful flavor, to say the least, but can be improved upon by adding peppermint, chamomile or lemon balm to it. These herbs are also good for the digestion, among other things.
As a tincture: Place finely chopped root in alcohol (40%) for 4-6 weeks, stored in a warm place. Shake the mixture daily and finally filter.
If the tincture is intended as a gargle, the dosage is 10-20 drops in half a glass of water.
Tormentil has a strong drying action, and can at high doses easily irritate the gastric mucosa.
As an ointment: Wash and shred the root. Let it simmer for 10-20 minutes in an equal weight of olive oil and allow it to pull overnight.
Then heat the mass to a liquid state and sieve it through a cloth. Add a bit of beeswax and wait until the wax melts, stir and allow it to cool down until the ointment solidifies.
Source: webmd.com and herbal-supplement-resource.com