American Cranesbill Identification:
Cranesbill is a perennial herb, growing 1 to 2 feet tall, and indigenous to woodlands in Canada and the Eastern United States. The stem is erect and unbranched, the leaves 5-parted, deeply divided, and toothed.
American Cranesbill Flower
The 5-petaled pink to purple flowers grow in pairs on axillary peduncles. Distinct “crane’s bill” in center of flower enlarges into seedpod, divided into five cells with a seed in each cell.
Other Names: Alumroot, storksbill, spotted geranium, wild geranium, wild cranesbill, spotted cranesbill, alum bloom, crowfoot, dove’s foot, old maid’s nightcap, shameface, tormentil.
Flowers: April – June
Parts Used: Root & rhizome
Habitat: Woodlands in Canada and Eastern United States; Maine to Georgia; Arkansas and Kansas to Manitoba.
History: Native Americans used a decoction of Wild Grape and Cranesbill as a mouthwash for children with thrush. Once used to stop bleeding, diarrhea, dysentery, relieve piles, hum diseases, kidney and stomach ailments. Powdered root applied to canker sores. Externally, used as a folk remedy for cancer.
Constituents: 12-25% tannins including gallic acid, with the level being highest just before flowering.
Properties: Astringent, antihaemorrhagic, anti-inflammatory, styptic, tonic, vulnerary.
Uses: Cranesbill reduces inflammation in peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers, enteritis, and bowel disease and is gentle enough for children and the elderly. It is also used to treat melaena, menorrhagia (blood loss during menstruation), and metrorrhagia (uterine hemorrhage). As a douche, it can be used in leucorrhoea.
An effective astringent used in diarrhea, dysentery, and hemorrhoids. When bleeding accompanies duodenal or gastric ulceration, this remedy is used in combination with other relevent herbs.
The powdered root is an effective blood coagulant and can be used to stem external bleeding.
Combinations: In peptic ulcers it may be used with Meadowsweet, Comfrey, Marshmallow, or Agrimony. In leucorrhoea it can be combined with Trillium.
Preparation & Dosages:
Decoction – Put 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of the root in a cup of cold water and bring to boiling. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Root Tincture – [1:5, 45% alcohol], 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, up to 3 times a day.
Liquid Extract – [1:1, 45% alcohol], 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, up to 3 times a day.