Strong-smelling annual or biennial herb growing to 20 in (50 cm). Has deeply cleft red-green leaves, bright pink flowers, and pointed seed capsules.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to Europe and Asia, herb robert is naturalized in North America. It is gathered in summer.
Aerial parts, root.
Herb robert contains tannins, a bitter principle (geraniin), traces of volatile oil, and citric acid.
History & Folklore
Herb robert’s unpleasant odor has earned it the name “stinking Bob” in parts of England.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Herb robert is little used in contemporary European herbal medicine. It is occasionally employed in much the same way as Wild geranium (G. maculatum), as an astringent and wound healer. The herb bears closer investigation as a remedy. According to one authority it is effective against stomach ulcers and inflammation of the uterus, and it holds some potential as a treatment for cancer.