Downy creeping perennial growing to 4 in (10 cm). Has leaves bearing 5 leaflets, and many 4-petaled yellow flowers.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to temperate regions of Asia and Europe, tormentil thrives in grassy sites and on heaths and moorland. The aerial parts of tormentil are harvested in summer and the root is gathered in autumn.
Aerial parts, root.
Tormentil contains 15–20% tannins, catechins, ellagitannins, and a phlobaphene.
History & Folklore
According to the 17th-century herbalist Nicholas Culpeper, the herb “is most excellent to stay all kinds of fluxes of blood or humours in man or woman, whether it be at nose, mouth, belly, or any wound in the veins or elsewhere.”
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Containing even more tannins than oak bark (Quercus robur), all parts of tormentil are strongly astringent, finding use wherever this action is required. The plant makes a beneficial gargle for throat infections, and an effective mouthwash for treating mouth ulcers and infected gums.
Tormentil maybe taken for conditions that give rise to diarrhea, such as irritable bowel-syndrome, colitis, ulcerative colitis, and dysentery, and for rectal bleeding.Applied externally as a lotion or ointment, tormentil helps relieve hemorroids (especially those that are bleeding). In the form of a lotion, tormentil is used to help staunch wounds and protect areas of damaged or burned skin.
Use internally for more no more than 3–4 weeks at a time.