A perennial member of the rose family Rosaceae, Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) has long been known for its cramp-fighting properties. It is widespread in the northern hemisphere where it is known to form a carpet of silvery leaves that shimmer in the wind. The name potentilla is Latin for mighty due to its great healing power. Anserina means “of the goose” in Latin probably because this plant grows well in areas where geese walk and “fertilize” the soil with their droppings. It is also called Silvery Cinquefoil, Crampweed, Tormentilla, Goosegrass, Goose Tansy and Five Finger Grass.
Medicinal use of Silverweed
Silverweed is the number one cramp-fighting herb. It relieves abdominal pressure, releases trapped gas, treats diarrhea and stops bleeding. It is a tried and tested herb to relieve strong menstrual cramps. It also soothes stomach, intestinal and muscle cramps.
Externally, herbalists use Silverweed for its tightening, blood-stopping and antibacterial properties to treat inflammation of the gums and mouth mucosa. They also use it as tea compress to treat conjunctivitis and sty.
When used internally, Potentilla anserina:
- Soothes menstrual cramps
- Combats stomach, intestines and muscle cramps
- Stops mild cases of crampy diarrhea
- Relieves strong flatulence (trapped wind) also when accompanied by heart palpitations
- Stops bleeding
When used externally, it:
- Cures sore throat, sore gums and mouth ulcers
Silverweed leaves and flowers contain:
Dietary tannins, tormentic acid, tormentoside (a glycoside of tormentic acid), flavonoids (potent antioxidants that protect the body against cell-damaging free-radicals), coumarin, proanthocyanidins (also known as condensed tannins, they are powerful antioxidants and anticarcinogens, phytosterols LDL-cholesterol-reducing plant sterols.
4-6 g flowering herb (leaves and flowers)
Cultivation and Harvest
Plant Silverweed in rich soil a sunny position and watch its runners take over your garden.
Herbalists harvest the flowering stems and leaves together to make their medicine. Harvest the fresh flowers and leaves and dry them quickly. Store in an air-tight container.
Herbalists use Silverweed in the following ways:
Silverweed can potentially increase stomach irritation.