encyclopedia

Cranesbill Tea

Scientific Names:    

Geranium robertianum L. and G. maculatum L. [Fam. Geraniaceae]    
     

Forms:    

Infusions and extracts of the leaves of Geranium robertianum L. and/or the roots of Geranium maculatum L.    
     

Traditional Usage:    

– Bladder Health Maintenance
– Bleeding Ulcers
– Burns
– Canker Sores
– Cellular Regeneration
– Cleansing
– Detoxification
– Diarrhea
– Digestive Disorders
– Gastritis
– Gastrointestinal Problems
– Gingivitis
– Hemorrhoids
– Infections
– Mild Hemorrhage
– Night Sweats
– Poultice
– Sore Throat
– Toothache
– Ulcers
– Urinary System Infections
– Wounds     
   
     
Overview:    

Robert's Herb or Herb Robert cranesbill, Geranium robertianum L., and wild or spotted cranesbill, G. maculatum L. [Fam. Geraniaceae], are perennial wild flowers native to Europe and North America. Herb Robert is a popular folk remedy against abnormal growths recommended by a Russian doctor as part of a 'Breuss Cure'. The leaf tea was also used against malaria, tuberculosis and digestive disorders. Additionally, Herb Robert leaf tea was used similarly to the more widely used tannin-rich roots (10-28%) of wild or spotted geranium that are highly astringent. Cranesbill tea was traditionally used as a styptic to stop bleeding and also to treat diarrhea, dysentry, relieve piles and gum disease and act as a diuretic. Wild geranium root tea was used as a tonic in folk medicine and was additionally used to treat burns, abnormal growths, cholera, gingivitis, hemorrhoids, leucorrhea, infections (including the plague), internal bleeding, canker sores, wounds, toothache, sore mouth and throat, ulcers, and various stomach problems. Cranesbill is particularly suitable for treating diarrhea in children and is reputedly devoid of unpleasant side effects. The astringent tannins of Herb Robert and wild cranesbill tea directly improve the tone and function of mucous membranes and the tea may be ingested or used externally. A cranesbill poultice was specifically recommended to relieve the pain of swollen breasts. The English took cranesbill for hemorrhages, jaundice, and urinary system infections. Cranesbill is more popular in Europe than in North America. Geranium maculatum is also popularly used by Peruvian people in different locations of Peru for the treatment of diarrhea, with good success. Based on an “in vitro” study, Geranium maculatum showed no bactericidal effect to stop cholera spreading. Nevada tribes used cranesbill tea as a method of birth control, and it was believed that the user would not become pregnant for a year.    
     
    
Active Ingredients:    

Cranesbill contains: tannins, which hydrolyze to gallic acid and geranium red (the roots of G. maculatum contain 10 to 28% tannins); anthocyanins; gum; resin; starch; sugar; calcium oxalate; and other ubiquitous compounds.    
   
     
Suggested Amount:    

5 to 15 drops may be taken every 2 to 4 hours. May be used as a poultice for wounds, abrasions, and hemorrhoids.    
     
    
Drug Interactions:    

None known.    
   
     
Contraindications:    

Avoid use during active inflammation.    
     
    
Side Effects:    

Cranesbill is not recommended for prolonged or excessive use because of high tannin content that may damage the liver over time.    
     
    
References:    

Duke JA. 1992. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 266-267.
 
Duke JA. 1985. Geranium maculatum L. In Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, Pp. 209.
 
Foster S, and Duke JA. 1990. Elderberry in Medicinal Plants. Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY, p. 146.
 
Guevara JM, Chumpitaz J, Valencia E. 1994. [The in vitro action of plants on Vibrio cholerae]. Rev Gastroenterol Peru 1994 Jan-Apr; 14(1): 27-31. [Article in Spanish].
 
Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon (Eds.) 1994. Herb Robert in Plants of Coastal British Columbia, including Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Publ. by Lone Pine Publishing, 202A-1110 Seymour Street, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, V6B 3N3. Pp. 316.