American Cranesbill, commonly known as Wild Geranium, is a perennial native to the woods of Eastern and Central North America in the Geraniaceae family. A European varietal is commonly known as Spotted Cranesbill. It tolerates the cold and grows abundantly in moist Northern woods to about two feet in height and has a long, running rootstock that enables it to spread quickly in a garden. It has sticky and aromatic leaves that are deeply cleft, hairy, and toothed, pinkish to purple flowers with extended styles, and beak shaped fruit. The flowers appear from April to June in loose clusters of two to five at the top of the stems. The rhizomes of the plant are covered with scars indicating previous years growth, and when dry it has a somewhat purplish interior color. The plants typically go dormant in early summer after seed is ripe and dispersed.
Rhizome, aerial parts
American Cranesbill is an astringent, anti-haemorrhagic, hemostatic, anti-inflammatory, and vulnerary herb, especially useful at speeding the treatment of diarrhea, dysentry, and hemorrhoids. It’s high in tannins, and is also one of the safest gastrointestinal astringent herbs you can use. For women, it can be used to remedy excessive menstrual bleeding and uterine hemmoraging, as well as a douche for excessive discharge. Powdered American cranesbill can be applied externally, directly onto minor bleeding wounds.
Several Native American tribes used the plan as for sore throats, canker sores, infected gums, and oral thrush. The Mesquakie tribe brewed a root tea for toothache and for painful nerves and mashed the roots for treating hemorrhoids. When European settlers encountered the herb, they primarily used it to treat diarrhea, internal bleeding, cholera, and general diseases. Iit was also boiled with milk and cinnamon to treat dysentery. In Bulgaria, the aromatic leaves of Geranium macrorrhizum are considered an aphrodisiac.
Flavor Profile and Energetics
Astringent, bitter, neutral to cooling. Increases Vata, Decreases Pitta and Kapha
As a decoction, 1-2 teaspoons of the rhizome per cup of water, simmered for 15 minutes and taken three times daily. As a tincture, 1-2 ml three times daily.
For peptic ulcers, meadowsweet, comfrey, marshmallow, and agrimony combine well. For leucorrhea, it can be combined with beth root or made into suppositories with coconut butter, white oak bark, echinacea, golden seal, and raspberry leaf. Combines well with yarrow and coconut butter as suppositories to treat hemorrhoids.
American Cranesbill should only be taken for a few weeks at a time.
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