The medicinal parts are the fresh flowering plant and the roots.
Flower and Fruit
The flowers are solitary or in pairs on long thin pedicles opposite the leaves. The calyx has 5 segments and is 10 to 25 mm across. The golden yellow petals are obcordate and up to twice as long as the calyx. A ringlike swelling at the base of the stamens exudes a kind of honey. The small fruit is oblong-ovate and wrinkled.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
The plant is a herbaceous perennial with a thin, divided rhizome and rosettes of basal leaves. The basal leaves produce 30 cm to 100 cm-long flowering stems from their axils, which are rooted at the nodes. The stems are pubescent or almost glabrous, have no glands and are often tinged red. The cauline leaves are long-petioled and 5 to 7 digitate. The basal stipules are fused to the petiole. The leaflets are obovate, 10 to 70 mm long, dentate to serrate and pubescent or almost glabrous.
Europe. The plant is common in Europe, Western Asia, North America, Ethiopia and the Near East. Potentilla canadensis is indigenous to Canada and the U.S. and is very similar.
European Five-Finger Grass and root is the complete plant of Potentilla reptans.
The drug is a mixture of green and brown in color and has no particular smell or taste. The roots are dug up in September/October and then dried in a sunny, airy place.
Cinquefoil, Five Fingers, Five-Finger Blossom, Sunkfield, Synkfoyle
Actions & Pharmacology
Tannins (6 to 12%)
Flavonoids: including quercetin-3,7-diglucuronide
The drug is astringent and has wound healing effect due to the tannin content.
Indications & Usage
European Five-Finger Grass is used internally for diarrhea and fever; externally for inflammation of the mucous membranes of mouth and gums, toothache, and heartburn.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. There have been complaints of gastrointestinal upset in conjunction with the drugs use reported in the literature.
Mode of Administration
Available as crude drug and as an infusion for internal and external use.
A decoction for internal use is prepared by adding 3 g of drug per 100 mL of water. A decoction using 6 g of drug per 100 mL of water is used for external application and mouth rinses.
Internally, 2 to 3 cups of a decoction prepared according to the formula above are administered daily. Externally, a decoction using the formula above is administered as a gargle, mouthwash or rinse. Moist compresses may be applied to affected areas of the skin.