The medicinal parts of the plant are the fresh or dried aerial parts collected during the flowering season, as well as the whole fresh or dried plant.
Flower and Fruit
The peduncles are usually distinctly longer than the bracts and the permanently erect pedicles, which are 2.2 to 7 mm long. The flowers are longer than their pedicles. There are 5 separate sepals and 5 petals. The sepals are erect when they first bloom then hang when the fruit matures. The petals have long stems. There are 10 stamens and 5 ovaries with long styles, which form an upward curve when mature. The fruit is circular and 2 cm long, with 3 mm long protruding, reticulate, glabrous, or pubescent fruit lobes, which are wrinkled horizontally in an upward direction. These permanently enclose the smooth, finely spotted seeds. The fruit lobes burst off from the central column without the awn.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
Geranium robertianum is a 20 to 40 cm high annual or hardy annual with a weak, branched tap root and a long hypocotyl. The stems are heavily branched, usually red, and glandular-haired. The leaves are 3- to 5-sectioned compound leaves with petiolate, entire-margined to double-pinnasect leaflets.
Herb Robert has an unpleasant smell often associated with goats or bugs.
The plant is indigenous to the area stretching from Europe to China and Japan; to Africa southward as far as Uganda; to the Atlantic seaboard of North America; and the temperate areas of South America.
Herb Robert is the aerial parts of Geranium robertianum, which are gathered between May and October in uncultivated regions, then dried in the open air in the shade.
Not to be Confused With
The herbs of Geranium palustre and Geranium pratense are frequently used as an adulteration.
Dragon's Blood, Herb Robin, Red Shank, Storkbill, Wild Crane's-Bill
Actions & Pharmacology
Flavonoids: including rutin, quercetin-3-O-rhamnogalactoside, kaempferol-3-O-rhamnoglucoside, hyperoside
Tannins: geraniin, isogeraniin, beta-penta-O-galloylglucose
The drug has the following effects:
The extract of the fresh herb, including rhizome, has been shown to have a mild antiviral effect against the vesicular stomatitis virus. In another study, however, the aqueous solution of the ethanol extract was not shown to have an antiviral effect against the polio virus Type 1, measles, coxsachie-B2, adeno- or Semliki forest virus.
The fraction of an extract produced with 80% ethanol was shown to have an inhibitory effect on the growth of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. In the serial dilution test, growth of Microsporum canis and Trichophyton mentagrophytes was completely stunted.
Effects have only been described in general reviews.
Indications & Usage
The drug is used in folk medicine internally for diarrhea, functional impairment of the liver and gallbladder, inflammatory conditions of gallbladder and its ducts, kidney and bladder, and calculosis. In addition, washed fresh leaves are chewed or prepared as an infusion or decoction used as a mouthwash or gargle for inflammatory conditions of the oral mucous membrane. External application is used to treat poorly healing wounds and mild rashes. These uses appear plausible because of the tannins.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
Health risks or side effects following the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages are not recorded.
Mode of Administration
The drug is used internally as well as externally.
To prepare an infusion, add 1 dessertspoonful of drug to 1/2 liter of cold water. Bring to a boil and leave to steep.
Internally, the average single dose of the drug is 1.5 g; drink 2 to 3 cups of the infusion daily, between meals.