Tormentil: health benefits and ingredients of tormentil

At first glance, the tormentil (Potentilla erecta) looks rather inconspicuous with its small yellow flowers and does not reveal the strong healing powers hidden in the roots of this herbaceous plant, which belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae), a large family of dicotyledonous plants. In the Netherlands, the plant is mainly found in dry heaths, in the dunes and on limestone grass slopes. Centuries ago the plant was used against bleeding. The color of the cut carrot and its juice is red. A red dye is extracted from the root. Tormentil has a very high tannin content. The tannins from the root have anti-inflammatory, drying and astringent properties, making it suitable for treating superficial wounds. In addition, tannins prevent the growth of germs and bacteria. The astringent effect of the tormentil can also be extremely useful for diarrhea.

  • Profile of tormentil
  • What is Tormentil?
  • Gender and family
  • Location
  • Bloom
  • Stems and leaves
  • Perennial
  • Medicinal herb
  • Ingredients of tormentil
  • Substances and effect
  • Tannins
  • Triterpenes
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenolic acids
  • Application and health benefits
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • Application forms
  • Side effects


Botanical drawing of tormentil / Source: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)

Profile of tormentil

Tormentil has the following features:

  • Scientific name: Potentilla erecta
  • Plant family: rose family (Rosaceae)
  • Common names: bloodroot, multiroot
  • Origin: Central and Northern Europe, Siberia, North America
  • Plant parts used: root and the whole plant
  • Areas of application: diseases of the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat, hemorrhoids, superficial burns, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, colds, wound healing, fever, rheumatism and gout


What is Tormentil?

Gender and family

The erect tormentil belongs to the goosey oak genus (Potentilla) and to the rose family (Rosaceae). It is a plant species common in central and northern Europe, whose range extends to Siberia. The plant was probably introduced to North America.


On dry to moist meadows, in mixed forests, on heathlands and in sand dunes, this herbaceous plant does not grow solitary, but always in groups and it is considered a pointer or indicator of acidic and poor soils. The plant needs a nutrient-poor location, lots of sun and it grows best in soils with a high proportion of clay, sand or peat.

Flower / Source: Unknown, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)


The bright yellow flowers appear from May to September. Each flower has a long stem and some of them emerge from the leaf axils. The flower usually consists of four yellow, heart-shaped petals (sometimes three or five) and a large number of stamens. The fruit that emerges from the four ripening carpels in the flower after it has withered is an achene that is dispersed by the wind.

Stems and leaves

The stems of Potentilla erecta, which are usually erect or arching, give this species its name. The stems can grow up to 30 centimeters high. The leaves are palmate and consist of three leaflets, which are obovate and coarsely toothed.


Tormentil overwinters as a perennial with its rhizome persisting in the ground. The root gives off a red color when you break or tear it.

Tormentil / Source: Tirente, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-2.5)

Medicinal herb

From spring to autumn, the rhizome is dug up, dried in the sun and then used as an alcoholic extract or as a tea.

Ingredients of tormentil

Substances and effect

The medicinal properties of tormentil are due to the special medicinal substances it contains:

  • tannins
  • triterpenes (tormentoside)
  • flavonoids (proanthocyanides)
  • phenolic acids
  • fatty acids
  • essential oils

The effect of these substances is:

  • strongly astringent
  • anti-inflammatory
  • fever reducing
  • analgesic
  • immunostimulating
  • antiviral


Front of the magazine / Source: Kristian Peters — Fabelfroh 07:20, September 26, 2006 (UTC), Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)


The astringent effect of tormentil on the skin and mucous membranes of the human body is due to the tannins contained in the plant. Tannins change the protein structure in the skin and mucous membranes, causing them to solidify and contract. This stops bleeding and improves wound healing, as bacteria and viruses also find it more difficult to penetrate the tissue.


Terpenes are a class of organic molecules derived from isoprene. Plants use terpenes in particular to deter or attract certain animals. There are several subgroups of terpenes, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and triterpenes that are of great medical importance. Triterpenes consist of three terpene units. The triterpene tormentoside found in tormentil inhibits inflammation and promotes the body’s immune system.


Flavonoids are secondary plant substances that have an antiallergenic, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiviral, antihypertensive, antispasmodic and vasoprotective effect. They are part of medicines for gastrointestinal complaints, organ disorders, allergic reactions and cardiovascular diseases. The flavonoids that are important in tormentil are the proanthocyanides. They have an antioxidant effect that is many times more effective than vitamin C and thus protect against free radicals. In addition, proanthocyanides can increase the effectiveness of vitamin C tenfold and cross the blood-brain barrier between the brain and the rest of the body.

Root / Source: Wolfgang Frisch, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Phenolic acids

Together with tannins and flavonoids, phenolic acids belong to the polyphenols. They are secondary plant substances in the form of chemical compounds made from hydroxybenzoic acid and hydroxycinnamic acid. They occur in the outer parts of plants and have an antibacterial effect by protecting the plant against micro-organisms.

Application and health benefits


Tormentil has an anti-inflammatory effect. This is because the root of the plant contains large amounts of the tannin agrimoniin. Tannins surround injured or inflamed areas of the mucous membrane with a kind of protective layer that keeps germs at bay. In the event of diarrhea, this protective layer also ensures that less water is extracted from the feces.

A postage stamp of the Tormentil of the Faroe Islands, a group of islands located in the northern Atlantic Ocean in the triangle Scotland-Norway-Iceland / Source: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)


Tormentil is particularly effective against diarrhea. Tormentil extract reduces the duration of diarrhea and there is also less fluid loss.

Gastrointestinal complaints

Tormentil is mainly used for gastrointestinal complaints. In addition, you can also treat a mild inflammation of the mucous membrane in the mouth or throat (mouth infection and laryngitis) with a mouth rinse with tormentil.

Application forms

Tormentil can be applied externally as a compress or as an ointment for burns and other types of wounds. Mouthwashes for inflammation can be made from the alcoholic extract or a tincture. The herb can be taken in tea or drop form, or as a capsule to combat gastrointestinal complaints or fever.

Side effects

In case of hypersensitivity, minor complaints may occur in the gastrointestinal tract due to the high tannin content. It is not recommended to take tormentil during pregnancy, because it also affects the lining of the uterus.

read more

  • Medicinal plants and herbs: types and uses
  • Goldenrod: health benefits, dosage and application
  • Jiaogulan: health benefits and active ingredients
  • Lucuma: health benefits and nutritional value of lucuma
  • Nasturtium: health benefits and ingredients
© 2023 ApaFungsi.Com