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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



CRANESBILL
GERANIACEAE
a.k.a. Alumroot, American Cranesbill, American Kino Root, Chocolate Flower, Crowfoot, Dove's Foot, Hardy Geranium,
Rockweed, Sailor's Knot, Shameface, Spotted Cranesbill, Storkbill, Wild Geranium

(Geranium maculatum)
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FYI An erect, hairy perennial to 18 inches with a thick, horizontal ROOTSTOCK and simple or high branching STEMS which is found on low ground throughout central and eastern North America. Basal LEAVES are long-stemed, being 2 to 6 inches across and deeply lobed (palmate) with 5 to 7 parts; stem LEAVES are opposite and short-stalked. FLOWERS are rose-purple, appearing on axillary peduncles from April to July. FRUIT is 3/4 to 1¼ inch long. The pointed upright SEED CASES are distinctive. The plant's name is derived from the similarity of the seed cases to the profile of a crane.

CONTAINS: 15 to 25% tannins: gallic acid, gallitannin; resins, gums, sugars, oleoresin, starch, pectin, bitter component.
PROPAGATION By SEED in spring and autumn, and by ROOT DIVISION when dormant.
NEEDS Grown as an ornamental in moisture-retentive soil in sun or part shade. Susceptible to rust.
PART USED Dried rootstock (when powdered, has a purple-brown color) and dried above-ground plant.
HARVEST Rootstock in autumn; PLANTS as flowering begins.
FORM Powder, tincture, decoction, eyewash, douche, nosedrops, gargle, ointment, bolus
SOLVENT Water, Alcohol
VARIETIES G.m.f. albiflorum: A white blooming variety.
RELATED SPECIES BICKNELL'S GERANIUM (G. bicknellii)
CHINESE CRANESBILL (Geranium wilfordii): Has been used in Chinese medicine for rheumatism, gastrointestinal infections, and diarrhea.
CUT-LEAVED GERANIUM (Geranium dissectum): Native to Europe and possessing similar properties and uses as American Cranesbill.
DOVE'S FOOT GERANIUM (Geranium columbinum): Native to Europe, but naturalized in North America.
HERB ROBERT (Geranium robertianum): Has been used both fresh and dried as a bitter, astringent, mild diuretic, and hemostat to treat diarrhea, gastro-intestinal infections, peptic ulcer, and hemorrhage. Has been used externally to treat skin eruptions, wounds, inflamed gums/throat, and herpes.
USES
MEDICINAL:
♦ Mainly used for its astringent properties, but because of that astringency can cause CONSTIPATION if used for EXTENDED PERIODS!
Astringent (high in tannins), antiseptic, hemostatic, anti-inflammatory; affects stomach, intestines, liver, and heart.
Has been used as a stabilizer and back-up to mucilages and anthraquinone purgatives. Has been used to improve the action of carminatives in reducing colic and wind by ensuring that the volatile oils are held longer in the gut, thus imporoving the ability of the carminative to act specifically. For digestive upsets it has been combined with Agrimonia eupatoria, Althaea officinalis, Filipendula ulmaria, or Chamaemelum nobile.
Has been used as an antidote to consumption of poisons; at one time was employed to rid the body of mercury. Has also been used for toxic condition of the gut, gut wall inflammation or infection, enteritis, gastritis, colitis, peptic ulcer (combined with Geum urbanum, Agrimonia eupatoria, Symphytum officinale), liver diseases, diabetes (combined with Aletris farinosa in decoction form), Bright's Disease (combined with Aletris farinosa in decoction form), dysentary (the rootstock boiled with a bit of cinnamon in milk until the milk is reduced by half), cholera, diarrhea (especially in children and the elderly), and food poisoning. For hemorrhage in the digestive tract it has been combined with Bidens tripartita.
Has been used to cleanse and staunch any bleeding or exudation; the powder has been applied directly for external bleeding. A strong decoction has been used as a lotion for cuts, wounds, purulent wounds, gleet (one part Cranesbill combined with 2 parts Golden Seal in decoction form), hematuria, hemorrhoids, thrush, vaginal discharge (combined with Trillium erectum as a douche), inflammations of mouth/gum/throat, abrasions, localized infections, burns, bleeding or oozing, and burrs. Has also been used for excessive menstruation. For vaginal discharge and vaginal flaccidity powdered Cranesbill has been combined with powders of White Oak bark, Echinacea, Golden Seal, and/or Raspberry leaf with enough coconut butter to make a suppository being 1" long; a pad being used after application to prevent leakage from staining. For ulceration of the bladder one part Cranesbill has been combined with 2 parts Golden Seal in decoction form
Has been used in the past for severe burns because of tannin's ability to curdle protein, providing a solid layer of leathery flesh to seal the area and form a protective scar.
Has been used as eyewash in cases of ophthalmia; as a douche for vaginal infections; nose drops in hayfever and nasal congestion; as a gargle for mouth ulcers, gum problems, and sore throats. One tribe of Native Americans used a decoction of Wild Grape and Cranesbill as a mouthwash for thrush.
Has been used in ointment form in combination with other herbs to treat hemorrhoids and anal fissures. For hemorrhoids powdered Cranesbill has been combined with powdered yarrow and made into a bolus by adding melted coconut butter until it is the consistency of dough; then it is rolled into anal suppositories about the thickness of the middle finger and 1" long; usually inserted before bedtime.
Has been used as a footbath for athlete's foot.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
♦ Although ususally employed as a decotion, an infusion has been used on occasion.
ROOT POWDER = 15 to 25 grains
INFUSION = 1 tsp of dried rootstalk in 1 cup of water, steeped for 20 minutes and taken 1 to 2 cups daily, a mouthful at a time.
DECOCTION = 5 tsp of dried rootstock (20 g) to 1 pint (1/2 liter) water which is simmered for 20 minutes; a wineglassful taken 3 times daily and half of that or less for children.
TINCTURE = 2 to 4 ml (1/2 to 1 tsp) or 2 to 30 drops in water; application varies according to condition: in cases of diarrhea, 2 to 30 drops have been indicated every 2 to 3 hours until relief has been obtained; has also been taken 3 times daily for a variety of other conditions.

HOMEOPATHY:
Used to treat diarrhea, dysentary, hemorrhage, leukorrhea, sore throat.
VETERINARY:
Has been used with livestock to treat dysentary and diarrhea, and as a wash for wounds and inflamed throats; a dose being 3/4 tsp of dried root, cut small, decocted in 1 pint of water.
OTHER:
Extracts of Cranesbill have been used for tanning animal skins.

©2001 & 2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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