7 Interesting Benefits of Potentilla Reptans

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Some of the most interesting health benefits of Potentilla reptans include its ability to calm the gastrointestinal system, reduce inflammation, promote rapid healing, eliminate pain, improve respiratory health, and soothe the skin.

What is Potentilla Reptans?

Potentilla reptans is an unusual plant in the Rosaceae family that is known by a number of different names throughout Europe, including the creeping cinquefoil or the creeping tormentil. Believed to be native to North Africa, this small plant has rood nodes near the base of the stem and boasts yellow flowers. It is a rather hardy plant and is quite common, and commonly mistaken for another common plant, silverweed. However, Potentilla reptans is also quite popular in the herbal medicine community, as it has been used for traditional medicine for thousands of years. [1]

Although Potentilla reptans tends to invade lawns in England, this herb has been praised for its ability to do everything from protect against witches to cure diseases, and while certain old beliefs have fallen away, there is still plenty of evidence that these herbal concoctions and remedies are effective, particularly since research has shown concentrations of antioxidant compounds, particularly tannins, in the leaves and roots of this herb. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of Potentilla reptans. [2]

Potentilla bloom with leaves in the outdoors

Potentilla, also called shrubby cinquefoil or bush cinquefoil is one of the most popular landscape shrubs. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Health Benefits of Potentilla Reptans

Health benefits of potentilla reptans includes:

Gastrointestinal Issues

As a powerful astringent substance, creeping cinquefoil can ease discomfort associated with diarrhea and other intestinal issues, namely by tightening the blood vessels and causing muscles to contract. While this isn’t a permanent solution, it can help in the short-term. [3]


One of the most popular uses for Potentilla reptans, both in history and at present, is as an anti-inflammatory substance. You can either use the honey extracted near the base of the stem or create a decoction of the leaves and stems to produce a topical solution for inflammation of the body and joints. When ingested, this anti-inflammatory quality can reduce irritation in other parts of the body, thereby increasing organ function. [4]

Immune System

The quality explained above also makes it a very effective remedy for fevers, and by breaking a fever, the body is better able to heal itself, as the immune system can begin to eliminate the bacteria or virus. This is an ancient use of Potentilla reptans that is still relied on today. [5]

Analgesic Properties

If you are suffering from any sort of toothache or other discomfort in your mouth, you can gargle with the water from a Potentilla reptans decoction and the analgesic quality of the herb will relieve the pain. This is also an effective way to prevent bacterial infections in the mouth, or gingivitis, as there are certain antibacterial effects of the herb as well. [6]

Sciatic Nerve Pain

The anti-inflammatory properties of this herb also extend to nerve pain and the problems of arthritis. This has made it a popular remedy for elderly populations in recent years. [7]

Skin Health

If you are suffering from boils, sores, or wounds, applying a Potentilla reptans salve on the skin can quickly improve the appearance of the spot and promote rapid healing. The tannins contained in Potentilla reptans promote antioxidant activity and blood flow to heal these wounds and protect against infection. If you have age marks or wrinkles, the tannins can also help tighten the skin and improve appearance, due to the astringent nature of the herb. [8]

A Final Word of Warning

You should not regularly take Potentilla reptans for more than 2 or 3 weeks in succession. Also, only use recommended amounts, particularly  when consuming the herbal supplement or remedy. The main reported side effects are nausea and upset stomach; if this happens, discontinue use immediately.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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