Silverweed – A Remedy for Dysmenorrhea and Malnutrition

Silverweed is recommended even by its scientific name, Potentilla anserina, as a powerful remedy: Linnaeus, the famous naturalist, gave the name Potentilla to this genus because of the powerful healing effects of the herbal medicines derived from it, which were proven by traditional use to be particularly effective, for example, against menstrual cramps and diarrhea with blood in the stool. Some of silverweed’s therapeutic properties have already been confirmed by scientific studies and also its nutritional value seems to be a real option in cases of malnutrition.

12 - Silverweed

Composition and properties

The aerial parts of silverweed contain tannins (especially those of the ellagic-acid type, similar to those found in green tea), flavan-3-ols and flavonoids (kaempferols, quercetins, myricetins, isorhamnetin, herbacetin), proanthocyanidins, minerals and vitamins (especially vitamin C), which are responsible for its sedative, antispasmodic, antioxidant, antiseptic, astringent and hemostatic properties. Silverweed also contains long and medium-chain polyprenols, a group of compounds that seem to have antiviral activity.

The root is rich in starch and has an amino acid profile which is complementary to that of barley. Due to this fact, silverweed is now considered a dietary option, for example, in Tibet, where malnutrition has been a significant problem during the past few decades.

Medicinal uses

  • Weak immunity (The immunomodulatory activity in vitro and in vivo of polysaccharide from Potentilla anserina was demonstrated in a study published in Fitoterapia in 2010.)
  • Bacterial and viral infections (including Helicobacter pylori infection and hepatitis) (Demonstrated by a study published in Fitoterapia in 2008 and a study published in Phytomedicine in 2008.)
  • Ague
  • Sore throat
  • Ischemic heart disease (A study published in Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao in 2009 demonstrated the protective effects of n-butanol extract of Potentilla anserina on acute myocardial ischemic injury in mice.)
  • Piles
  • Arthritis
  • Dysmenorrhea, menometrorrhagia (Mentioned in a study published in La Presse Médicale in 1950.)
  • Kidney stones
  • Stomach ache, abdominal cramps, enterocolitis, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea (especially if accompanied by blood discharge), jaundice (A study published in Current Drug Targets in 2014 concluded that “Potentilla extracts influence cells of human colon wall lining modulating the main features of them (viability, cytokine production). Moreover, as free radical reducing agents, they may be potentially useful in the prophylaxis or healing of colon disorders.”)
  • Wounds, cuts, burns

Preparation and administration

  • Infusion: Add 1 tablespoon of dried plant in a cup of hot boiled water and let steep for 15-20 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups a day, after a meal.
  • Decoction: Add 1 tablespoon of dried plant in 250 ml of water and boil for 5 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups a day, after a meal.

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