Avens, Water

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Avens, Water

Botanical Name: Geum rivale (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae

Synonyms: Nodding Avens. Drooping Avens. Cure All. Water Flower. Indian Chocolate.
Part Used: Root.
Habitat: The Water Avens (Geum rivale, Linn.) flourishes freely in the northern parts of Europe, in Canada and Siberia, and in Britain is more common in the northern counties and in Scotland than in the southern counties.

It is a lover of moist situations, found chiefly in damp woods and in ditches and among the coarse herbage fringing canals.

Description: It is a much stouter plant than the Common Avens, the stem 1 foot high or more, scarcely branching and with few leaves, of a simpler form. The lower part of the stem is clothed with bent-back hairs and is very downy above. The radical leaves, in the form of a rosette, as in the Common Avens, are long-stalked, lobed, the terminal leaflet larger, with more numerous segments than in Geum urbanum.

The flowers are larger than those of the Common Avens, fewer in number, not a widely-spreading star, but drooping, the petals forming together a compact and belllike corolla, of a dull purplish hue with darker veins, the calyces brownish, deeply tinged with purple. The awns feathery, not hooked.

Medicinal Action and Uses: The Water Avens has similar properties to those of the Common Avens and is employed in the same way, the root having tonic and powerfully astringent action and being beneficial in passive haemorrhage and diarrhoea.

In the eastern states of North America (where it is called Indian Chocolate, Cure All and Water Flower) it is much used as a popular remedy in pulmonary consumption, simple dyspepsia and diseases of the bowels consequent on disorders of the stomach, and is valued as a febrifuge and tonic.