The humble five finger grass plant, like all Rosaceae plants, has beautiful flowers and excellent medicinal properties. Livestock breeders have been using it to increase goat milk production and fight their cattle’s hematuria (blood in the urine). Animals consume it as forage, and as with humans, it helps to stop diarrhea and gastroenteritis. We are talking about the European and the American species here since their composition and properties are practically identical.
Five Finger Grass Scientific Facts
- Other names: Creeping cinquefoil, cinquefoil.
- French: Potentille rampante.
- Spanish: Cincoenrama.
- Environment: Common in roadsides and wet prairies in Europe (P. Reptans) and America (P. Canadensis).
- Description: Five finger grass is a creeping plant (reptans) of the Rosaceae family, growing up to one meter high, with leaves divided into five folioles and yellow flowers with five petals.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The rhizome (underground stem) and the root.
Healing Properties and Medicinal Uses
The rhizome and the root of five finger grass contain various sugars, and especially tannin of the catechin group, which gives this plant astringent, hemostatic, antiseptic, and wound healing properties. It decreases mucus secretion, especially that of the genital and digestive mucosa, and heals and reduces the inflammation of these tissues. It is thus recommended in the following cases:
- Gastroenteritis and infectious diarrhea, especially when accompanied by alteration of microbial intestinal flora. This is an ideal plant to heal Summer diarrhea caused by polluted water or food that has gone bad. Patients should abstain from solid foods while diarrhea persists, and only liquids should be taken for this plant to be truly effective.
- Leukorrhea (abnormal vaginal flowing) caused by vaginal or uterine neck inflammation. Apply this plant in vaginal irrigations with a special catheter.
- Hematuria (blood urine) or hemoptysis (coughing up blood). In these cases, a clinic exploration and diagnosis must be performed. Bear in mind that when some drops of blood appear in any of our body’s secretions, this can be a symptom of malignant diseases, among many other ailments.
- Oral and pharyngeal inflammation. Pharyngitis, tonsilitis, oral sores, pyorrhea, and as a rule, any mouth and throat mucosal inflammation. In this case, it is applied in the form of mouth rinses or gargles.
- Furuncles and acne. A decoction of the root is applied as hot compresses on the affected area, renewing them every 2-3 hours. This will ease the affliction of ripening and the elimination of waste substances they may contain. It can also be applied as a lotion, wetting the skin with the decoction.
- Chilblains. Compresses with five finger grass root decoctions and hand baths are very effective against chilblains and other dermal tissue disorders caused by abnormal blood flow.
American Five Finger Grass: American five finger grass (Potentilla Canadensis L.) grows in wet soils all over North America. Its appearance and properties are very similar to those of European five finger grass.
How to use Five Finger Grass
- Decoction with 50 g of fresh or dry root and rhizome per liter of water. Boil for 15 minutes, then strain. Drink from four to six cups daily until diarrhea stops.
- Vaginal irrigations with the decoction mentioned above once well strained.
- Mouth rinses and gargles with this decoction.
- Compresses, lotions, cleansing, and baths applied on the affected skin area with the liquid from decoction.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 520, 521. Print.