- Geum rivale L.
- Rose family
Parts Usually Used
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
Water avens is a hairy perennial plant; its woody rootstock produces
a simple, erect stem from 1-3 feet high with small, sessile, simple
or three-cleft leaves. From the rootstock also grow long-petioled,
hairy, pinnate leaves with three large terminal, coarsely double-toothed
leaflets and one or two pairs of small lower leaflets. At the top
of the stem grow from 3-5 purplish flowers on short pedicels, blooming
from May to July. Some varieties have purplish sepals but rose-colored
to yellow petals. Blossoms are followed by hooked fruits.
Another variety: Rough avens (Geum virginianum) and G. japonicum,
both used medicinally like water avens.
Found mostly in moist and wet places from Colorado and New Mexico
northeastward, and in Canada, Europe and Asia.
Astringent, stomachic, tonic
Legends, Myths and Stories
The amateur giving this plant a cursory glance would not associate
it with other plants in the rose family. The dull reddish, nodding
flowers characterize the plant.
Water avens was once used as a cocoa substitute.
The rootstock makes a tasty and effective remedy for diarrhea
and dysentery when taken
with milk and sugar. It also acts to improve
appetite and digestion, dyspepsia.
An infusion made from the whole plant can be used to clear up respiratory
congestion and to counteract nausea.
Powdered root was once used as astringent for hemorrhage, fevers,
Formulas or Dosages
Infusion: steep 1 tsp. rootstock in 1 cup water for 30 minutes.
Take 1/2 cup before going to bed, or a mouthful 3 times a day. Take
no more than 2 cups in total consecutive doses.
Infusion: steep 1 or 2 tsp. fresh plant in 1 cup water. Take
1 cup a day.
Tincture: a dose is from 10-20 drops.
Excessive amounts can produce unpleasant side effects.