Cranesbill (Geranuim maculatum) is indigenous to the Northeastern United States, where the herb has been utilized as a natural remedy for centuries. The plant is most commonly referred to as a geranium, and it features small flowers in a variety of colors. Many people feature the flowers in their gardens without even realizing the potential healing powers that the plants possess when used as herbs.
Geraniums look pretty, but the roots of cranesbill contain a powerful ingredient called tannin.
Tannin is responsible for soothing the digestive tract, and it is useful in preventing and treating frequent diarrhea. Cranesbill has been used for centuries as a way to treat such problems. The raw plant was used in the past but it is available today in easy-to-use supplements.
Cranesbill best benefits those with mild gastrointestinal ailments. The presence of tannin in the herb may help alleviate diarrhea, inflammation in the bladder and other symptoms related to Chron’s disease.
Historically, cranesbill was also used in folk medicine to stop abnormal bleeding, including that related to menstruation and uterine problems. Tannins can also act as a natural astringent to reduce inflammation and redness related to skin conditions, such as sores. Cranesbill may be applied topically to help treat hemorrhoids.
Less common uses of the herb are for the treatment of eye conditions, such as conjunctivitis and moderate retina irritations. Diabetic patients may turn to cranesbill as a possible natural treatment for vision problems.
Like many herbs, the healing power of cranesbill is derived from the roots. Capsules are the most common forms of the herb today, and they are best taken once or twice a day with a glass of water. Experienced herb users might opt for a tea version, which is brewed with hot water and consumed throughout the day. Tincture versions of cranesbill can be more powerful than tea and capsules, so it is important to take extra care. Generally, users take ½ a teaspoon at a time, twice a day.
Cranesbill offers a wealth of health benefits, but it is best to use any herb under the strict guidance of a medical doctor or an alternative medicine practitioner. Indigestion is the most common side effect of this plant, and it is usually related to the overconsumption of tannin contained in the herb. Generally, it is best not to take cranesbill for more than three weeks at a time, unless otherwise directed by a health professional.
Pregnant women shouldn’t use cranesbill. Also, you should refrain from using cranesbill while breastfeeding because the active ingredients can be passed to your infant through milk. Tannins in cranesbill may also dry up breast milk altogether.
It is also important to exercise caution when mixing herbal remedies with prescription medications. Cranesbill contains other active ingredients that can potentially interact with other herbs that have the same features. The ingredients include calcium oxalate, gallic acid and potassium. Take care in combining herbal treatments to reduce the possibility of interactions. Herbs are powerful, and they have the propensity to interfere with or decrease the efficacy of any medications you might be taking.