Tormentil root heals the whole digestive system - starting from the mouth and throat, all the way to the intestines. It is also excellent for any skin problems - wounds, cuts, burns, eczema, and rashes.

Tormentil root is not very well known today, but it was an important plant in the past. People have used as both as a medicine and as a coloring agent, giving their fabric and clothes a lovely bright red color. Modern herbalists use it mostly for healing digestive and skin complaints:

Digestive system

Skin care and wounds

Digestive system

Tormentil is most famous for its excellent calming effects on the stomach and the digestive system. It is used internally for both acute and chronic diarrhea, dysentery, gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines), enterocolitis (inflammation of both the small intestine and the colon) and to stop minor internal bleeding.

Due to the antiseptic properties of the phlobaphenes - the compound that gives the root its famous tormentil red color, used to color fabric back in the days - it is regarded to be particularly useful for alternating constipation and diarrhea. This means that it will help the stomach in the way that it is needed, whether the problem is constipation or diarrhea.

In addition, Tormentil has been used as an herbal remedy for the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), ulcerative colitis and also for gastritis and peptic ulcers (open sores that develop on the inside lining of the stomach).

Externally, Tormentil is used in the form of a gargle as a treatment for inflammation of the mouth and throat.

It is generally helpful and soothing for all kinds of throat related problems, such as pharyngitis (swelling in the back of the throat between the tonsils and the voice box), laryngitis (inflammation of the voice box or vocal cords), mouth ulcers, tonsillitis and bleeding gums.

Skin care and wounds

In the same way that it heals the digestive system and our insides, Tormentil root is excellent for keeping the skin healthy and dealing with any skin-related issues.
Drinking the tea/tincture will also be beneficial for the skin, but the most effective way is to wash the skin with the tea or add it to your bath.

Tormentil has been used traditionally as a natural treatment for wounds, cuts, burns, eczema, and rashes.

As a relief for hemorrhoids, the tormentil root can be added to bathwater or sitz baths or used in the form of an ointment applied directly on the affected area.

Since it has strong anti-inflammatory properties, a strong tea can also be used as a wash for any infections or inflammation - sore throat, mouth ulcers, infected gums, piles, inflamed eyes and to treat chapping of the anus and cracked nipples.

Tormentil is well known as a toothache remedy and it is also useful in treating bed-wetting by children.

Dosage and preparation:
Tea - Boil 1-3 tablespoons of the chopped Tormentil root in half a liter of water for 15-20 minutes. Drink a cup several times a day between meals.
Tincture - 20 drops, 3 times a day. Not recommended for long time use.
Gargle/Skin wash: You can use the tea prepared as explained above as a gargle for throat problems or use it as a skin wash for cuts, wounds, warts, etc. Dip a clean cloth in the tea and wash your skin with it, or add it to your bath water for a relaxing, cleansing treat for your skin!

The taste: Tormentil has a peculiar faint, slightly aromatic smell and a strongly astringent taste. To improve the flavor, you can boil the root with a cinnamon stick, or add some honey or lemon to the tea. Additionally, you can add peppermint, chamomile or lemon balm at the end of the boiling process. These herbs are mild, tasty and good for the digestion, among other things.

Precaution: No side effect or interactions with conventional medications or other medicinal herbs are known when tormentil is used properly and in moderation.

The herb can cause stomach problems in excessive doses and in sensitive individuals. Ingestion of large doses can also cause constipation.

Disclaimer: Information on this website is based on research from the internet, books, articles and studies and/or companies selling herbs online. Statements in this website have not necessarily been evaluated and should not be considered as medical advice. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. for diagnosis or treatment consult your physician.Use herbs in moderation and watch for allergic reactions.If you are taking any other medication, are pregnant, breast feeding or suffering from a medical condition and/or are at all concerned about any of the advice or ingredients consult your doctor before taking the herbs.Remember that diet, exercise and relaxation are equally important to your health.

A common sight in the acidic soils of grassland and heath, tormentil (Potentilla erecta) grows with its yellow flowers poking through the rough grass on upright stems.

In the 17th century, a widespread belief in the medicinal powers of tormentil was expressed by the dramatist John Fletcher in his play ‘The faithful shepherdess’, when he wrote: “This tormentil, whose vertue is to part, / All deadly killing poison from the heart.”

The name tormentil is thought to be derived from the Latin tormentum, relating to the plant’s effectiveness at relieving griping stomach pains and diarrhoea.

All parts of the plant are astringent, especially the red, woody rhizome. For this reason a decoction was used “to appease the rage and torment of the teeth”, and the fluid extract was applied as a styptic to cuts, wounds, etc. It was also employed as a wash for piles, a use mentioned by the English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper in his ‘Complete herbal’ of 1653.

One common name for tormentil, blood root, refers to the red dye extracted from the roots and used to colour clothing, a practice existing in Lapland until recent times.

Tormentil is more astringent than oak bark, and in areas with few trees, such as the Scottish isles and the Faroes, it was widely used for tanning leather and fishing nets, its major drawback being the quantity of roots required as well as the relative difficulty of harvesting them.

Tormentil is still used today in the herbal cosmetics industry, particularly in shampoos, as well as being employed by herbal practitioners.

Other Common Names: Septfoil, bloodroot, erect cinquefoil, shepherd’s knot, tormentilla (Spanish), Aufrechtes Fingerkraut (German), potentille dressée (French), tepperot (Norwegian), blodrot (Swedish), blóðmura (Icelandic), rätvänä (Finnish), blodrød (Danish).