Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cranesbill Geranium

Family: Geranium

Last year I went on a nature walk. I got all curious about a number of things that grow in the canyons here, then returned to find that the same things were growing wild (i.e., weeds) in my yard!

Just weird. One of them was the wild geranium, or cranesbill geranium. It's called cranesbill because the seed pod (i.e., the burr) cuts off at a right angle and looks like a long skinny bill--like the bill of a crane. The flowers are tiny tiny tiny, the plant itself so small that collecting enough to be useful might be a chore, but somehow they managed.

Actually it's rather funny. The information I've been able to find states that wild geranium is found east of the Mississippi and that it's one to two feet tall. The version I've identified here in the Rocky Mountains fits the description for all but the size. Try two to three inches. :)

Cranesbill is an astringent, which means it tightens and constricts blood vessels, skin, etc.

Apparently the cranesbill geranium was used in any situation where blood vessels needed to constrict, such as hemorroids (I always spell that wrong) or excessive bleeding. It was also used for intestinal problems such as diarhea or irritable bowel syndrome. As a surface astringent it might be used for acne and as an addition to facial cleansers. It is also a blood coagulation agent, but I'd guess that this is again at least partially a matter of the blood vessels constricting that are letting the blood through.

Interactions: I still don't have my drug interations book back, but the usual advice is to avoid anything that will cancel out or duplicate the results. I would never use over the counter or prescription astringents, or blood thinners at the same time I was using cranesbill geranium.

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