The sliced and dried rhizomes, with the roots removed.
The herb tormentil is used to treat a number of health conditions, especially those related to the gastro-enteric tract. Medications prepared with this herb are taken orally to treat dysentery, diarrhea, gastroenteritis and enterocolitis (inflammation of the colon and small intestine). In addition, tormentil is used as a gargle or to wash the inflammation of the mucus membranes in the mouth and throat. This herb is also applied externally to cure sores, wounds and different skin complaints. The rhizome-like root of the tormentil herb is chubby. A salve prepared with the dehydrated rhizome of tormentil plant has been traditionally used as a medication to cure several ailments, including stopping hemorrhages or treating diarrhea. At the same time, the lotion is also used as a food during emergencies and also to dye leather red. In herbal medicine, the tormentil plant is especially used as an astringent owing to its rich tannin content, which is exceptionally high for any type of herbaceous plant. In effect, this is related to the herb's use as a red dye, which is mainly attributed to its structurally similar phlobaphene content. In herbal medicine, tormentil is known to be a safe and helpful astringent medication, especially pertinent to the gut wall, and is used to cure severe or nervous diarrhea, enteric irritation and/ or for providing relief from the symptoms of ulcerative and mucus colitis (inflammation of the colon). Using tormentil helps to prevent worsening of gastritis and peptic ulceration owing to consumption of food. As aforementioned, tormentil is an extremely useful astringent gargle for treating the inflammation of the mucus membranes in the mouth and throat. In addition, this herb is also effective in treating conditions, such as pharyngitis (inflammation of the mucus membranes of the pharynx), laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), mouth ulcers and bleeding gums. The lotion prepared with the dried rhizomes of the tormentil helps in alleviating hermorrhoids and a douche prepared with the dried rhizomes of the herb may be applied to treat infections of the vagina. Whether this herb it used in the form of a lotion, ointment, poultice or compress, it helps to hasten the healing of cuts, wounds and pus emitting sores. In effect, a weak decoction prepared with the tormentil rhizome is effective for treating conjunctivitis. It is believed that the red pigment enclosed by the herb's rhizome possesses extraordinary attraction for bacteria. This red dye slows down the growth of bacteria much in the same manner as the aniline dyes are known to do.
Tormentil is indigenous to central and eastern regions of Europe. The herb is basically wild-harvested, especially in Eastern Europe.
Chemical analysis of the rhizome of tormentil has shown that it encloses great quantities of tannins, almost up to 22 per cent, chiefly of the catechol type. It also contains non-hydrolysable tannin in the form of oligomeric proanthocyanidins, which constitutes around 20 per cent of the chemicals in the herb. While agrimoniin is the primary hydrolysable tannin found in tormentil, the tormentil rhizome also encloses catechol gallates and ellagitannins. In addition to these, tormentil rhizome also contains tormentoside, a triterpene saponin called glucoside of tormentillic acid.
The herb tormentil may be taken in the form of an infusion or even in its tincture form. An infusion of the herb is made by adding two to three grams of dried rhizome of the plant in a cup of boiling water. Take one cup of the infusion twice or thrice every day between meals to cure diarrhea and other associated problems. In addition to drinking it, the infusion prepared with dried rhizome of tormentil may also be applied topically. The tincture of tormentil may be watered down by adding 10 to 20 drops in a glass of water to clean the mouth and throat. It may be noted that tormentil forms an important ingredient in a number of stomachic, anti-diarrheal preparations and mouth sprays available commercially.
The herb tormentil may be used independently or combined with hamamelis (witch hazel) water to prepare a lotion meant for treating hemorrhoids. In addition, this herb also mixes excellently with Acacia and is used to treat diarrhea. Combining tormentil with soothing herbs, for instance, plantago (plantain) or althaea (marshmallow), is given to alleviate inflammation of the gut.