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Geum urbanum L. - Rosaceae - wood avens, cloveroot, herb Bennet, St. Benedict's herb, Echte Nelkenwurz, Benediktenkraut
Perennial herb, up to 1m tall, native to Europe, West Asia, Mediterranean, naturalized in Australia and Northern America; basal leaves long petioled, lyrate-pinnate to pinnate, cauline 3-foliolate, or simple and 3-lobed; flowers erect, petals yellow.
The scientific genus name Geum is probably based on the Greek verb geuein meaning 'taste' and refers (also like cloveroot and the german Nelkenwurz) to the clove-like scent of the rhizome (which contains eugenol).
The dried rhizome and roots (caryophyllatae rhizoma) are used as astringent, tonic, and antidiarrhoeal. „The rhizome is a traditional remedy to trat mild diarrhoea, dyspepsia and appetite loss. It is used as an astringent (gargle) in case of inflamed mucosa of the mouth and throat, chilblains, haemorrhoids and other skin disorders. It is also considered to be a bitter tonic and stomachic. An additive to liqueurs, brandies, toothpastes and mouthwashes… the active compounds are tannins (up to 30%).“
[Medicinal Plants of the World. Ben-Erik Van Wyk and Michael Wink, Pretoria 2004, 157]
The main compound of the essential oil from underground parts of G. urbanum was eugenol (69.2%), whereas the essential oil from aerial parts contained mainly (Z)-3-hexenol (38.4%).
[Composition of essential oil from aerial and underground parts of Geum rivale and G. urbanum growing in Poland., Owczarek, A., Gudej, J., Kicel, A., Natural product communications, 8(4), 2013, 505-508]
Total ellagic acid content of underground parts of G. urbanum was 32mg/g, gallic acid was 5.25mg/g. „… hydrolyzable tannins easily undergo hydrolysis in the gastrointestinal tract, its actual bioavailability could be quite substantial.“
[Quantitative Determination of Ellagic Acid and Gallic Acid in Geum Rivale L. and G. Urbanum L., Owczarek, A., Olszewska, M.A., Gudej, J., Acta biologica Cracoviensia Series Botanica, 56(2), 2014, 1-5] http://www2.ib.uj.edu.pl/abc/pdf/56_2/owczarek%20et%20al.abcbot56%282%292014-final%20printed%20version%20with%20page%20number.pdf
Lindman,C.A.M., Bilder ur Nordens Flora, vol.2 t.303 (1922-1926)