The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Water Avens

Scientific Names

Water Avens

  • Geum rivale L.
  • Rose family

Common Names

  • Avens root
  • Chocolate root
  • Cure all
  • Indian chocolate
  • Purple avens
  • Throat root

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Parts Usually Used

Root, dried
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Water Avens

Water avens is a hairy perennial plant; its woody rootstock produces a simple, erect stem from 1-3 feet high with small, sessile, simple or three-cleft leaves. From the rootstock also grow long-petioled, hairy, pinnate leaves with three large terminal, coarsely double-toothed leaflets and one or two pairs of small lower leaflets. At the top of the stem grow from 3-5 purplish flowers on short pedicels, blooming from May to July. Some varieties have purplish sepals but rose-colored to yellow petals. Blossoms are followed by hooked fruits.

Another variety: Rough avens (Geum virginianum) and G. japonicum, both used medicinally like water avens.
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Where Found

Found mostly in moist and wet places from Colorado and New Mexico northeastward, and in Canada, Europe and Asia.
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Medicinal Properties

Astringent, stomachic, tonic
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Water Avens Flower

The amateur giving this plant a cursory glance would not associate it with other plants in the rose family. The dull reddish, nodding flowers characterize the plant.

Water avens was once used as a cocoa substitute.
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The rootstock makes a tasty and effective remedy for diarrhea and dysentery when taken with milk and sugar. It also acts to improve appetite and digestion, dyspepsia. An infusion made from the whole plant can be used to clear up respiratory congestion and to counteract nausea.

Powdered root was once used as astringent for hemorrhage, fevers, and leukorrhea.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 1 tsp. rootstock in 1 cup water for 30 minutes. Take 1/2 cup before going to bed, or a mouthful 3 times a day. Take no more than 2 cups in total consecutive doses.

Infusion: steep 1 or 2 tsp. fresh plant in 1 cup water. Take 1 cup a day.

Tincture: a dose is from 10-20 drops.
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Excessive amounts can produce unpleasant side effects.
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Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

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