Wood Avens
Geum urbanum L.


The wood avens is a perennial plant with a creeping, thick, red-brown root. The root has a characteristic clove aroma and astringent taste. A hollow, erect, slightly hairy stem that reaches 60 cm in height. The leaves of the wood avens are divided into three parts, robotic, there are leaflets on the leaf stalks, arranged alternately, hairy with white hairs on both sides. Root leaves form a rosette of leaves. The flowers are light yellow, small, solitary, placed at the tops of the stems - they are most common, the plant blooms in the second year of its life, the plant rarely blooms in the first year. Flowers regular, bisexual, up to 1.5cm in diameter, with five petals, wide open on long pedicels. The plant blooms from late spring to mid-September. The fruit is a rounded nut-like fruit, a nut with a permanent curved stylus. Fruits ripen in July-September. The wood avens reproduces with the help of seeds and vegetatively - by dividing the bush. The shelf life of the seeds is 3-4 years.

The root of the wood avens , as well as its surface part, is collected for medicinal purposes. Roots and rhizomes are dug in early spring or late autumn, cleaned of soil and placed on sieves in a well-ventilated and shady place. Roots and rhizomes are dried at a temperature not exceeding 45C. Dried drug cut into pieces or ground can be stored for up to 3 years in a tightly sealed container.

Lilacs are collected at the beginning of flowering, dried in a well-ventilated and shaded place. Packed in paper bags and stored no longer than one year.

Up to 40% of tannins, glycoside gein, flavones, catechins, bitter substances, essential oil with clove aroma (0.8%), which contains a large amount of eugenol (<80%); carbohydrates (arabinose, starch, glucose, sucrose), resins. The essential oil is spicy and bitter in taste. Flavon glycosides were found in the leaves of the plant, <129mg% of ascorbic acid and more than 0.05% of carotene in the young leaves. Wood avens seeds contain <20% vegetable fat.

Medicinal significance

The roots of the wood avens have an anti-inflammatory effect, it normalizes the permeability of blood vessels, reduces edema - thanks to catechins. Flavon glycosides provide antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. Wood avens is used as an astringent, strengthening, hemorrhaging agent to treat long-term diarrhea, chronic colitis, gastritis, uterine bleeding and other ailments.

Ingredients for medicines are also made from the wood avens , for example, medicines in Russia, such as tanalbin (medicine containing tannins), because the content of tannins in the plant is high. The eugenol present in the essential oil is a phenol class substance used in biocides, analgesics, and antiseptics.

Applications of wood avens leaves can help treat various forms of eczema.

Thanks to the unique composition and medicinal properties of the wood avens , it is used as a pain-relieving, astringent, hemostatic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, wound-healing and diaphoretic agent. The root is used for medicinal purposes, less often the shoots. "Clove root" has long been used in folk medicine as an astringent, for the treatment of digestive tract diseases (gastritis, cholecystitis, colitis, gastric catarrh, flatulence, dysentery, helminthosis, liver and gall bladder diseases) and excretory system diseases (cystitis, nephritis).

A decoction of the roots, rarely, is used as an expectorant for bronchitis, bronchial asthma, tuberculosis, pneumonia. It is also sometimes used as an anti-scurvy remedy due to the presence of ascorbic acid.

The wood avens is used externally to treat dermatitis, muscle and joint rheumatism; as a rinse agent for the treatment of stomatitis, gingivitis, periodontitis, inflammation of the throat, as well as some eye diseases. The root solution is also added to baths for children suffering from rickets or scrofula.

Powdered leaves are used to apply to wounds and burns. Fresh leaves are effective in treating eczema and other skin conditions. The flowers have antiviral activity, so they are used for the treatment of various colds, as a strengthening, anti-inflammatory, hemostatic agent.

Decoctions of wood avens stings strengthen male potency, are used in folk medicine to treat prostate adenoma, as well as a couple of gynecological problems in women (uterine bleeding, leucorrhoea). A decoction of the leaves and roots helps against headaches, acts as a light sleeping and calming agent. The wood avens is included in antitumor mixtures, it also serves as a good antidote against insect and snake bites.

Not recommended for use

Wood avens preparations are not recommended for thrombophlebitis patients, hypotonia patients, people with a tendency to blood clots, as the plant increases blood clotting. Because of the tannins, this plant should not be used even if you suffer from chronic constipation.

Wood avens should not be used during pregnancy and lactation, as well as to treat small children with it.

When using the remedies of this plant, one should be careful of overdose, due to the high content of tannins.

During pregnancy, wood avens -containing cosmetics should be avoided, as the eugenol contained in the essential oil can provoke an increase in the tone of the uterus and also cause nervous tension.

Of course, the plant cannot be used if there is intolerance to it.

Importance of food:

The root of the plant, which is harvested in autumn, is used for food. The roots of this plant are collected from plants that have already grown and are producing seeds. The roots are cleaned from the soil and dried. Dried roots are used as a substitute for cloves. The root is added to beer, liqueurs, sometimes, in the form of powder, it is added to soups as a substitute for cloves.

The young leaves of the plant, which are added to salads, are also edible. However, it is not desirable to add a lot because it has a rather harsh taste.

Diet recipes

Green onion and wood avens leaf salad

50 gr. young wood avens leaves, 50 gr. onions, half an egg, 20 grams of cream, salt as needed.

Wood avens salad

40 gr. wood avens leaves, 60 gr. tomato, 30 gr. onion, 60 gr. fresh cucumber, 1 egg, 40 gr. cream, spices as desired.

Soup with wood avens root

200 gr. potatoes, 100 gr. sorrel, 20 gr. carrot, 10 gr. parsley, 10 gr. wood avens roots, 20 gr. onion, 20 gr. margarine, 20 gr. cream, 350 gr. meat broth.

Sorrel and wood avens roots, finely chopped, are added 5 minutes before the end of cooking.

Wood avens root powder

The roots are dried in the fresh air. Before grinding them, they can be placed in a heated and turned off oven for 30-40 minutes.

Store the powder in a closed and dark glass container. Used in soups and various sauces.

Wood avens root drink

50 gr. fresh wood avens roots, which are buried before flowering, 50 gr. of sugar, 1L of water. Chopped roots are grated or ground in a meat grinder, poured with water, boiled, sugar is added and left for 3-4 hours. Serve cold. Store in closed bottles.