Geum rivale 'Leonard's Variety'

  • Dr Henry Oakeley
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Geum rivale L. Rosaceae. Water Avens. Indian Chocolate. 'Leonard's Variety' is a semi-double form. Distribution. Northern Europe, central Asia, North America. Water Avens, chocolate root, Indian chocolate. Used for most stomach problems and as a styptic for uterine haemorrhage, leucorrhoea, haematemesis and as a febrifuge (according to Rafinesque). In the US Pharmacopoeia at some time in past. Toxic effects: severe jerking, tearing pains like electric shocks from abdomen to end of urethra (Milspaugh, 1974). Used to treat diarrhoea, especially in children by Iroquois, Algonquians, and Malecite. Parkinson (1640) is unspecific regarding the medicinal properties of different species, but this is probably his Caryophyllata montana sive palustris purpurea, Purple Mountaine or Marsh Avens (and the current American common name is 'Purple Avens' and he notes that a plant of this, 'but taller and greater' has been recently brought from Virginia by John Newton a Surgeon of Colliton. John Newton was a surgeon who died in Colyton (present spelling) in Devon in 1647. He also brought Lobelia cardinalis for Parkinson.. He notes that Caryophyllata is the Geum of Pliny. He gives a great many uses. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.


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