Medicinal plants

Cranesbill - effect and application

Cranesbill - effect and application

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Geraniums are often cultivated in the garden as ornamental ground cover. However, the plants are also used in medicine, whereby they are usually used under their official name "Cranesbill”Or“ stork's beak ”. The curative properties of the cranesbill are particularly important for the treatment of gastrointestinal, skin and infectious diseases. Cranesbill is also used in folk medicine for wound treatment and hemostasis. In this article we would like to inform you about which types of cranesbill can be used for medicinal purposes and how exactly the medicinal plant works.

Profile of the cranesbill

  • Botanical name: Geranium
  • Plant family: Cranesbill family (Geraniaceae)
  • Popular name: Geranium, Godsend, florets, chicken root, Ruprecht's herb
  • Origin: at home worldwide
  • Application areas:
  • Plant parts used: leaves
    • Diseases of the digestive tract,
    • Skin diseases,
    • inflammatory infections
    • and wounds and bleeding.
  • Most important ingredients:
    • Tannins,
    • Flavonoids
    • and carboxylic acids

Herbal portrait: Caution, risk of confusion

The cranesbill (Geranium) represents the eponymous genus in the cranesbill family (Geraniaceae). Its name goes back to the geranium species, which has a beak-like shape. Species of the genus Pelargonium were counted among the cranesbills until the 18th century. In order to better distinguish the two cranesbill plants, the popular names "geranium" and "geranium" have become established over time.

What is confusing in this context is that it is actually the Greek word origin of geranium pélargos is, which means "stork". Géranos is the ancient Greek word for "crane", which is why geraniums used to be called crane beaks. In ancient times, terms such as cranesbill and cranesbill were more commonly used for geraniums.

To make matters worse, some types of geranium are used medicinally or cosmetically, which often adds to the confusion with regard to the curative effects of geranium:

  • The expectorant and properties relevant to the treatment of bronchitis, which are often attributed to geraniums, are due to root extracts of Cape Geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) back.
  • The antimicrobial, homeopathic remedy Geranium odoratissimum is not made from geraniums, but from the roots of the Scented geranium (Pelargonium odoratissimum) manufactured.
  • The geranium oil used to make the perfume is not made from the cranesbill, but from the sweet smell Rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) won.

Ingredients and effects

A change in terminology began with the cranesbill with the first medical references in German herb writings. They clearly defined the species that still belong to the geraniums as cranesbills. Pelargoniums were increasingly assigned to an independent genus. Leading healers such as Hildegard von Bingen, Paracelsus and Hieronymus Bock, the stork's beak, among others, were responsible for this

  • heavy bleeding,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Ulcers,
  • Skin problems,
  • Heart and vascular problems
  • and also recommended if you want to have children.

In modern medicine, other areas of application were added, including

  • Inflammation of the mouth and throat,
  • Urinary tract infections,
  • Inflammation of the stomach,
  • Stone suffering
  • and sore nipples after breastfeeding.

It should be mentioned that not every geranium is equally suitable as a medicinal plant. Only those types of cranesbill with a high active ingredient content are suitable for medical use. In total there are four cranesbills that meet this criterion:

  1. Crimson Cranesbill / Anemone (Geranium sanguineum),
  2. Smelly cranesbill / Ruprechtskraut (Geranium robertianum),
  3. Spotted cranesbill / wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
  4. and forest cranesbill / forest geranium (Geranium sylvaticum).

Important: When cultivating and caring for cranesbill for medicinal purposes, it is important not to use chemical fertilizers or pesticides! The chemicals inevitably pass into the ingredients of the plants, making the cranesbill unusable as a medicinal herb.

Flavonoids work around the blood

Flavonoids are the most important ingredients in the cranesbill. Especially flavonoid glycoside compounds Quercetin stand out as the main active ingredients in geraniums. The yellow natural dye is created by oxidation from the blue plant dye anthocyan, which is already used by blackberries and blueberries

  • antioxidant,
  • vascular protective,
  • anti-inflammatory
  • and gives sore and hemostatic effects.

In quercetin flavonoids, these already valuable properties are supported by an increased anticarcinogenic effect. Quercetin also has the ability to inhibit the formation of uric acid, which should be particularly interesting for gout patients and people with an increased risk of urinary stones. The following quercetin glycosides give the cranesbill its healing properties in detail:

  1. Hyperoside - has an antioxidant effect on nerve cells, which prevents nerve inflammation.
  2. Isoquercetin - has anti-carcinogenic, anti-allergenic and antioxidant effects. Systolic blood pressure and the vascular damaging consequences of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can be reduced thanks to isoquercetin.
  3. Rutoside / Rutin - is used medically to manufacture hemostatic drugs.

Tannins are natural antibiotics

Vegetable tannins, the so-called tannins, are responsible for the antimicrobial effect of the cranesbill, including β-penta-O-galloylglucose and ellagitannins such as geraniin and isogeraniin. They prefer to hunt bacteria and fungi that like inflammatory infectious diseases

  • Gastrointestinal inflammation,
  • Urinary tract infections
  • as well as inflammation of the mouth or throat

are responsible. The antibiotic effect of tannins is due to their contracting (astringent) effect on protective tissue layers such as the skin and mucous membranes. Corresponding tissue is stimulated to compress, so that infectious agents no longer have the opportunity to penetrate the tissue.

In addition, tannins remove any nutrient base from the moisture-loving bacteria and fungi due to their drying properties. The infectious agents are literally forced to die. Furthermore, tannins can successfully counteract diarrhea thanks to their drying effect.

Carboxylic acids stimulate the metabolism

“Carboxylic acid” is an umbrella term for numerous body acids, which include not only amino acids and fatty acids. For example, ascorbic acid known as vitamin C is also a carboxylic acid. The vitamin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions in the body. On the other hand, ascorbic acid is for the

  • Blood formation,
  • Digestion,
  • Immune defense,
  • Nutrient absorption of the body
  • as well as cell renewal of skin and organs are essential.

A healthy metabolism as well as a functioning immune system and the health of skin and organ tissue cannot do without vitamin C.

In combination with other herbs (for example, lady's mantle or nettle), cranesbill is a popular herbal ingredient for so-called nest cleaning tea if you want to have children. The malic acid of the cranesbill herb is intended to rid the female body of harmful toxins and thus increase female fertility. In fact, pollutants can negatively affect a woman's hormone levels.

The body's nutrient supply, which is important for the formation of hormones, is strongly inhibited by toxins such as aluminum. Hormonal imbalance can affect female fertility due to an irregular cycle or lack of ovulation. In this regard, malic acid has been used for a very long time as an important medical agent for the removal of aluminum.

It is also interesting that malic acid promotes the absorption of the basic mineral magnesium in the body. The body's own acid-base balance can be wonderfully balanced when taken in combination and existing acidity can be successfully treated.

The effect of malic acid on the urinary system is also noteworthy, because the carboxylic acid affects the metabolism

  • urinating,
  • draining
  • and prevents the formation of urinary stones.

Another carboxylic acid, namely citric acid, is often used for medical use of these properties. Its mode of action is identical to that of malic acid, but it is much cheaper to manufacture pharmaceutically. In this context, cranesbill offers an interesting natural source for both acids, because the plant also contains citric acid.

Overview of effective ingredients of cranesbill
Hyperoside, isoquercetin, rutoside
have an antioxidant, antiallergenic, vascular protection, anti-inflammatory, wound and hemostatic effect; the formation of uric acid and the growth of cancer cells are inhibited by flavonoids
β-penta-O-galloyl glucose, geraniin and isogeraniin
have a draining, stuffing, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hemostatic and wound-calming effect
Carboxylic acids
Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Malic acid and citric acid
have a blood-forming, digestive, immune-boosting, metabolism-stimulating, urine-forming and draining effect; the risk of urinary stones can be reduced by carboxylic acids

Application and dosage

Side effects or contraindications are not known for cranesbill. When choosing the plant parts, there are a few things to consider. The roots of the plant are primarily used. They are particularly rich in healing ingredients and therefore particularly effective.

Only the stinking cranesbill known as Ruprechtskraut also provides highly effective leaves and flowers. Those who have grown their own Ruprechtskraut are best collected during the flowering period, between May and September.

Cranesbill tincture for external use

The stinking or blood red cranesbill is usually used to treat wounds, skin diseases, mouth or throat infections. The latter is said to be particularly suitable for stopping bleeding.

For external use, extracts from the fresh juice of the cranesbill are best used. The cranesbill tincture is then either applied to the affected skin area using envelopes or used undiluted for gargling or as a mouthwash. For skin problems in particular, the use of cranesbill as a bath additive is also possible.

Production of cranesbill tincture:
Put 300 grams of fresh roots or leaves of the cranesbill in a clean mason jar or a large bottle and pour 600 milliliters of vodka over them, let the tincture base ripen for about four weeks in sunlight and shake it occasionally, then filter the base through a clean linen cloth and improve the tincture Fill the active substance into a dark bottle.

Cranesbill tea for internal use

If you want to have children and have other reasons for internal use (e.g. gastrointestinal inflammation), cranesbill can not only be used as an ingredient in tea herb mixtures. A pure cranesbill tea can also be drunk here without hesitation. It doesn't matter whether you use fresh or dried herbs. The is dosed Tea as follows:

Put a tablespoon of cranesbill herbs in half a liter of cold water, bring the brew to a boil in a saucepan, then let the tea steep for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then sieve the herbs and let the tea cool before drinking.

When using cranesbill orally, be warned of its extremely bitter taste. It is due to the cranesbill flavonoids and tannins, which give the plant an extremely bitter aroma. So the motto is: The more bitter the medicine, the more healing it is. At least in cranesbill tea, you can weaken the bitter taste with a bit of candy or honey.

Efficacy studies of cranesbill

Unfortunately, little cranesbill has been researched to this day, even though many well-known herbalists from antiquity report about it. However, some positive study results can be recorded with regard to the ingredients of the cranesbill.

Researcher of the Vein and Skin Care Centers In Allentown, USA, a study found that the combined administration of vitamin C and rutoside contributes to the healing of purpura. The vascular disease causes heavy capillary bleeding in the skin tissue and appears in the form of red blood stains under the skin.

Specialists in Department of Nutritional Science and Biotechnology at Kyoto University in Japan, the effectiveness of quercetin and rutin against chemically provoked colitis was demonstrated in another study. The effectiveness of both ingredients in inflammation of the intestine is thus proven.

In addition to a detoxifying function, clinical studies discovered that malic acid was effective against fibromyalgia. The metabolic disease is characterized by a special tenderness to tenderness of the muscles and joints, whereby a deficiency of the tissue hormone serotonin is discussed as a trigger. As a neurotransmitter, the hormone is largely responsible for the regulation of gastrointestinal activity and blood pressure. The female cycle is also indirectly linked to serotonin production.

The cranesbill's fertility-enhancing effect may not yet be considered medically secured, but numerous pregnant women have provided positive experience after using cranesbill tea.

Buy cranesbill

Many cranesbill products are not yet available for purchase. The most important basic ingredients for your own cranesbill recipes, such as cranesbill root, can already be found today.


While cranesbills were still described by many famous healers in antiquity, the flower has been almost completely degraded to an ornamental plant for the garden today. However, there is new interest in the medicinal herb, which is thanks in large part to numerous women who recommend cranesbill as an insider tip if they do not wish to have children. It seems almost ironic that the storkbills' fertility-enhancing effect is the only one that has not yet been scientifically investigated. There are at least external studies on all other healing effects, which, although they do not go into the effects of cranesbill in particular, at least confirm the medicinal effectiveness of its ingredients. (ma)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Miriam Adam, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Hauenschild, Bettina: The language of plants and their healing properties, Irisiana, 2017
  • Beiser, Rudi: "(Almost) forgotten medicinal plants", in: Deutsche Heilpraktiker-Zeitschrift, 11 (05), 2016, Thieme
  • Madaus, Gerhard: Textbook of biological remedies, Olms, 2016
  • Hirsch, Siegrid; Grünberger, Felix: The herbs in my garden, Freya-Verlag, 2005
  • Hansel, Rudolf; Sticher, Otto: Pharmacognosy - Phytopharmacy, Springer, 2007

Video: Rozanne geranium by (February 2023).