Potentilla Canadensis. Five-finger, Cinque-foil.
Description: Natural Order, Rosaceae. This is a small plant, with a hairy and procumbent stem running upon the ground two or more feet, sometimes ascending, giving off runners after the manner of the strawberry, to which genus (fragaria) it is closely allied in appearance and habit. Leaves compound, palmately five-parted, leaflets oblong or obovate-wedge-form, cut dentate toward the apex. Flowers solitary, on long axillary peduncles; calyx five-cleft, with five long and alternate bractlets which look like additional sepals; petals five, spreading, obcordate, yellow; stamens many. June to August. Other species are much smaller than this one; and some are erect, two to four feet high, and even shrubby.
POTENTILLA TORMENTIL, (tormentil, septfoil,) is a small perennial plant common in Europe, with woody roots, and slender stems rising nearly erect to the height of six or eight inches.
Properties and Uses: The herb five-finger was at one time in high repute as a medicine, and was accredited with almost miraculous powers; but it is only a mild astringent with tonic powers, nearly resembling the leaf of the raspberry, and usable for the same purposes. The common mode of exhibition is by infusion.
The tormentil roots are quite purely and actively astringent; and though much employed in some sections of Europe, are scarcely known or used in this country.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com