Common name: Spotted Cranebill
Botanical name: Geranium maculatum
© Steven Foster
Parts used and where grown
Cranesbill originated in North America and is sometimes grown ornamentally in a variety of
flower colors. The root is primarily used in herbal medicine, but the above-ground part of the
plant has also been used traditionally by herbalists.
Cranesbill has been used
in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual
health concern for complete information):
Historical or traditional use (may
or may not be supported by scientific studies)
The Blackfoot Indians of North America used the root of cranesbill and closely related
plants to stop bleeding.1 Cranesbill has also been used by other indigenous tribes
of North America to treat diarrhea.
Cranesbill is high in tannins, which may account for its anti-diarrheal
activity.2 Little scientific research exists to clarify cranesbill’s
constituents and actions.
How much is usually taken?
A tea can be prepared by boiling 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 grams) of the root for ten
to fifteen minutes in 2 cups (500 ml) of water.3 People can drink three (750 ml) or
more cups per day. Cranesbill tincture (approximately 1/2 teaspoon or 3 ml) three times per
day is also commonly used, although generally in combination with other herbs, for diarrhea. Dried, powdered cranesbill root is sometimes
used in an herbal combination to treat
Crohn’s disease; however, there are no scientific studies to support this
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Cranesbill tea should not be used for more than two to three consecutive weeks. Due to the
high tannin content, some people may develop an upset stomach after using cranesbill.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions
1. Tilford GL. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West.
Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1997, 42–3.
2. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton, FL:
CRC Press, 1985, 209.
3. Hoffman D. The Herbal Handbook. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts
Press, 1988, 43.