Tormentil is an Eurasian plant with bright yellow flowers, the root of tormentil is used to make medicine. One of the main uses in traditional herbal medicine is for diarrhoea. Other common uses include digestive complaints, fever and high temperatures caused by infection.
The tannins in tormentil help reduce skin inflammation, due to the drying effect on tissues. This same effect is thought to help control diarrhoea [i].
A study in young children has shown that taking tormentil three times daily reduces the duration of diarrhoea symptoms from rotavirus [ii].
Ulcerative Colitis (Irritable Bowel Disease):
Positive effects have been observed in subjects with Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) in studies. In a study in patients with Ulcerative Colitis, the inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein (CRP), was reduced [iii]. CRP is the most widely used indicator of inflammation in Irritable Bowel Disease.
Other early research shows that 3 weeks of taking tormentil extract daily may improve symptoms of ulcerative colitis [iv].
The mechanism of action is thought to include the production of a coating on the membrane surface of the which protects the exposed gut tissues from irritation. This coating is formed when the tannins in tormentil bind to proteins of the mucus membranes, this forms a barrier against the organisms and many toxins that can cause the symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases such as IBD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), colitis and diverticulitis. Alleviation of these conditions encourages healing of the cells in the gut [v] [vi].
Tormentil was seen to have anti-thrombotic (blood clotting) activity. In a study, when acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) and tormentil extract were taken together, inhibition of blood clotting in the arteries was shown [vii].
Traditionally, tormentil tincture, an alcoholic preparation of the root, is sometimes applied to small cuts to stop bleeding. It is also added to water and used as a rinse or mouthwash for sore mouth and throat.
Infections: Sore Throat and Fever:
Tormentil is also said to have antibacterial action [x] [xi]. Many traditional uses for tormentil include for fever and sore throats [xii]. It is also said to be effective against fungi and viruses [xiii].
Tormentil extract has been safely used in small daily doses for up to 3 weeks [xiv]. Side effects may include mild abdominal pain and heart burn. There is not enough information to ascertain if tormentil is safe when used for a duration of over 3 weeks. Please use as per directions on product packaging or under the guidance of a herbal practioner or specialist. Potential interactions with medications may need to be reviewed by the prescriber.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking tormentil if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Please avoid use.
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