Avens is a type of herb which basically belongs to the Rosaceae family. The botanical name for Avens is Geum. It is also known as Herb Bennett. The plant does not usually grow very tall. Avens is a remedial herb with many medical benefits. Formerly, the root of some Avens was used in cooking purposes as a substitute for cloves. The Avens root (except Water Avens) smells and tastes like cloves. This helps in the identification of Avens.
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Types of Avens
There are various types of Avens.
Picture 1 – Avens
Source – wildflowersofstrathclydepark.org.uk
The Mountain Avens
The scientific name for Mountain Avens is Dryas Octopetala. Mountain Avens can mainly be found in the rocky lands of the Central and Eastern Arctic. It can also be found in high mountain areas of Northern Wales, Northern England, Scotland, and in Asia. They are evergreen or semi-evergreen plants. The flowers are of a creamy white color and are quite popular for rock gardens.
The scientific name for Water Avens is Geum rivale. Water Avens can mainly be found in Europe, and also in Central Asia and North America. They need moist living conditions and grow near the edges of lakes or rivers. The whole plant is used to make medicines.
The scientific name for this type of Avens is Geum aleppicum. They can also be found in Eastern Europe, Asia and North America. The plants can grow up to 1 m tall and has yellow flowers.
The scientific name for the White Avens is Geum canadense. The plants are 1½–2½ inches tall on an average. White Avens can commonly be found in woodland borders, meadows, and Clear spaces in wooden areas. These plants can adjust well in disturbed areas.
Medical Uses of Avens
Avens has many medicinal qualities.
- Avens can be used as antibacterial medicine.
- Avens can be useful to stop bleeding.
- Avens herbs can be used as local anaesthetic.
- Avens root can be helpful in relieving dental pain.
- The root of Avens can be used against diarrhea.
- Avens also helps to stop inflammation of mouth.
- It can be used to fight liver weaknesses.
- Avens can be useful against sore throat and fever.
- Avens root is also helpful in digestive weakness.
- Avens is also good for curing skin irritations.
- It is also helpful for constipation.
- Avens can be very helpful to restore strength after a long illness.
Avens Side Effect
Even though Avens is a very useful medicinal plant, it should not be taken for more than two days in a row. Taking Avens for any longer than that might be harmful for human body.
The whole plant of Avens is useful but the root is more useful than the other parts. Avens root can be used to make tea – it is known as Avens tea. The tea is prepared as a decoction. Avens tea is highly useful for various reasons. It can fight numerous digestive problems. The tea has astringent effects so it is highly effective against diseases like diarrhea. One can use Avens tea to gargle or to rinse the mouth if suffering from gingivitis or a sore throat. It also helps against constipation by stimulating the digestive organs. The tea is also useful for stopping nausea or vomiting. So evidently, even though it does not taste that good, the Avens tea certainly has its uses.
- Avens tincture is made from the root of the plant. As the tea does not taste that good, the Avens tincture can be useful. The uses of the tincture are the same as the tea. But the essential oils of the root can be very helpful in reducing tooth ache. It works the same as clove oil and fights tooth ache and gingivitis.
- The Avens root can be very helpful against bad mouth smell. Earlier, people used to chew Avens root to fight it.
Avens in the Kitchen
Earlier, Avens was a useful ingredient in the kitchen. It was used as a supplement for cloves as the latter was very expensive. The root of the Water Avens was used as a supplement for cocoa. Avens vine was another thing that people liked a lot. To make Avens vine, the Avens root had to be macerated in vine for 1-4 weeks and then filtered. Like the tea, it is helpful for the digestive system. The young sprouts of the plant are used as vegetables and in salads.
Here are some photos of various types of Avens. You can see that the plants are not only useful, they are quite beautiful too.
Man has been using the Avens plant for a long time and for diverse reasons. The plant has many stories and myths attached to it. Even today, the herb is successfully used for various medicinal purposes.
- by Deepamala Bhattacharya
- August 13th 2011