Water Avens: Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, and Dosing

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Water Avens: A Comprehensive Guide to Its Medicinal Uses and Considerations


Water avens (Geum rivale), a herbaceous perennial plant, has long been valued for its medicinal properties in traditional herbalism. Its roots, leaves, and flowers have been used to treat various ailments, from menstrual irregularities to digestive disorders. This article provides a comprehensive overview of water avens, including its uses, side effects, precautions, and dosing considerations.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

Historically, water avens has been a popular remedy for:

  • Menstrual irregularities: Regulates the menstrual cycle, reduces cramps, and relieves PMS symptoms.
  • Digestive disorders: Soothes stomach pain, indigestion, bloating, and diarrhea.
  • Urinary tract infections: Prevents and treats infections due to its diuretic and antiseptic properties.
  • Skin conditions: Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, helps treat acne, rashes, and wounds.
  • Anxiety and stress: Calming and relaxing effects, aids in reducing stress and promoting restful sleep.
  • Other ailments: Used for sore throats, wounds, burns, and ulcers.

Active Compounds

The medicinal properties of water avens are attributed to its various active compounds, including:

  • Tannins: Provide astringent and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Salicylic acid: An anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving agent.
  • Gein: An antioxidant and anti-spasmodic.
  • Volatile oils: Have antimicrobial and soothing properties.

Clinical Evidence

While scientific research on water avens is limited, some studies have supported its traditional uses. One study found that it effectively reduced menstrual pain and cramps. Another study showed that it had antimicrobial activity against specific bacteria.


The recommended dosage of water avens supplements varies depending on the intended use and preparation form. Here are general guidelines:

  • Tincture: 2-4 mL, 1-3 times a day
  • Tea: Steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb in 1 cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes. Drink 1-2 cups per day.
  • Capsules: Follow the instructions on the product label.

Side Effects

Water avens is generally well-tolerated, but side effects may occur in some individuals, including:

  • Gastrointestinal distress: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Allergic reactions: Hives, skin rashes


Consult with a healthcare professional before using water avens supplements if:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding: Safety not established.
  • Have a bleeding disorder: May increase bleeding risk.
  • Taking blood-thinning medications: May interact with these medications.
  • Have gastrointestinal ulcers: May irritate the stomach lining.
  • Allergic to plants in the Rosaceae family: May also be allergic to water avens.


Water avens is not recommended for individuals with:

  • Severe kidney or liver disease
  • Active bleeding
  • Known allergies to the Rosaceae family


Water avens may interact with certain medications, including:

  • Blood thinners: May increase bleeding risk.
  • NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen): May increase gastrointestinal irritation.
  • Anticholinergic drugs: May worsen anticholinergic side effects.


Water avens is a versatile medicinal herb with potential benefits for various health conditions, particularly menstrual irregularities and digestive disorders. However, it is essential to use it cautiously, following the recommended dosage and precautions. Seek professional advice before incorporating water avens supplements into your healthcare regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

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