Jun 28, 2012

Goodbye Rain, Hello Cinquefoil

 The rains have been in and out of the valley for a week, but seem to have finally let up.  Not before causing some serious flooding in some areas and a slide in a valley north of us.

I am hoping that the rains find Colorado this week - the wildfire reports from that state are terrible.  We've had our share of experience with wildfires here, being at the edge of a desert scrub area to the south and surrounded by forest in every other direction.  It gets very hot and dry here in July and August so we are always on wildfire watch.

While wandering the hills a few days ago, I spotted an area dotted with Cinquefoil.  This isn't a plant I've spent much time with so I'm planning on going back there to sit with it for a while.  In the meantime, I've scoured my books and found some information on the pretty plant.

Cinquefoil, also known as “Five Finger Grass” or “Crampweed,” is a wild perennial found across the US and Canada.  The serrated leaflets can number from 3-15 depending on the species.  When they appear with five leaflets, they look like the fingers on a hand .  Cinquefoil grows either upright or low and sending out runners like a wild strawberry plant.  The flowers also look a bit like wild strawberry flowers, but are usually yellow.

Medicinal Uses:

Being that it is of the rosaceae (rose) family it is not surprising that Cinquefoil is astringent, anti-inflammatory and diuretic.  Used as an infusion, it is wonderful as a surface wash for many skin conditions and can be used as mouthwash or a gargle for toothache, bleeding gums or a sore throat.  Because it contains tannic acid, it is considered helpful to stop bleeding.

Magical Lore:

Cunningham states: "The five points of the leaves represent love, money, health, power and wisdom, and so if carried cinquefoil grants these."

Illes's "Encyclopdedia of 5000 Spells" has two uses for cinquefoil.  Burning powdered cinquefoil in the bedroom will allow someone to dream of their true love, and carried by a fisherman, it is said to impart luck.

"Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic" lists money, love and warding off evil as five fingered grass's attributes and has a host of tricks associated with it.

Christopher Penczak, in his marvellous book "The Plant Spirit Familiar," has this to say:  "Cinquefoil is a common ingredient in classic flying ointments, though it is not known for any particularly narcotic or psychotropic properties.  As a flower essence, it helps clear any unwanted imprints and protects us during psychic experience, which may explain it's use in flying ointments.  Generally, the spirit of cinquefoil tends to energetically support us in whatever we do."

If you use cinquefoil for any medicinal or magical purposes, I'd love to hear about it!


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I love its name!

Lois said...

That is strangely familiar! I'll look for some when I'm out and about...

mxtodis123 said...

Oh, what beautiful countryside. I wish I were there.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

what is rain?

Jeanne said...

Thank you Rue for hoping the Rain comes our way. {{hugs}} We so very dearly need it here in Colorado. It seems that a new fire is cropping up every day and unfortunately none of them are small. And the news reports hit close to home over the weekend when a fire was reported only 15 miles north of where my sisters live. Fortunately the winds carried the fire into an uninhabited area and the estimate is for it to be at 100% containment by the weekend.

Cinquefoil ~ When we previously had lived in Colorado, I had shrubby cinquefoil scattered around the property where we lived. And the property felt quite 'clear' and protected. I would use a compress (which had been saturated in an infusion made with dried cinquefoil leaves) on cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. It not only stopped the bleeding but would help with any swelling and infection. I have also read that cinquefoil can be used to make a red dye.

jill said...

Wish I could send you some of our rain we have it everyday,I dont have to water any of my garden or pots at the moment.I received my giveaway book today thank you very much and thanks for the seeds Im going to do those tomorrow. thank you again.Love and blessings Jill xx

gini said...

WELL.. I have oooodles of this in my yard.. particularly on my walk way. I thought it was strawberry weed... ha ha... no strawberries. hmmm.. How would I go about making a tincture with this.. Frost is almost upon us so I hope someone has a recipe.. (smile) thank you.. g

Rue said...

Hi Gini - tinctures are fairly straight forward. Plant material plus 80-100 proof (40-50%) alcohol. I use vodka. Pack plant material in a small jar - full, but loosely. Cover with vodka and steep for 6 weeks. Done!

It can be more complicated depending on the part of the plant you use, and if you don't want to use alcohol there are other options. But leaves and flowers are just that simple! Make sure you ID your plants correctly and have fun!