Herb Robert

Geranium robertianum

Herbs gallery - Herb Robert

Common names

  • Bloodwort
  • Fox Geranium
  • Herb Robert
  • Red Robin

Herb Robert is an annually growing herb that grows up to a maximum height of 24 inches and has a flushed divided stem that is clammy as well as covered with hair. The leaves of herb Robert are split palmately having pale green leaflets that have a purplish tinge at the edges. The herb blooms between May and October and each flower has five pink-hued petals as well as five purple sepals. The seeds of herb Robert are thrown out by the sudden bursting of the pods whose shape has resemblance to cranes' bill. When you are dealing with herb Robert, it exudes a potently unpleasant smell.

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The assortment of names that herb Robert is known by offers a clear picture of this herb. Herb Robert belongs to the plant family geranium and its name has been derived from the Greek term 'geranos' denoting 'crane', since the seedpods of the plant have a resemblance to cranes' bill. However, the common name of the herb has been derived from the Medieval Latin herba Roberti, however, it is still a mystery as to which Robertus is precisely responsible for the plant's name. Among the leading names which might have been behind the common name of herb Robert is a French monk St. Robert of Molesme (died in 1110); St. Rupert of Salzburg (died c. 718) or Duke of Normandy Robert (died in 1134).

It is known that St. Rupert was invoked for long in instances of erysipelas, a throbbing skin ailment, and a number of people assert that it was St. Rupert who was the first to find the efficacy of the herb in stopping hemorrhages and, hence, the herb is alternatively known by the name 'bloodwort'. Owing to the reputation of herb Robert as an effective remedy for felons, a condition wherein the patient has inflammations in the region of the fingernails and toenails, this herb was also referred to as felonwort. In addition, herb Robert is also known as red robin and fox geranium and this is perhaps owing to the reddish flowers borne by the plant.

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The primary efficacy of herb Robert is in the form of an astringent that is applied topically to skin bruises and exasperations. Since the medieval period, people made a compress using the entire plant to treat wounds as well as facilitate in stopping hemorrhages. Despite its extensive use in some regions of the world earlier, currently the popularity of the herb has waned.

Parts used

Aerial parts, root.


While herb Robert was quite popular in folklore medicine, especially in Europe, currently this herb is seldom used in European herbal medicine. It is only sometimes that herb Robert is used in a similar manner as the American cranesbill (botanical name, Geranium maculatum), in the form of an astringent as well as to heal wounds. There is a need for further examination to study the usefulness of the herb to cure different medical conditions. One authority asserts that herb Robert is also effectual in treating stomach ulcers and uterus inflammation. It is also claimed that herb Robert possesses the potential to develop as an effective remedy for cancer.

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In earlier times, people used herb Robert to cure toothache as well as nosebleeds. When the fresh leaves of this herb are crushed they exude a disagreeable smell akin to that of burning tires. The fresh leaves of herb Robert are rubbed on the body and are believed to repel insects.

It may be noted that herb Robert is a valuable natural resource of germanium, a vital element for the body, since it has the aptitude to supply oxygen to the cells. When there is additional supply of oxygen to the cells, it denotes that the body possesses the prospect to combat maladies by its own powers and, therefore, the healing process is faster. On the other hand, the harmful free radicals may result in the absence of free oxygen supply to the cells, which, in turn, create a toxic state in the region of the cells. Such a condition denotes that the cells are not able to receive the necessary supply of oxygen or nourishments for regeneration. In such a case, the area becomes anaerobic (absence of free oxygen) and these result in the beginning of diseases, pain, errant cells and even cancer.

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The leaves of herb Robert are known to possess anti-rheumatic, mildly diuretic, astringent and vulnerary (any substance or medicine that promotes healing of wounds) attributes. Contemporary researches have shown that the leaves of this herb also have the aptitude to lower the blood sugar levels and, hence, it may be helpful in treating diabetes. An infusion prepared with the herb Robert leaves is employed to treat bleeding, infections of the kidney, stomach disorders, jaundice and other health conditions. In addition, the preparations of the herb's leaves are also used topically in the form of a wash or poultice that is applied to distended and throbbing breasts, bruises, rheumatic pains, bleeding and other such medical conditions. Instead of using just the leaves of herb Robert, it is ideal to use the entire plants, counting the roots. Plants of this species may be harvested during any time between the later parts of spring to early autumn. Herb Robert plant is generally used fresh. In addition to herbal formulations, herb Robert is also used to prepare a homeopathic medication.

Habitat and cultivation

Herb Robert is indigenous to Asia and Europe and, over the years, the plant has been naturalized in North America. This herb is harvested during summer and it forms an outstanding advantage in any garden. In effect, herb Robert is an ally of the plant kingdom - the common escort plant. Anywhere herb Robert grows, the plants growing in the vicinity are remarkably more healthy and more robust/ energetic.

Herb Robert is commonly propagated by its seeds. Plants of this species flourish well in the shade and moist places. The plant not only grows robustly, but also blooms in abundance and readily self seeds. Provided the leaves are collected on a regular basis, the plant produces an abundance of leaves. However, it is important to nourish as well as water the plants continuously.

It may be noted that pests and insects never create any trouble for herb Robert. The unpleasant smell of the leaves of the plant works as an insect repellent and may also be employed in animals' bedding. This is one reason why people in earlier times used this herb to keep insects and pests away.

Herb Robert has a preference for light or sandy, loam or medium and clay or heavy soils and needs a soil that has a proper drainage. In addition, plants of this species can thrive in all types of soil, including neutral, acidic and alkaline or basic. Herb Robert grows excellently on the periphery of forest lands. As mentioned earlier, the whole plant exudes a horrible smell when handled. Plants belonging to this genus are seldom bothered by rabbits or deer.


Herb Robert contains a bitter principle (geraniin), tannins, citric acid, and traces of volatile oils.

Usual dosage

The ideal dosage of herb Robert infusion prepared with the dried herb is two teaspoons, while it is one teaspoon when the infusion is prepared with the plant's dry root. It may be noted that herb Robert is also employed to prepare homeopathic medications, typically at a potency of D1. In addition to tinctures and infusions, the extracts of herb Robert as well as American cranesbill also form an active ingredient in tablets.

Side effects and cautions

Herb Robert is normally considered to be safe for use.


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