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Some species of cinquefoils are used in herbalism. P. fragarioides contains D-Catechin and is used as a hemostatic in Traditional Chinese Medicine, while Common Tormentil (P. erecta) was similarly used in European folk medicine, and also to treat diarrhea and other gastrointestinal ailments. It is rich in flavonoids, saponins, tannins, as well as phenol and the glycoside tormentilline, and has been shown to be bacteriostatic and virostatic. It also contains the red dye tormentole and was sometimes used to color leather and other materials in former times.
Silverweed cinquefoil, which was reclassified from potentilla to Argentina anserina was used topically by Native American tribes for bruises.