The strong astringent properties of the tannins present in wood avens combined with other substances could make the herb helpful as an herbal remedy for many ailments associated with the digestive system, such as diarrhea, dysentery, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and other similar inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
The herb is regarded to be useful in reducing nausea and prevent vomiting. The bitter substances stimulate appetite and trigger gastric secretion and bowel movements, while the essential oil in the rhizome has antispasmodic action and inhibits gas formation.
In addition, these bitter substances may also act as regulators of sorts in the function of the liver and gallbladder.
The astringent effect of wood avens also explains its traditional uses as a gargle or mouthwash to treat a sore throat and bad breath. As an herbal wash the herb can be used for vaginal discharge and in the form of lotion or ointment, it can be used as a relief for hemorrhoids.
Wood avens does have a sedative effect and may be used in the same manner as valerian (Valeriana officinalis). The effect, however, is much weaker.
It has also be used to relieve chronic bronchitis and in folk medicine, the herb has been used as a remedy for a toothache.