figwort flower

Scrophularia nodosa-Figwort


Family: Scrophulariaceae

Other Names: Rosenoble, Throatwort, Carpenter’s Square, Scrofula Plant

Figwort; Scrophularia nodosa , is a medicinal herb that supports detoxification of the body and it may be used as a treatment for various kinds of skin disorders. The whole plant is alterative, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, mildly purgative and stimulant. It is harvested as the plant comes into flower in the summer and can be dried for later use. A decoction is applied externally to sprains, swellings, burns, inflammations etc, and is said to be useful in treating chronic skin diseases, scrofulous sores and gangrene. The leaves can also be applied fresh or be made into an ointment. Internally, the plant is used in the treatment of chronic skin diseases (such as eczema, psoriasis and pruritis), mastitis, swollen lymph nodes and poor circulation. It should not be prescribed for patients with heart conditions. The root is anthelmintic.

hazardsmallAvoid in patients with ventricular tachycardia (increased heart rate). Lack of toxicological data excludes use during pregnancy.

Habitat: A European and British wild plant. Damp ground in woods, hedgebanks, by streams etc. An occasional garden weed.

figwortDescription of Figwort;

Scrophularia nodosa is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, wasps.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation of Figwort:

Figwort succeeds in most moist to wet soils in full sun or partial shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c.

Propagation of Figwort:

Seed – sow Figwort in spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown outdoors in situ in the autumn or the spring. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Collection: The stalks and leaves are gathered during flowering between June and August.

Culinary uses of Figwort:

Edible Parts: Root.
Edible Uses:

Root – cooked. It smells and tastes unpleasant, but has been used in times of famine. There must be some doubts about the edibility of this root.

Scrophularia_Nodosa_botanicalMedicinal uses of Figwort:

Actions: Alterative, diuretic, laxative, heart stimulant.

Part Used: Aerial parts.


Figwort finds most use in the treatment of skin problems. It acts in a broad way to help the body function well, bringing about a state of inner cleanliness. It may be used for eczemapsoriasis and any skin condition where there is itching and irritation. Part of the cleansing occurs due to the purgative and diuretic actions. It may be used as a mild laxative in constipation. As a heart stimulant, Figwort should be avoided where there is any abnormally rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a “gently stimulating and relaxing alterative with lower abdominal and pelvic emphasis. Deobstruent to enlarged and engorged lymph glands.” They give the following specific indications: chronic skin diseaseeczema and psoriasisMammary tumors and nodosities. Haemorrhoids.

Ellingwood considered it specific for “marked evidences of cachexia. Depraved blood from any cause; glandular disorders of a chronic character, accompanied with disease of the skin. Ulcerations, eczema, excoriations from chronic skin disease.”


It will combine well with Yellow Dock and Burdock Rootin the treatment of skin problems.

Preparations & Dosage of Figwort:

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-3 teaspoonfuls of the dried leaves and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Other uses:
Esoteric uses of Figwort:

Magickal balms, house & business blessing, protection for the home. Wear around the neck for health and protection against the evil eye.

The Chemistry;
  • Iridoids, e.g. aucubin, harpagide, acetyl harpagide and 6 [[alpha]]-rhamnopyranosylcatalpol
  • Flavonoids; diosmin and hesperidin
  • Phenolic acids; ferulic, isoferulic, p-coumaric, caffeic, vanillic & chlorogenic acids.