Figwort (Scrophularia) have been used by herbal medicine practitioners around the world and has been known to traditional Chinese medicine for as long as 2000 years. In the Middle Ages, the herb was thought to be one of the best medicinal plants to treat swellings and tumors.
The scientific name of this plant, Scrophularia, comes from scrofula, a form of tuberculosis, because several species have been used in herbal medicine for this disease.
Today the herb is primarily used for its cleansing and detoxifying properties. It is believed to stimulate the lymphatic system, used externally for chronic skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis and also to treat itching and hemorrhoids. Additionally, it is used for inflamed and swollen lymph glands and poor blood circulation.
Common figwort has sometimes been used traditionally as an herbal tea to treat the common cold and is often mixed with purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), or peppermint (Mentha piperita pipe).
There is some indication that common figwort could be effective against some types of cancers. Whether this is the case is too early to say and more research is needed to confirm this.
Side Effects and Possible Interactions of Common Figwort
Until more research has been done on the safety of common figwort, the herb should not be used by pregnant or nursing women and should not be given to children.
The plant is closely related to foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and both plants contain cardiac glycosides that can affect the heart.
Although common figwort contains far less of these compounds than foxglove, special care should be taken when using the herb internally and it should be completely avoided by people with heart problems of all kinds.
When ingested in large amounts the herb can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
The appropriate and therapeutic dose of common figwort can depend on the user’s age, health, and several other conditions so a trained herbalist should be consulted prior to use or take it in a small quantity to be safe.
Health Benefits: good for detoxification, reduce appendicitis, blood cleansing, eczema, itching, psoriasis, hemorrhoids, scrofula, swollen skin and rash.
Taste: bitter and sweet – Nature: cold