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    Scientific Names

    • Scrophularia nodosa L.
    • Scrophulariaceae
    • Figwort family

    Common Names

    ivyCarpenter’s square
    ivyFigwort root
    ivyKnotty-rooted figwort
    ivyScrofula plant
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    Parts Usually Used

    Entire plant
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Figwort is a perennial plant that grows 2-4 feet high; the knobby rootstock is brown outside, whitish and fibrous inside. The erect, quadrangular, glabrous stem bears opposite, ovate to lanceolate, serrate leaves with an offensive odor. (Foliage is variegated green and creamy yellow on the S. n. variegata variety). Small globular, dark purple flowers appear in terminal panicles from June to October. Full sun or partial shade; zones 6-9. The plant is disease-free. It goes dormant in the fall; will seed itself so freely it can become a weed.

    Other varieties: also called figwort (Scrophularia marilandica); the Chinese figwort (S. oldhami) is called Hsuau-shen.
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    Where Found

    Found in rich, damp woodlands, wastelands, and thickets from Maine to Georgia and Tennessee, and west to South Dakota and Kansas. Native to Europe and temperate Asia.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Diuretic, exanthematous, anodyne, depurative
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    Biochemical Information

    Stereoptene, propionic and acetic acid
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    Figwort primarily is for external use; a skin medication for eczema, scabies, scurf, tumors, rashes, etc. Made into an ointment or fomentation it is used on scratches, bruises, and minor wounds. Treatments: deobstruent to the glandular system, tonsillitis, scrofula (tuberculosis of the lymph glands), gout, rheumatism, sluggish digestion, constipation, piles, takes away all redness, spots, and freckles of the face. Externally, for ringworm, psoriasis, varicose veins, piles, swelling, abscesses, ulcers, leprosy, boils, and itch.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Infusion: use 1 heaping tsp. of the plant with 1 cup water. Take 1-2 cups per day. Figwort has a bitter taste and may be sweetened with honey.

    Poultice: use the leaves, crush and apply as a poultice.

    Tincture: take 1/2 to 1 tsp. at a time. Also may be used externally.
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    Figwort stimulates the heart; avoid use in cases of rapid heartbeat or heart problems.
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    Buy It! American Folk Medicine/i>, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

    Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

    Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    Buy It! Culpeper's Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

    Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

    Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature's Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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