figwort large Figwort

Figwort | Scrophularia nodosa

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include figwort, throatwort, rosenoble, carpenters square, scrofula plant.

A native of Europe and the UK, figwort belongs to the family of Scrophulariaceae, the same family as foxglove and mullein.

Figwort is a very common plant in the UK but you'd be forgiven for not knowing it as it is very discreet, despite growing up to be 4-5 feet tall.  It prefers shady and slightly damp places such as woodland edges, hedgerows etc where it begins to show in spring, growing on until flowering in July/august. Its stems are tall and square whilst the flowers are quite few and far between, consisting of two lips, the tips of the upper lips being tinged with purple/red, really beautiful when you get close in. The flowers give way to tiny fig like seed pods.


Organic figwort tincture is available to buy in our herbal shop.



harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

The parts most commonly used are the leaves but the roots can also be used as a poultice or wash for external use. Gather the plant when in full flower in summer and leave to dry in bundles or bunches.

Organic figwort tincture is available to buy in our herbal shop.

therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Figwort has been well regarded in the past by herbalists as a general cleanser of all body systems, especially when used in small doses over longer periods. In Chinese medicine it is used to cool and moisten an overheated, dry feverish body and to help the liver. Its primary actions include diuretic, analgesic, depurative, anti-inflammatory, cardiac stimulant, anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic, hepatic, mild laxative, dermatological agent.
In Chinese medicine it is valued for its ability to strongly clear heat and eliminate toxicity; cool the blood; soften hardness, dissipate nodules and swellings and 'drain fire', in other words cool the blood.
Figwort contains the iridoids named harpagoside and harpagide (also present in Devils claw), both of which have been identified as having a therapeutic effect on rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatic conditions generally.
It can also offer a degree of pain relief and can be used as a reasonably effective pain killer when nothing stronger is available.
Figwort was well known in the past as a prime remedy for treating scrofula or "the Kings evil', a tubercular condition that affects the lymph nodes around the throat and neck. Today, it can be used to treat hard nodules or swellings that need to be dispersed. Historically used for conditions affecting the throat (hence 'throatwort') like hoarseness due to inflammation, it also cleanses and tones the lymph vessels and nodes, is of overall benefit to the lymphatic system, softens and disperses hardened lymph nodes, swollen glands, quinsy, tonsillitis and glandular fever but its actions are effective anywhere in the body so is used for tumours, appendicitis etc.
Many herbalists use figwort in cancer treatments, especially in cancer of the breast, lungs, ovaries, testicles.
Its bitter taste and action makes it useful for constipation especially where some cleansing of the bowel is needed. The component responsible for the mild laxative action also gives a diuretic effect and stimulates the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys so could be useful in preventing and treating gout.
Figwort is effective against many chronic skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and spots, itching, also for helping to disperse and cleanse abscess and cysts. It can be used to cleanse and heal messy and infected wounds, leg ulcers and any condition of the skin that exudes some form of discharge.
Orchitis and testicular lumps and nodules as well as breast lumps and mastitis can benefit from figwort.
It is said to be good as an ointment against haemorrhoids and in traditional Welsh herbalism it is used successfully for varicose veins.
Figwort has an interesting action on the heart and circulation, it has a cardio-active action similar to digitalis (foxglove) but does not contain any cardiac glycosides. Figwort is known to be a cardiac stimulant, it increases the force of contraction of the heart muscle.


dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

*Avoid if you have heart disease or irregular heart beat as it is stimulating to the heart. Do not use if taking any heart medicines, especailly those containg cardiac glycosides or blood pressure lowering medications.
*Avoid in ventricular tachycardia.
*Avoid when pregnant or breast feeding.
*Caution should be used when taking diabetic medications as figwort can interfere with absorption of them.



Dried herb in tea form: 1 teaspoon of dried herb per cup, up to 3 cups daily.

Tincture: 2-4 ml, up to 3 times daily

*It combines well with yellow dock for deep seated stubborn skin conditions.



Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.
* I personally would not use figwort in children under 16.






  • Guest - Bugwoman

    Hi there! I just planted some Figwort beside the wildlife pond in my garden, I'm looking forward to seeing the flowers....

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