6 Unbelievable Figwort Uses You Should Know

Figwort is an annual biennial or perennial that grows wild in the Northern Hemisphere. The figwort plant grows best in moist soil, in partial to full shade. It has a knobby rootstock and dark purple flowers.

It has an awful taste, so it is usually avoided. However, if you find it in your garden, you can plant it for the medicinal benefits it provides.


The common name figwort comes from its swollen roots. Its scientific name, “Scrophularia,” comes from the Latin word ethical, “morally corrupt.” Its leaves are lance-shaped and covered in thin hairs. Its ovaries are in color, from pink to purple.

It is a perennial that grows to 80 centimeters in ideal conditions. Its stem is square and angled. The leaves are pointed and oval and have toothed petioles. They may have a purple tinge, especially if they are young. Flowers are a bright red, but the flower is not edible.

What is a figwort?

Figworts are members of the Scrophulariaceae family, a large group of herbaceous flowering plants. It is botanically known as Scrophularia nodosa.

These plants have square stems, opposite leaves, and flowers with open two-lipped sepals, which form clusters at the stem ends. 

Why is it called figwort?

Figwort gets its common name from its swollen roots. Its scientific name is “Scrophularia” and comes from the Greek word ‘scrofulous,’ which means morally corrupt’ or ‘degenerate.’ It is also known as the Bee Plant and has red flowers.

Figwort flowering season

It will flower the first year it sprouts from seed. It has long stems with numerous flowers, and blooms last up to two weeks in a vase.

The bitter-smoke-scented flowers attract more pollinating insects than any other plant. They are an excellent textural bouquet filler, lasting up to two weeks in a vase. This perennial can be grown in gardens or in containers.

Figwort harvesting season

Figwort is harvested during the summer season and dried for later use. Its roots are dried and used as tea. Unlike Chinese variety, which grows underground, common figwort contains various chemicals that have medicinal benefits.

Uses of figwort

It has several health benefits. One of the most popular herbal medicines globally, figwort is often used to clean and detoxify. Some of the uses are as follows.

Used as tea

The aerial parts of the plant are used to prepare figwort tea. It contains flavonoids, glycosides, saponins, essential fatty acids, and organic acids. It is used for many different health conditions and is commonly combined with digestive herbs and other herbal remedies to boost its effects.

It has been used as a treatment for Scrofula and was also a popular herb in ancient times. It was also a popular remedy for skin infections, freckles, and tumors. A cup of figwort tea can be beneficial for many health conditions and is considered a good option for resolving a variety of ailments.

What does figwort tea taste like?

Although many herbalists have never tried figwort tea, a few people do, and their reactions may surprise you. Several sources describe the herb’s flavor as bitter and astringent, and others say it’s a mixture of both.

In either case, there are some differences in the taste of the two species. Some are considered more bitter than others, and some are more intense than others.

As border plants in the garden

They are most commonly used as a border plant in gardens and flowerbeds. Various types of figworts are native to North America.

Figwort is an excellent plant for borders. The foliage is attractive, and a border filled with figworts will make your garden more interesting and attractive.

They also can self-propagate through root division, which allows you to get many figworts for your border.

To cure Scrofula

It is a common plant in moist meadows. Its purple flowers are often used in folk medicine to cure Scrofula, a common disease associated with tuberculosis.

It was used as a cleansing agent in the ancient world and was brewed into teas and ointments. Modern herbalists have started to use this herb for its topical and hormonal benefits, including thyroid health.

Treats swollen throats

The plant’s rhizomes are similar to swollen glands. This is why it is used as a medicine for swollen throats. It has diuretic and analgesic properties.

It has a variety of beneficial effects. If used as tea, it can help relieve swelling, cough, and swollen tonsils. Its rhizomes also have beneficial effects on the digestive system.

Treat hemorrhoids

The herb has been used for centuries to treat hemorrhoids and is a potent natural remedy for skin conditions. Despite its medicinal properties, many people are using this unbelievable plant to treat hemorrhoids.

Hippocrates recommended steeping figwort leaves in wine as a poultice for the painful rectum. It is considered an emmenagogue and diuretic, and it is often used to help women menstruate.

Reduces inflammation

Its leaves and flowers are a great way to treat your edema and reduce inflammation. It is used topically to treat skin inflammations, ulcers, and freckles.

In addition, it is also applied topically, though there are no reliable data on dosage for this method. The herb is commonly consumed in China as a yin tonic and a digestive tonic.

Side effects of the figwort tea

It is generally safe to use, although it may interact with certain medications. People with heart problems should avoid using it, and children should not drink it. It also contains cardiac glycosides and saponins, which dilute blood significantly and cause dangerous side effects.

While it is good for the skin and can reduce the risk of heart problems, it can affect blood sugar levels. If you are taking diabetes medication, you should consult your health care provider before taking it. There are some warnings, but the risks are minimal.

While it is commonly used to treat Scrofula, it is not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers. Moreover, the herb is not recommended for children. Its active compounds are mainly found in the stem, leaves, and rhizome.

Takeaway message

Figwort is an herb with cleansing, detoxifying, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is cultivated for its roots and aerial parts. It is a good choice as a figwort tea, rich in organic acids, glycosides, flavonoids, saponins, and cardioactive compounds. Moreover, it is a natural cleanser, useful for treating various conditions, from digestive issues to skin infections.

Although it’s traditional uses were internal, renaissance writers also described its external application. Historically, people used figwort to substitute for devil’s claw in treating their wounds. The figwort herb contains chemicals that inhibit inflammation and pain. This makes it a good option for healing skin ailments.