Common Figwort

Scrophularia nodosa

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Scrophularia Nodosa - Photo by J.F. Gaffard , found on Wikimedia Commons


The fact that the roots are edible was of great importance for the troops of Cardinal Richelieu when they defended the town of La Rochelle in 1628. They endured the siege on a diet of purely Helmet. In honor of this, Helmkruid is also called Herbe de siege in French.

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 decoration 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

The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, wasps.