Scrophularia lanceolata, Figwort, (Scrophulariaceae, the Figwort Family), to 2 m in height, red-brown flowers, habitat: open woods, roadsides, and fence-rows; Eastern and Central U.S. (102, 103).
American Indian groups used the California Figwort Scrophularia californica as a poultice of leaves or fresh plant juice to boils, bacterial infections, fungal infections, burns, wounds, hives, scabies, swelling, cradle cap, and rashes. Root tea was used for suppressed or irregular menses and cramping and to decrease postpartum bleeding. The whole plant was used for treating congestive heart disease (88).
A poultice of the fresh herb of the European species S. aquatica was used as a folk remedy to heal wounds, ulcers, and sores. A poultice, ointment, or wash of S. nodosa of eastern N. America and Europe was a folk remedy for abcesses, wounds, ringworm, scabies, rashes, painful swellings, enlarged lymph nodes, sore breasts, sprains, burns, and inflammations; it was also used as a diuretic tea, for liver conditions, and to stimulate the menses or to relieve menstrual pain. The Chinese S. ningpoensis is prescribed by Chinese herbalists for severe infections with fever, to counteract a toxic state of the blood with constipation, and for irritability, red or swollen eyes, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes (88).
Research confirms the anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and blood pressure lowering effects. Anti-inflammatory phenylpropanoids have been isolated for many species of Scrophularia (88).
It is also known to produce dulcitol C6H14O6, galactitol, euonymit, melampyrite, melampyrum, and melampyrin (174, 238).
Senecio plattensis, Groundsel, Ragwort, Butterweed, (Compositae, the Composite Family), 2-7 dm in height, yellow flowers, habitat: mostly in dry open places, Midwest U.S. (102, 103).
Groundsel was used to stimulate menstruation and to ease painful menstruation, both by European and American domestic practitioners. Native Americans used Senecio vulgaris Groundsel to speed childbirth. All these functions recall the applications of Ergot, and Groundsel was employed at various times as a substitute for that fungus, for example, in controlling pulmonary hemorrhage. In general, the plant has been utilized as a diaphoretic, diuretic, and tonic. In dentistry, the herb is employed for bleeding gums (267).
American Indian groups of coastal California (Costanoans) drank plant tea of the Senecio flaccidus var. douglasii Groundsel to treat kidney ailments, and used it externally as a wash for infected sores. The Kawaiisu Indians used leaf tea as a strong laxative. Hopi Indians used the related Senecio flaccidus var. flaccidus externally for rheumatism, sore muscles, pimples, and skin conditions. Caution! Senecia species contain liver-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (88).
The Ragwort plant Senicio jacobaea was used as a folk medicine in Europe. Leaves were decocted into a gargle for mouth sores or sore throat. Tea was used as a treatment for rheumatism, sciatica, and gout. Externally, leaf juice was considered cooling and astringent, and was used as a wash on burns, sores, and ulcers. Leaf poultices were used for swelling, inflammation, and bee stings. Caution! Senecio species are toxic to livestock (88).
It produces senecionine C18H25NO5, senecioic acid, seneciphylline, retorsine, senecionione, valine, leucine, isoleucine (97, 174, 238).
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