Additional notes (click to expand)

Medicinal

Culpeper: ‘The roots either boiled or beaten into powder and so taken, helps such as are extremely troubled with scabs and itch, are medicinal in the French-pocks, hard swellings, inward wounds ...’
Culpeper, Nicholas. (1650). A Physical Directory . London, Peter Cole.

Not used in herbal medicine at the present time except in Southern Africa where it is used fro colic and heartburn, and the roots made into an ointment for curing wounds
Van Wyk, B.E., Van Oudtshoorn, B Gericke, N. (2000). Medicinal Plants of South Africa, Briza Publications. 2nd ed

Nomenclature

Notes: The genus name comes from the Latin word scabies meaning ‘itch’, which according to the Doctrine of Signatures, the rough leaves indicated that it would cure eczematous skin. However, the leaves are not really very rough...
Oakeley, Dr. H. F. . (2013). The Gardens of the Pharmacopoeia Londinensis. link

This is the small Scabious of Parkinson (1640) -Scabiosa minor campestris who writes that it is the S. columbaria of Lobel. The Apothecaries Scabious, Scabiosa officinarum was S. vulgaris pratensis the Common Field Scabious. The modern name, S. pratensis, is regarded as a synonym of S. columbaria.
Parkinson, John (1640) 'Theatrum Botanicum' London, Thomas Cotes

Other use

Scabiosa columbaria L. Dipsacaceae. Small scabious. Distribution: Europe. Culpeper (1650) writes: ‘The roots either boiled or beaten into powder and so taken, helps such as are extremely troubled with scabs and itch, are medicinal in the French-pocks [syphilis], hard swellings, inward wounds ...’ The genus name comes from the Latin word scabies, meaning ‘itch’. According to the Doctrine of Signatures, the rough leaves indicated that it would cure eczematous skin. However, the leaves are not really very rough... Not used in herbal medicine at the present time except in Southern Africa where it is used for colic and heartburn, and the roots made into an ointment for curing wounds (van Wyk, 2000).
Oakeley, Dr. Henry F. (2013). Wellcome Library notes. link

Geographical distribution

  • Africa, Northern Africa, Algeria
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Morocco
  • Asia-Temperate, Caucasus
  • Asia-Temperate, Middle Asia, Turkmenistan
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Iran
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Turkey
  • Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Europe, Middle Europe
  • Europe, Northern Europe
  • Europe, Northern Europe, Great Britain
  • Europe, Southeastern Europe
  • Europe, Southwestern Europe

Scabiosa columbaria L.

Family: DIPSACACEAE
Genus: Scabiosa
Species: columbaria L.
Common names: Small Scabious; Lilac-flowered Scabious
Pharmacopoeia Londinensis name: Scabiosa
Distribution summary: N.Africa, Eurasia
Habit: Perennial
Hardiness: H4 - Hardy; average winter
Habitat: Dry, grassy slopes amongst rocks , usually on calcareous soils
Garden status: Not currently grown
Flowering months: July
Reason for growing: Medicinal


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