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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). Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.