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Medicinal properties of scabies

Knautia arvensis is popularly known as scabrous, to which not many other names are attributed.

It is a medicinal plant native to the area of Europe and northern Asia, so it was once used in traditional Chinese medicine. Even today we can find references of mixtures in infusions where the rhizome of the scabies mixed with other compounds was used to remedy against internal pain and wounds.

Knautia arvensis belongs to the family Caprifoliaceae a grouping of dicotyledons commonly known as the honeysuckle family.

How curiosity say that the name scabies comes from the German physician and botanist Christian Knaut. The names escabiosa and scabious derive from the Latin “scabere”, whose meaning is that of scratch, which has a lot to do with the main attribution as medicinal properties of Knautia arvensis.

Flower of knautia arvensis or scabies

Agronomic characteristics of the scabomous plant


Currently, the growth habitat of the scabies is located in rustic and abandoned areas such as roadsides, watercourses, meadows and forest boundaries.

It grows solitarily practically anywhere, wherever its seeds have been scattered, developing to a height of 1800 m.

Flowering season

Its flowering season is linked to the spring and summer climate, like many other medicinal plants.

Knowing this date is very important since it marks a harvesting period very defined. It is important to collect the parts that we use as a medicinal plant just before flowering, so that we will have a greater accumulation of the active ingredients and, therefore, better medicinal results.

A very striking part of the plant are its flowers. The stem carried by the flower can reach up to 1 meter in height, very similar to that of bulb plants such as garlic.

The flower reaches up to 4 cm in diameter, with different shades ranging from blue to lilac or pink. They have an appearance somewhat similar to that of the carnation flower, in terms of texture and arrangement.

Medicinal properties of knautia arvensis (Escabiosa)

We go on to know the main medicinal remedies that have been granted to scabies and that have been used since traditional Chinese medicine.

Today, it is a plant little known for its principles and, therefore, little studied. Therefore, caution is requested in its use.

Active ingredients present

  • Tannins
  • Sesquiterpene lactone
  • Saponins
  • Sucrose

Both saponins and tannins can have depurative and antiseptic activity when applied topically in wounds pending healing.

Parts used:

The whole plant houses these commented active ingredients. However, today the stems and leaves of the plant are usually used more. It is important to harvest these parts before flowering has begun.

Both the rhizomes and the leaves and stems can be kept dry for use in infusions, baths or through compresses. In some cases the preparation of tinctures with alcohol has been described to create a kind of oil for massage.

Although Knautia arvensis is a plant little studied from the medical point of view, popularly it has been widely used as Cleansing, laxative, expectorant, aperitive and healing.

One of the main virtues attributed to the scabies is that of cure scabies. It has always been known for that and, in fact, has defined its name by Christian Knaut, both the vulgar (referring to the term scratch in Latin) and the scientific (Knautia arvensis from Knaut, its discoverer).

As scabies in many European countries is a disease with many means for its control, the natural remedies of scabies have gone to a 2nd plane and have not been properly studied.

The scabrous, next to con other medicinal plants of recognized capacity to reduce the development of microorganisms (like thyme), are especially useful in facilitating wound healing and reducing inflammation in the skin.

lilac flower of escabiosa

How to use

The traditional way for use as a purifying plant, laxative and experctoring is by infusion.

To do this, a large tablespoon of dried plant is used for each cup of water. The infusion is boiled and prepared, with subsequent filtering. This same infusion can be used for topical application to skin problems.

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