The medicinal power of knobby marram

Knotted marram is a perennial plant and grows in almost all of Europe and a small part of Western Asia. The plant has been introduced into North America and has successfully naturalized in some places. The plant likes roadsides and partial shade and can withstand winter conditions well; he can survive at least -15. The roots of buttonwort are edible but do not taste good; they are eaten only in times of famine. In folk medicine, this plant has long been a medicine and today some medicinal effects have been confirmed by scientific research. That is why the plant is used in phytotherapy, a modern form of herbal medicine. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing of knobby marram / Source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Traditional use
  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Knotted marram for skin problems
  • Helmeted herb, good for muscle, joint and tendonitis
  • Other medicinal effects
  • Dose and safety
  • Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Traditional use

Knotted marram is edible. In 1628, the town of La Rochelle was surrounded by the troops of Cardinal Richelieu. People managed to survive in the town because there was a lot of knotweed growing within the city walls, the roots of which were eaten. In France the plant is still called ‘herbe de la siege’, which means siege herb. Traditionally, this plant has been used to cleanse the blood, which has positive effects on skin diseases.


In Latin, knobby marram is called Scrophularia nodosa . Nodosa means ‘gnarled’ or ‘knot-like’ and that refers to the shape of the root. Scrofuleus is a somewhat outdated Dutch word and means ‘glandular’. This refers to the fact that in the past, buttonwort was used for diseases of the lymph nodes. It was also used for scrofula, a neck disease.

Active substances

The herb growing above ground is used for phytotherapeutic purposes. It contains the following active substances: the iridoid glycosides harpagide, aucubine, 6-alfarhamnopyranosylcatapol and catapol, flavonoids such as diosmin, diosmetin, acacetin, rhamnoside and hesperidin, the phenolic acids ferulic acid, isoferulic acid, p-coumaric acid, caffeic acid, vanillic acid, chlorogenic acid, cardioglycosides, resins. and organic acids.

Knotted marram for skin problems

Knobbed marram has depurative or blood-purifying qualities. These are mainly used for skin problems. This is mainly due to the fact that it is a diuretic herb. Moisture is expelled from the body more quickly. Fluid is stored in the blood together with all kinds of toxins that are not expelled from the body for various reasons. This is mainly due to a diet in which one consumes many toxic substances, so much that the body cannot process it all and tries to temporarily store the toxins in the blood. Uric acid is expelled from the body more quickly and it is also a mild laxative. Because of these medicinal activities, knotweed is used in phytotherapy for the following

Knobbed marram / Source: H. Zell, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)


  • Eczema,
  • Psoriasis,
  • Chronic skin diseases with irritation and itching,
  • Chronic inflammation accompanied by swollen lymph nodes,
  • Constipation.

Helmeted herb, good for muscle, joint and tendonitis

Knotted marram is a strong anti-inflammatory agent. Like devil’s claw, it has iridoids that are responsible for its anti-inflammatory effect. For this reason, there are naturopaths and phytotherapists who use knotted marram for the following indications:

  • joint inflammation,
  • muscle inflammation,
  • Tendonitis.

Other medicinal effects

The most important effects of buttonwort are described above. The indications mentioned in this paragraph are not sufficiently covered by research.

  • There are cardioglycosides in pygmy anther. Therefore, it is used to support heart function and improve blood circulation. Weak heart function is an indication of marmalade.
  • Knotted marram is said to work for benign breast tumors, but there is no evidence for this.
  • Knobbed marram could be used for hemorrhoids.
  • It is used externally for sunburn, minor burns, diaper eczema and minor injuries.

Dose and safety

There are a number of ways to use this medicinal plant.

  • Tincture: 2 to 4 ml per day (1:5, 40%),
  • Three times a day a tea or infusion of one to three teaspoons of dried herb, let it simmer for 15 minutes,
  • Take two to eight grams of herb per day.

Knotted marram has a stimulating effect on the heart; therefore it is not recommended for people with tachycardia or a rapid heart rate. If you use other medicinal plants with cardioglycosides, such as digitalis, you should only use knotweed in consultation with your herbalist.

Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Much of the information about the medicinal plant mentioned in this article comes from the book Groot Handboek Medicinal Plants by Geert Verhelst. That is a handbook in phytotherapy. However, it is not suitable for self-healing. Anyone who suffers from something should consult a doctor or herbal therapist for a good diagnosis and choice of the best remedies, tailored to your personal situation. The knowledge and science mentioned here is of a purely informative nature.