TodflaxToadflax — Linaria is a genus of about 100 species of herbaceous annuals and perennials that was traditionally placed in the foxglove family Scrophulariaceae. Due to new genetic research, it has now been placed in the vastly expanded family Plantaginaceae. The genus is native to temperate regions of Europe, northern Africa and Asia, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean region.

The members of this genus are known in English as toadflax, a name shared with several related genera. The scientific name means “resembling Linum” (flax), which the foliage of some species superficially resembles.

Closely related genera include the Nuttallanthus (American toadflaxes, recently split from Linaria), Antirrhinum (snapdragons) and Cymbalaria (Ivy-leaved toadflaxes).

Common toadflax is especially valued for its strongly laxative and diuretic activities. Internally it us used in the treatment of edema, jaundice, liver diseases and skin problems. Externally it is used in an ointment to treat hemorrhoids, skin eruptions, sores and ulcers. The juice of the plant is a good remedy for inflamed eyes, though should be used with caution. Dosage is critical and it should not be given to pregnant women, since the plant might be slightly toxic.

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