Herb: Flixweed

Latin name: Descurainia sophia

Synonyms: Sisymbrium sophia

Family: Cruciferae

Medicinal use of Flixweed:

A poultice of the plant has been used to ease the pain of toothache. The juice of the plant has been used in the treatment of chronic coughs, hoarseness and ulcerated sore throats. A strong decoction of the plant has proved excellent in the treatment of asthma. The flowers and the leaves are antiscorbutic and astringent. The seed is considered to be cardiotonic, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, restorative and tonic. It is used in the treatment of asthma, fevers, bronchitis, oedema and dysentery. It is also used in the treatment of worms and calculus complaints. It is decocted with other herbs for treating various ailments. The seeds have formed a special remedy for sciatica. A poultice of the ground up seeds has been used on burns and sores.

Description of the plant:


90 cm
(2 feet)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Waste ground and roadsides.

Edible parts of Flixweed:

Young leaves and shoots - cooked. A bitter flavour. Used as a potherb. Seed - raw or cooked. A pungent taste, it is used as a mustard substitute. The seed can be ground into a powder, mixed with cornmeal and used to make bread, or as a thickening for soups etc. It can also be sprouted and added to salads etc. A nourishing and cooling beverage can be made by mixing the ground up seeds with water to make a thin batter. The seed contains 25.5 - 29.9% protein, 26.9 - 39.7% fat and 3.6 - 3.9% ash on a zero moisture basis.

Other uses of the herb:

A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. Yields are not given. The leaves have been stored with corn to prevent it from going bad.

Propagation of Flixweed:

Seed - sow spring in situ.

Cultivation of the herb:

Waste ground and roadsides.

Known hazards of Descurainia sophia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.