Common Toadflax – Linaria Vulgaris: Edible & Medicinal Uses of Wild Snapdragon

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Common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) has a much easier folk name to remember: butter-and-eggs. the flowers look just like the breakfast. Around Haliburton this nonnative plant is common on open sandy and gravelly ground. It’s got a lot of aggressive competition in these disturbed areas, but I usually find at least one when I’m walking down a gravel road or path.

Note it may be confused with true snapdragons, which have made the rounds as popular landscaping plants.

Common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)
Common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

Edible Uses of Common Toadflax

Technically you could nibble on the young greens, but the taste is acrid and there’s a scent many folks would not like. It’s not a particularly popular forage. It’s not even in Sam Thayer’s newest book. In fact, you’re probably only going to find people suggesting to eat this on the Internet.

The flowers are also edible in moderation.

Medicinal Uses of Common Toadflax

 Common Toadflax is primarily said to support these body systems:

  • Digestive
  • Integumentary

Medicinal tags include Astringent, Diuretic, Laxative, Hepatic and Purgative. See Medicinal tag key for more information.

Common usage is in a tincture combined with other herbs to treat liver, spleen, gallbladder or sometimes kidney disorders. Too many drops of this tincture can cause serious side effects, so as often the case it’s an herbal medicine that needs professional supervision.

A green tinted cooling skin ointment is made from the fresh or dried flowering plant. Drying reduces the unpleasant odor the leaves have. It may be used on varicose veins and hemorrhoids. You can also just apply the fresh leaves directly as a poultice.

Common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)
Common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

Alternative Uses of Butter-and-Eggs

The flower and whole plant produces dyes of yellow, orange, green or brown depending on the mordant used.

It’s a pretty cut flower.

Growing Linaria Vulgaris

If you’re searching for a native lookalike my vote goes to similarly two-toned Dutchman’s breeches. Or for a bright yellow pop in a sunny summer spot, there’s an immense list of native goldenrod you can choose from!


Do not take the decoction or tincture internally without professional supervision.

And the Usual Cautions:

1) Most medicinal herbs, if edible, are meant to be eaten in moderation, even sparingly. Some require extra preparation. Tannins are toxic if consumed in excess.

2) People can be allergic or sensitive to nearly any plant; try new herbs one at a time at your own risk. For instance, saponins commonly cause stomach upset.

3) For medicinal use, I must recommend receiving a diagnosis and working with a reputed health care provider. I generally do not post specific treatments and dosages because I think that is best between you and your health care provider, and ideally monitored.

4) Anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding new food items to their diet.

5) Many plants have look-a-likes, and sometimes they are poisonous.

#ads in References

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A Modern Herbal (Volume 2, I-Z and Indexes)

Planting the Future: Saving Our Medicinal Herbs

The Herb Book: The Most Complete Catalog of Herbs Ever Published (Dover Cookbooks)

A Harvest of Herbs

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs

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