Health benefits of Common Snapdragon

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Common Snapdragon Quick Facts
Name: Common Snapdragon
Scientific Name: Antirrhinum majus
Origin Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern France, and east to Turkey and Syria
Shapes Ovoid capsule 10–14 mm diameter shaped like a skull, containing numerous small seeds
Health benefits Relieves Urinary Tract Infections, Alleviates Minor Burns, Detoxifies the Blood, Treats Boils and Abscesses, Purifies the Liver, Helps Reduce Fever, Avoids occurrence of skin infection, Good for treating mild burn injuries, Useful in treatment of hemorrhoids
Antirrhinum majus commonly known as common snapdragon; often – especially in horticulture simply as snapdragon is a species of flowering plant belonging to the genus Antirrhinum. The plant was placed in the family Plantaginaceae following a revision of its prior classical family, Scrophulariaceae. The plant is native to Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern France, and east to Turkey and Syria. Some of the popular common names of the plants are Dragon Flower, Garden snapdragon, Snapdragon, Common snapdragon, Greater snapdragon, large snapdragon, dragon’s-mouth and great snapdragon.  The common name “snapdragon”, originates from the flowers’ reaction to having their throats squeezed, which causes the “mouth” of the flower to snap open like a dragon’s mouth. It is widely used as an ornamental plant in borders and as a cut flower. It is usually cultivated once a year. The species has been in culture since the 15th century.

Genus name comes from the Greek words anti-meaning like and rhis meaning a nose or snout in allusion to the appearance of the flower which looks like a dragon’s snout and tells us the flowers are like the nose of a dragon, complete with the ability for the mouth to open when the sides of the corolla tube are gently squeezed.  The species epitaph means “May,” the season when the plant normally blooms. The flower which goes by the name of dog-flower in India is known as snapdragon in other places. Dog flowers, like many garden flowers, have a long history of enjoyment. Children love opening the jaw of the flower and watching it snap shut. Opening the dog’s jaw in just the right place is a skill passed down from parent to child just like the love of gardening. Dog flowers are available in every color.

Common Snapdragon Facts

Name Common Snapdragon
Scientific Name Antirrhinum majus
Native Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern France, and east to Turkey and Syria
Common Names Dragon Flower, Garden snapdragon, Snapdragon, Common snapdragon, Greater snapdragon, large snapdragon, dragon’s-mouth, great snapdragon
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Leeuwenbek
Albanian: Gojuku, gojasllani i madhë, gojëujk
Arabic: Fam alsamakat alshshayie (فم السمكة الشائع), nabtat ‘anf aleijl (نبتة أنف العجل)
Armenian: Snapdragon
Azerbaijani: Aslanağzı
Basque: Snapdragon
Belarusian: l’vínuyu zyapa (львіную зяпа)
Bengali:  Sn’yāpaḍrāgana (স্ন্যাপড্রাগন)
Bosnian: Zijevalica
Brazil : Boca-De-Leão
Bulgarian: kuchentse (кученце), lŭvska mutsunka (лъвска муцунка)
Catalan: Boca de conill, Boca de drac, Cara de vedella, Conillets, Gatets, Gola, Gola de llop, Gossets, Mamaconill, Sabatetes, Vedells, badocs, boca d’ase, boca de conill, boca de dragó, boca de lleó, botons de gat, brams d’ase, cans, cara de vedella, cluques, cucut, dits, llops, morro de vedell, pets de llops, sabatetes de la Mare de Déu, vedeis
Cebuano: Snapdragon
Chichewa: Snapdragon
Chinese: Jīnyú cǎo (金鱼草)
Croatian: Zijevalica, velika zijevalica
Czech : Hledík Větší, hledík
Danish: Have-Løvemund, løvemund
Dutch : Grote Leeuwebek, leeuwenbek
English: Garden snapdragon, Snapdragon, Common snapdragon, Greater snapdragon, large snapdragon, dragon’s-mouth, great snapdragon
Estonian : Suur Lõvilõug, Lõvilõuad
Esperanto : Antirino Granda, Antirino Maja, Leonfaŭko Granda, anritino
Filipino: Snapdragon
Finnish : Iso Jalopeuran Kita, Leijonankita, isoleijonankita
French : Grand Muflier, Gueule-De-Lion, Gueule-De-Loup, Muflier, Muflier Des Jardins, Muflier à grandes fleurs, Muflier commun, muflier à grandes fleurs
Gaelic : Srubh Lao
Galician: Herba Becerra, Snapdragon
Georgian: Snapdragon
German : Garten-Löwenmaul, Garten- Löwenmäulchen, Grosses Löwenmaul, Grosses Löwenmäulchen, Löwenmaul, Großes Löwenmaul
Greek: Chaskousa, Skylaki (Σκυλάκι), antírrio (αντίρριο), antírrinon méga (αντίρρινον μέγα), skiláki (σκιλάκι)
Gujarati: Snēpaḍrēgana māṁ (સ્નેપડ્રેગનમાં)
Haitian Creole: Mufliye
Hausa: Snapdragon
Hebrew: לוע-ארי גדול, לוֹעַ הָאֲרִי, loa’=’ari gadol
Hindi: Ajagar ka chitr (अजगर का चित्र)
Hmong: Snapdragon
Hungarian: Kerti oroszlánszáj, tátika, oroszlánszáj
Icelandic: Snapdragon
Igbo: Snapdragon
Indonesian: Bunga Mulut Singa, Snapdragon
Irish: Snapdragon
Italian: Bocca Di Leone, Bocca Di Leone Commune, antirrino, capo di bue, copa di cane, muso di vitello
Japanese: Kingyosō (キンギョソウ), Sunappudoragon (スナップドラゴン)
Javanese: Snapdragon
Kannada: Snāpḍrāgan (ಸ್ನಾಪ್ಡ್ರಾಗನ್)
Kazakh: Snapdragon
Khmer: Snapdragon
Korean: Geum-eocho (금어초)
Lao: Snapdragon
Latin: Sesamum indicum
Latvian: Snapdragon
Lithuanian: Didysis žioveinis, Snapdragon
Macedonian: Kuchentse (кученце)
Malagasy: Snapdragon
Malay: Snapdragon
Malayalam: Snāpḍrāgaṇ (സ്നാപ്ഡ്രാഗൺ)
Maltese: Isnapdragon
Maori: Snapdragon
Marathi: Ughaḍajhāpa karaṇāryā phulān̄cē ēka phulajhāḍa (उघडझाप करणार्या फुलांचे एक फुलझाड)
Mongolian: Snapdragon
Myanmar: Snapdragon
Nepali:                 Snapdragon
Norwegian : Prydløvemunn, Snapdragon
Persian: گل میمون,
Polish : Lwia Paszcza, Wyżlin Większy, Wyżlin Większy, Wyzlin
Portuguese: Boca-de-leão, Snapdragon, bezerrinha, bocas-de-coelho, bocas-de-lobo, cabeça-de-bezerro, coelhinhos, erva-bezerra, erva-do-cão, erva-vedilhera, focinho-de-coelho, olho-de-gato, papões
Romanian: Gura-leului
Russian: l’vinyy zev (львиный зев), l’vinyy zev bol’shoy (львиный зев большой)
Serbian: Zevalica (Зевалица)
Sesotho: Snapdragon
Sinhala: Snapdragon
Slovak: Papuľka, papuľka väčšia, škľabinec väčši
Slovašcina : Odolin Veliki, Veliki Odolin, Zajčki
Slovencina : Papuľka Väčšia
Slovenian: Navadnega odolina, veliki odolin, zajčki
Somali: Snapdragon
Spanish : Boca De Dragon, Boca De Sapo, Conejitos, Dragón, Dragoncillo, Hierba Becerra, Morros De Lobo, Perritos, Bocas-de-lobo, Coelhinhos, Erva-bezerra, Papoes, Conejillos, abrebocas, antirrino, Becerra, boca de león, cabeza de ternera, calzones de cuquiello, claveles, conejitos muertos, flor de la mortaja, flor de sapo, flor del desengaño, gallitos, garganta de lobo, gatos, morros de lobo, morros de ternero, muerta galana, muerte de estpañol, muerte de italiano, muerte de portugués, pan y queso, perritos, pirigallo, pitos, san juanes, tarasca de jardín, zapaticos de la Virgen, zapaticos del Niño Jesús
Swahili: Snapdragon
Swedish : Lejongap
Tajik: Snapdragon
Tamil: Snap (ஸ்னாப்)
Telugu: Snāpḍrāgen (స్నాప్డ్రాగెన్)
Thai: Phụ̄ch mị̂ chnid h̄nụ̀ng (พืชไม้ชนิดหนึ่ง)
Turkish : Aslanağzı
Ukrainian: Rotyky sadovi (Ротики садові), levynyy ziv (левиний зів)
Urdu: سنیپ ڈریگن
Uzbek: Snapdragon
Vietnamese: Snapdragon
Welsh: Trwyn y llo, Snapdragon
Yiddish: Snapdragon (סנאַפּדראַגאָן)
Yoruba: Snapdragon
Zulu: Snapdragon
Plant Growth Habit Annual, erect, Fast growing, long lived, herbaceous perennial chamaephyte
Growing Climates Disturbed areas, woodlands, scrublands and on hard rock outcrops, Old walls, rocks and dry places
Soil Thrives best in well-drained, moist, organic-rich, slightly acid soil in full sun. They are intolerant of subzero freezing temperatures and overwatering
Plant Size Reach a height of  2-3  feet  (0.6-0.9  m)  in  containers  and  the  landscape. Some plants can attain a height of up to 6 feet  (1.8 m)  if planted in  the landscape
Leaf Spirally arranged, broadly lanceolate, 1–7 cm long and 2-2.5 cm broad. The upper glandular stalk is stalk-round, sometimes woody to the middle. The opposite leaves are simple, elliptic or ovate to broad-lanceolate, sometimes linear and usually bleak. Leaflets are missing
Flowering season July to September
Flower Zygomorphic, bisexual, produced in erect, 10–20 flowered terminal racemes, violet, red, pink, yellow, or white, 3.5–4.5 cm long with ovate bracts and on 2–5 mm pedicels.  Each flower has a calyx of five equal pubescent lobes
Fruit Shape & Size Ovoid capsule 10–14 mm diameter shaped like a skull, containing numerous small seeds
Propagation By seed or by cuttings
Plant Parts Used Leaves
Seed Small, 0.8–1.1 mm, oblong–ovoid, reticulate and black seeds
Season August to October
Health Benefits
  • Relieves Urinary Tract Infections
  • Alleviates Minor Burns
  • Detoxifies the Blood
  • Treats Boils and Abscesses
  • Purifies the Liver
  • Helps Reduce Fever
  • Avoids occurrence of skin infection
  • Good for treating mild burn injuries
  • Useful in treatment of hemorrhoids
Culinary Uses
  • Flowers have been reported to be used in a moderate way in salads or crystallized.
  • An oil that is inferior to olive oil is said to be obtained from the seeds.

Plant Description

Common Snapdragon is an annual, erect, fast growing, long lived, herbaceous perennial chamaephyte that normally reach a height of 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 m) in containers and the landscape. Some plants can attain a height of up to 6 feet (1.8 m) if planted in the landscape. The plant is found growing in disturbed areas, woodlands, scrub lands, on hard rock outcrops, old walls, rocks as well as dry places. The plant thrives best in well-drained, moist, organic-rich, slightly acid soil in full sun. They are intolerant of subzero freezing temperatures and over watering.


The leaves are spirally arranged, broadly lanceolate, 1–7 cm long and 2-2.5 cm broad. The upper glandular stalk is stalk-round, sometimes woody to the middle. The opposite leaves are simple, elliptic or ovate to broad-lanceolate, sometimes linear and usually bleak. Leaflets are missing.

Leaf arrangement Alternate
Leaf type Simple
Leaf margin Entire
Leaf shape Oblong; spatulate
Leaf venation None, or difficult to see
Leaf type and persistence Not applicable
Leaf blade length 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color Green
Fall color Not applicable
Fall characteristic Not applicable


Flowers are produced on a tall spike, each flower is 3.5-4.5 cm long, zygomorphic, with two ‘lips’ closing the corolla tube lobed divided into three parts and is purple red, almost 5 cm long. Wild plants have pink to purple flowers, often with yellow lips. Most 8 to 30 short stalked flowers are in an inflorescence together; the inflorescence axis is glandular hairy. The crown is 25 to 45 (rarely to 70) millimeters long and in different colors (red, pink, and orange, yellow, white). The “maw” of the crown is closed by protuberance of the lower lip, one speaks here of “masked”, and everted baggy at the bottom. There is a circle with four stamens. The plants are pollinated by bumblebees, and the flowers close over the insects when they enter and deposit pollen on their bodies. Calyx is up to 8 mm long, with sepals of equal length, oblong to broad.

Flower color Yellow; white; pink; orange; salmon; lavender; purple
Flower characteristic Showy


The ovary is supreme. The fruit is an ovoid capsule about 10–14 mm diameter shaped like a skull, containing numerous small seeds.  Seeds are 0.8–1.1 mm, oblong–ovoid, reticulate and black.

Fruit shape No fruit
Fruit length No fruit
Fruit cover No fruit
Fruit color Not applicable
Fruit characteristic Inconspicuous and not showy



There are five subspecies:

  • Antirrhinum majus subsp. majus. Southern France, northeast Spain.
  • Antirrhinum majus subsp. cirrhigerum (Ficalho) Franco. Southern Portugal, southwest Spain.
  • Antirrhinum majus subsp. linkianum (Boiss. & Reut.) Rothm. Western Portugal (endemic).
  • Antirrhinum majus subsp. litigiosum (Pau) Rothm. Southeastern Spain.
  • Antirrhinum majus subsp. tortuosum (Bosc) Rouy. Throughout the species’ range.

Health Benefits of Snapdragon Flowers

Antirrhinum majus (common snapdragon) is a species of flowering plant belonging to the genus Antirrhinum. It was used traditionally as a diuretic, for treatment of scurvy, liver disorders and tumors. The leaves and flowers were used asantiphlogistic, resolvent, stimulant and as poultices on tumors and ulcers. Antirrhinum majus contained amino acids, pigments,oils, anthocyanidins, flavonols, flavones, aurones, flavanones, cinnamic acids and many other compounds.(+) The recent studies showed that Antirrhinum majus possessed antimicrobial, insecticidal, cytotoxic, antioxidant, central and peripheral nervous system effects, and many other biological activities. This review highlights the chemical constituents and biological effects of Antirrhinum majus. (+)
 Snapdragon flowers carry rich medicinal value. It has its own share of value in the traditional medicinal method. The benefits of this flower are listed below:

1. Useful in treatment of hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids, generally known as piles are treatable using the snapdragon flower because of the latter’s herbal value. The Snapdragon flower reduces inflammation levels and promotes smooth blood circulation. The swollen blood vessels and painful areas in the anal region will be drastically decreased by this herb. (+)

2. Good for treating mild burn injuries

Snapdragon is quite popular for curing minor burn injuries. Poultice made from the snapdragon flower, when applied on the burn-affected areas of the body will give that soothing effect and relieves the skin from the burns. Snapdragon is also known to be very good at alleviating minor skin burns. The application of snapdragon decoction or poultice on the affected areas of the body helps provide relief from the throbbing pain that comes with burns. Needless to say, snapdragon is also good against sunburns.(+)

3. Avoids occurrence of skin infection

The poultice from snapdragon flower possesses astringent and anti-inflammatory properties wherein it can efficiently heal wounds and also decrease the inflammation caused by the wounds. This point clearly shows that skin-related infections are never given the space to enter the human body. (+)

4. Helps Reduce Fever

Another very popular use of snapdragon in traditional healing is for lowering the body temperature. Dried leaves and flowers of snapdragon are turned into decoction that a person with fever may take. Sometimes, the same decoction is recommended for those who are feeling weak because of its stimulating properties.

5.Relieves Urinary Tract Infections

Thanks to the mild diuretic properties of snapdragon, the herb is also sometimes used for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). It works by promoting urine production, thus flushing out bacteria in the urinary system before they have the chance to multiply and cause further damage.

6. Purifies the Liver

Aside from impurities in the blood, toxins that have collected in the liver may also be eliminated with special preparations out of snapdragon. It’s of utmost importance to keep ones liver in an excellent shape because the said organ carries out so many important roles, from neutralizing poisons to breaking down fat. (+)

7. Treats Boils and Abscesses

Traditional healers also rely on poultices out of the dried leaves and flowers of snapdragon in the management of boils and abscesses. Again, such is made possible by the herb’s impressive astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. With the help of snapdragon, it’s possible to ward off boil and abscess complications, some of which are serious. (+)

8. Detoxifies the Blood

When decoction out of snapdragon is consumed, urine production is increased. It’s exactly due to this reason why snapdragon is commonly used for the removal of waste products and poisonous substances that have gathered in the blood. Speaking of the blood, the diuretic properties of snapdragon helps lower blood pressure.

Snapdragon whole plant showed good antimicrobial activity. The haemolytic activity of plant against human blood erythrocytes (RBCs) revealed a minor cytotoxicity as compared to the positive control. In conclusion, Snapdragon whole plant can be considered a good source of natural antimicrobial source. (+)

Traditional uses and benefits of Common Snapdragon

  • Snapdragon leaves and flowers are anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic, bitter, resolvent and stimulant.
  • They have been used in poultices on tumors and ulcers and to treat different types of inflammations and hemorrhoids.
  • It is effective in the treatment of all kinds of inflammation and is also used on hemorrhoids.
  • The plant is harvested in the summer when in flower and is dried for later use.
  • In Europe the plant’s leaves and flowers have been gathered in summer and dried for alter use, to be used in poultices in the treatment of tumors, abscesses and sores.
  • This has also been used for piles and a decoction or infusion has been used to reduce fevers and inflammation.
  • In Asia the leaves and flowers have been used for pain relief and to reduce inflammation.
  • Poultices are used for burns, scalds, piles and skin eruptions.

Other Facts

  • Snapdragon is popularly planted as garden ornamental for mass display, borders, bedding, containers, pots and cut flowers.
    • Green dye is obtained from the flowers; it does not require a mordant.
    • Dark green and gold can also be obtained if a mordant is used.
    • In the language of flowers, Snapdragon flower symbolizes deceit.
    • In Asia, Snapdragon Flower is nicknamed as “rabbit’s lips” while in Holland the flower is called as “lion’s lips”.

Pests and Diseases

Antirrhinum majus may suffer from some pests and diseases.


Insects are the primary pests that affect A. majus.

  • Aphids: They target and consume the terminal growth and underside of leaves. Aphids consume the liquids in the plant and may cause a darkened or spotted appearance on the leaves.
  • Frankliniella occidentalis: These insects affect even strong growing and healthy Antirrhinum; they are commonly seen in newly opened flowers. They will cause small lesions in the shoots and flower buds of A. majus as well as remove pollen from the anther. This case is difficult to treat, but may be kept manageable with the predatory mite Neoseiulus.


Antirrhinum majus suffers mostly from fungal infections.

  • Anthracnose: Disease caused by fungi of the genus Colletotrichum. This disease targets the leaves and stem causing them a yellow with a brownish border to the infected spot. It is recommended to destroy infected plants and space existing ones farther apart.
  • Botrytis: Also known as Grey Mould, this infection occurs under the flower of A. majus. Botrytis causes wilting of the flower’s spikes and causes a light browning of the stem below the cluster of flowers. Botrytis causes quick and localized drying and browning in the flower, leaves, and shoots of A. majus. In warmer weather, Botrytis becomes more severe. Treatment of Botrytis involves cutting off the infected stock and clearing the surrounding area of A. majus from any of this debris.
  • Pythium: Wilting in the plant may be caused by a Pythium species fungal infection if the plant is receiving adequate water.
  • Rust: Another fungal disease that A. majus is susceptible to is rust. It can first be seen on the plant as light-green circles, on the stem or underside of its leaves that eventually turn brown and form pustules. Rust may cause A. majus to bloom prematurely, sprout smaller flowers, and begin decomposition earlier.
  • Stem rot: A fungal infection, it can be seen as a cottony growth on the stem, low, near the soil. If infected, it is suggested the plant be destroyed.






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