Herb of the seven sangrias (Lithodora fruticosa)

You may know the Lithodora fruticosa by its common name of the herb of the seven sangrías, and it is a plant that, in addition to an ornamental function, has some properties that make it an herb used in the world of medicine.

A plant that you will find throughout Europe and some regions of Africa, of which we will tell you about its characteristics and everything you need to know below. It is a kind of subshrub that will not reach much more than a meter in height and presents its stems, which are shown upright and with a large number of branches, which form a kind of network containing its leaves and flowers..


At its bases and its oldest branches, it has a darker color and its bark is cracked by time. But in the youngest part, its branches will have a greyish color, which sometimes tends to be whitish.

The leaves are mostly linear, although they can sometimes approach elliptical in shape and can measure up to 24 x 23 millimeters. Their underside is white and they have, among other characteristics, hairs of different sizes and well-marked nerves that can be seen from their underside.

It has inflorescence with cymes that can reach up to eight millimeters in dense fructifications.  The flowers are the reason why this is considered as an ornamental plant. This has to do with the fact that it shows flowers with intense blue-violet petals, although on some occasions it can also appear reddish in color.

Its calyx is surpassed in its measure by the folious bracts, as well as it is usually shorter than the tube of its corolla, showing a hairiness on the external part of the lobes.

These can measure up to 15 millimeters in their normal length and the plant has a large quantity. These flowers can be seen for the first time during the months that start spring, when they will begin to show and mark a contrast of colors in the Mediterranean mountains, more precisely in the part that is oriented towards the sun.

But do not think that you will see many, since as we told you before, it is a plant that is usually found in solitary specimens and you will be lucky to find it in its habitat.

The fruits of this plant are called nacules, and they are usually one or a pair of seeds with an almost ovoid structure that can measure between 3.5 and 4.5 millimeters in length and between about 2 and 3.5 millimeters in length. width. They have a color that ranges from white to dark gray.

Habitat of the Lithodora fruticosa

This is a plant that you can find if you are at heights ranging from sea level to approximately 1700 meters above sea level. They are alluvial areas, precisely on the edge of rivers and other types of water currents, where they are at their maximum splendor.

It is one of the members of the xerophytic scrub, along with the kermes oak, the romerales, holm oaks and many others. But this is not the only type of habitat that resists, since it is also often seen in gypsum loams and even in gypsum.

Its degree of protection is not exactly the highest and this has to do among other things with the fact that the Lithodora fruticosa does not form large colonies, but on the contrary, different individuals are generally found in isolation.

This is one of the reasons why this plant is not part of the so -called low-protection species, although on certain occasions it is integrated into the floristic inventory of the habitat.

The place where undoubtedly the greatest protection of this type of plants is found is in the gardens where it is used in an ornamental way, due to its great beauty due to the vivid color of its flowers, something that is very taken into account by landscape designers and the world of gardening.


Although its true origin is unknown, it is known that the first signs of this plant are found in the South American Andes, more precisely in countries such as Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Although it is a plant from which precautions must be taken when transporting it, due to the presence of glycosides, at present it can be found in all parts of the world, but mainly in Europe, in the Southeast of France, Spain and in Northwest Africa, more precisely in Morocco and Algeria.

Within Spain, it is a species that can be seen frequently within the Southeast Regional Park, in the Community of Madrid, and in the El Regajal-Mar Nature Reserve, although you can also see it in different environments of the peninsula Iberian, always infrequent, but present.

Medical uses

This plant is well known not only for its ornamental characteristics, but it is even more popular for its medicinal properties. Its properties to treat conditions related to the circulatory system are what makes this one of the plants used in different types of therapies.

The first to give it a medicinal use that would transcend the generations of this plant were the Indians, who used it to treat certain conditions such as rheumatic pain, lower fever, for asthma, laryngitis, warts and other types of pain.

This has to do specifically with the fact that Lithodora fruticosa has antibiotic properties. With the passage of time, it has always been marked as a medicinal plant, giving it other names such as the herb of the seven sangrías, asperones, sangria plant, blood herb, among many other nominations, which have to do with its characteristics.

Among its most important properties, it has the power to rebuild the blood, which is why it is given great importance within the health environment for those people who have low levels of hemoglobin, as well as for people who suffer from Rubella or Lechina, who it is used topically.

This plant is known for antiseptic, disinfectant, anticatarrhal and febrifuge properties and its virtues make it one of the plants taken into account to lower blood.

It is known that its healing properties are also applied to combat certain types of diseases such as anemia, chicken pox and migraine and in these times it has also been used due to its antibiotic properties for the treatment of Chikungunya fever.

The virtues of this herb are best used by drinking them as an infusion and to prepare it we will only need a few grams per liter, bringing it to a boil and then filtering it, letting it rest until warm. This cooking has to be correct, so that the leaf does not release cyanide from its glycosides.

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