Bugleweed can be used to help support an overactive thyroid gland (e.g. Morbus Basedow) and associated symptoms, especially nervousness and heart palpitations. It can also be tried to help support mastodyrila (tension and pain in the breast).
Bugleweed Lycopos europaeus L.
Other Names: Gypsywort; water horehound; pied-de-loup (French); Gemeiner Wolfstrapp (German); marrubio d'acqua (Italian); manta de lobo (Spanish).
Description: Bugleweed is an erect perennial herb of about 0.5 m in height. It has square stems and opposite pairs of lance-shaped leaves with markedly toothed margins. The small, white or pink, two-lipped flowers are borne in multi-flowered, rounded clusters. L. virginicus is closely similar and can be used in the same way.
Origin: Europe and Asia (L. europaeus); naturalised in North America. L. virginicus is indigenous to North America. Both species are often found in or near water.
Parts Used: Dried aboveground parts (Lycopi herba) of flowering plants.
Active Ingredients: Various phenolic acids (derivatives of hydroxycinnamic acid; caffeic, lithospermic acid and rosmarinic acid) are present. The herb also contains flavonoids (luteolin-7-glucoside and others), tannins, various di- and triterpenes and small amounts of essential oil (bornylacetate, camphene, p-cymol).
Health Effects: Depsides of hydro-xycinnamic acids appear to be responsible for the observed activities. Experiments have shown antigonadotropic and antithyrotropic activities. It lowers the level of prolactin in blood serum. If product use is abruptly discontinued, prolactin secretion may increase.
Status: Traditional health; Comm. E+; clinical studies+.
Preparation and Dosage: A daily dose of 1 - 2 g of the dried herb is taken three times a day as an infusion. Alternatively, liquid extracts may be taken in doses of 5 - 10 drops three times daily. Extracts are included in commercial preparations. Each person has a unique optimum level of thyroid hormones, so that the dose should be adapted to individual needs.
Opinion varies as to the value of bugleweed. Compare the old saw that promises, "He that has bugle and sanicle thumbs his nose at the surgeon," with the view of a modern French herbalist that this is the "most resolutely [medicinally] inactive of plants."
It is generally agreed, however, that bugleweed is more than just a pretty flower. As another of its names, carpenter's herb, suggests, it does have some ability to help fight bleeding and to mend cuts, as do all plants that contain tannin. Bugleweed has also been given to stop lung and other internal hemorrhaging, and herbalists have recommended it for coughs, skin irritations, joint pain, and liver disorders, and to help avoid hallucination after excessive alcohol consumption. Some herbalists believe that bugleweed is mildly narcotic and sedative and may slow the heart rate in the way that digitalis does. Bugleweed's properties other than wound repairing have never been thoroughly researched, however. Bugleweed's species name, reptans, refers to the reptilelike creeping of the plant's runners.
Bugleweed's use in folk approaches for helping support external wounds is probably valid, because the plant contains tannin, an astringent substance that helps to help support bleeding.
General Herb Information
Habitat: Roadsides, fields, lawns.
Range: Introduced from Europe, bugleweed has escaped cultivation and now grows wild from Newfoundland south to Pennsylvania and Ohio, and occasionally west of the Cascade Range.
Identification: A perennial herb growing up to 12 inches tall. Its creeping runners produce rosettes of leaves; the whole structure forms a carpetlike mat. The lower leaves are spatula-shaped and often have wavy edges, while the upper leaves are toothed and elliptical or oval. Small blue to purple flowers (May-July), 1/2 inch across, are borne in dense terminal spikes.
Uses: Many gardeners cultivate bugleweed as a ground cover and in rock gardens. The plant can also be used as a black dye for wool.
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Take 1 capsule, 3 times daily, with meals.
Not recommended if you are pregnant or lactating.
High doses and continued use of the herb over long periods may lead to an enlargement of the thyroid. The herb should not be administered to people who are already under treatment with other thyroid preparations or people with thyroid insufficiency. Diagnostic procedures that make use of radioactive isotopes are disrupted by bugleweed therapy.
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