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Herbal Medicine Materia Medica
Lycopus europaeus


Names: Sweet Bugle, Water Bugle, Gypsywort.

Habitat: Eastern USA- L. virginicus. Europe-L. europaeus.

Collection: It should be collected just before the buds open.

Part Used: Aerial parts.


  • Phenolic acid derivatives; caffeic, rosmarinic, chlorogenic and ellagic acids.
  • Pimaric acid methyl ester .
Actions: Diuretic, peripheral vasoconstrictor, astringent, nervine, anti-tussive.

Indications: Bugleweed is a specific for over-active thyroid glands, especially where the symptoms include tightness of breathing, palpitation and shaking. It may safely be used where palpitations occur that are of nervousorigin. Bugleweed will aid the weak heart where there is associated build-up of water in the body. As a sedative cough reliever it will ease irritating coughs, especially when they are of nervous origin.

King's Dispensatory: "Lycopus fills an important place in Eclectic therapeutics. Its action is chiefly exhibited on the vascular structures and the sympathetic nervous system. It is a certain sedative, mildnarcotic, subastringent and tonic. Its sedative action is most pronounced and most frequently indicated where the vascular action is tumultuous, the velocity of the pulse rapid, with evident want of cardiac power. It is for this purpose that it is principally employed in advanced stages of acute disease with great debility, and in chronic disease with frequent pulse. It improves the circulation and its good influence is extended to all the parts under the control of the vegetative system of nerves. As a sedative, Prof. Scudder classes it with aconite and veratrum. It acts somewhat like digitalis inreducing the velocity of the pulse, but is devoid of the dangerous effects resulting from the use of that drug, and hence has proved useful in some cardiac affection. It controls excessive vascular excitement, general irritability and diminishes exalted organic action. Upon the stomach its action is kindly, improving the appetite and serving as a mild gastric tonic. Normal secretion is established by it and blood-making and nutrition are improve.

Ellingwood describes its Specific Symptomology thus - "In diseases ofthe heart, either functional or organic, marked by irritability and irregularity of the organ, dyspnoea, feeling of oppression in the cardiac region, its administration is followed by gratifying results. Hypertrophy and dilatation have been known to undergo marked diminution in consequence of its administration. " Therapeutic uses - "It possesses tonic, sedative, astringent and narcotic properties and has been successfully used in incipient phthisis, haemoptysis, etc. It act like digitalis in reducing the velocity of the pulse, but has no cumulative effects. In pericarditis and endocarditis its sedativeaction lessens the frequency of the pulse, irritability and its attendant inflammation, in a manner equaled by no other remedy. Exopthalmic goitre. In diseases of the respiratory apparatus lycopus has been found to be very useful. Haemoptysis, associated with rapid and tumultuous heart's action, yields readily to its influence, as does hemorrhage from any part. Hale lauds lycopus highly for its efficiency when used in cases of incipient phthisis and in chronic inflammatory diseases of the lungs. by regulating the heart's action and equalizing the circulation in the lungs it mitigates or arrests the local inflammation.

Combinations: Bugleweed may be used with nervines such as Skullcap or Valerian.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. This shouldbe drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Lycopus


Wagner H Horhammer L Frank U

[Lithospermic acid, the antihormonally active principle of Lycopus europaeusL. and Symphytum officinale. 3. Ingredients of medicinal plants with hormonal and antihormonal-like effect]

Arzneimittelforschung (1970 May) 20(5):705-13

Winterhoff H Gumbinger HG Sourgens H

On the antigonadotropic activity of Lithospermum and Lycopus species and some of their phenolic constituents.

Planta Med (1988 Apr) 54(2):101-6

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 About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......moreDavid Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH
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