Botanical: Lycopus europaeus
Family: Labiatae/Lamiaceae (mint)
Other common names: Water Bugle, Gypsy Weed, Sweet Bugle, Virginia Water Horehound, Water Horehound, Gypsywort, Virginia Bugleweed
Modern herbalists use Bugleweed to treat hyperthyroidism and to regulate an overactive thyroid gland. It is also used to tone the heart and stabilize rapid or irregular heartbeat, relieving nervous palpitations and strengthening the heartbeat.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Bugleweed is a very common weed that is native to North America and is also found in Europe. From its perennial, creeping root, a smooth stem with lance-shaped leaves on short stalks rises to a height of two feet and bears clustered purple flowers. Both American Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus/Lycopus americanus) and its European cousin (Lycopus europaeus) grow in very wet areas and are used interchangeably. The plant thrives in low, damp ground in moist-to-wet soil in sun or partial shade and flowers from July to September. Oddly, the herb's historical medicinal applications do not match its current use in today's herbal medicine. Bugleweed was officially listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia in the late nineteenth century as an effective anti-hemorrhagic and sedative, but modern herbalists regard it as a "specific" for an over-active thyroid gland and nervous heart palpitations. It is considered a bitter, faintly aromatic herb, and its aerial parts (above ground) are used in herbal medicine. Some of the constituents in Bugleweed include a bitter principle, lycopine, tannins, resin, essential oil, as well as caffeic-, chlorogenic-, ellagic-, rosmarinic-, lithospermic- and other acids.
Bugleweed is mainly used today to treat hyperthyroidism. The lithospermic and other organic acids are believed to be responsible for the herb's ability to decrease levels of several thyroid-stimulating hormones, notably thyroxine, that act to inhibit the binding of antibodies to the thyroid gland - the antibodies that are said to cause Graves' disease. It is thought to be particularly helpful in treating Graves' disease when there is cardiac involvement, especially where there are symptoms of a racing heart, shaking and tightness of breathing.
Bugleweed is said to tone the heart and stabilize rapid or irregular heartbeat with an effect similar to, but less powerful than, digitalis. It is believed to increase myocardial contraction, strengthen the heartbeat, lower the heart rate and ease nervous tachycardia and palpitations.
As an herbal astringent, Bugleweed was used historically (and is still thought) to help control internal bleeding, including excessive menstrual bleeding, bleeding hemorrhoids and bleeding from the lungs and bowel. Those same properties are also thought to help relieve diarrhea.
Pregnant and nursing women should not use Bugleweed Herbal Supplement, nor should those who have hypothyroidism. It is recommended that Bugleweed be used for specific conditions only in consultation with a health care practitioner. Bugleweed may interfere with blood glucose medication and may cause hypoglycemia. Bugleweed should not be used in conjunction with other prescription medications without first consulting a physician.