Alternate Title

  • Lycopus lucidus

Related Terms

  • Archangle, ashangee, bugle weed, green wolf’s foot, gypsy weed, gypsywort, hoarhound, Lamiaceae (family), lycopi herba, Lycopus americanus, Lycopus europaes, Lycopus lucidus, Lycopus virginicus, Paul’s betony, rough bugleweed, sweet bugle, Virginia water horehound, water bugle, water hoarhound, water horehound, wolfstrapp.
  • Note: This monograph does not include information on Ajuga reptans L., which is also called bugleweed in the scientific literature.

Background

  • Bugleweed was reportedly discovered on the banks of streams in the southeastern United States, but now grows throughout North America. Bugleweed has been used historically for an overactive thyroid, especially where symptoms include tightness of breath, palpitation (rapid and irregular heartbeat) and shaking.
  • Bugleweed has proposed astringent, blood sugar-lowering, mild narcotic, and mild sedative actions. Herbalists have traditionally used bugleweed to treat cough, mild heart conditions, bleeding in the lungs from tuberculosis, heavy menstruation, and to reduce fever and mucus production in the flu and colds. It has also has been used in combination with lemon balm for treating patients with Graves’ disease and other forms of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
  • Currently there is a lack of high-quality clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of bugleweed.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • Adults (18 years and older)

    • Historically, to treat snakebites, the root has been chewed, a portion swallowed, and the rest applied externally. Other doses that have been taken by mouth are: 0.2-2 grams of the aboveground plant parts daily; 10-30 drops of fluid extract daily; 1 ounce of dried herb in one pint of boiling water in “wineglassful doses;” 1-4 grains Lycopin (dry extract); and 1-2 grams of bugleweed in tea daily.
    • For bruising, bugleweed has been applied to the skin as a poultice of bugleweed leaves and other herbs.
  • Children (under 18 years old)

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose of bugleweed in children.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

  • Allergies

    • Avoid in individuals with known allergy or sensitivity to bugleweed, its components, or members of the Lamiaceae (mint) family.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • Bugleweed may cause thyroid enlargement during extended therapy or with large amounts; however, this is thought to be a rare side effect. The sudden discontinuation of bugleweed may result in a rapid increase in thyroid function and secretion of the hormone prolactin.
    • Bugleweed may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
    • Bugleweed may raise or lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that also affect blood pressure.
    • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery. Use with caution in patients taking sedatives.
    • Use with caution in patients taking hormonal agents.
    • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of scientific evidence.
    • Avoid in patients with thyroid enlargement, hypothyroidism, thyroid hypofunction, and during administration of other thyroid treatments.
    • Avoid in individuals with known allergy or sensitivity to bugleweed, its components, or members of the Lamiaceae (mint) family.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • Avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Interactions with Drugs

    • Bugleweed may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may change blood sugar levels. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
    • Bugleweed may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, sedatives, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
    • Bugleweed may raise or lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that also affect blood pressure.
    • Bugleweed may also interact with hormonal agents, including gonadotropic hormones and thyroid hormones.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • Bugleweed may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may change blood sugar levels. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
    • Bugleweed may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
    • Bugleweed may raise or lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that also affect blood pressure.
    • Bugleweed may also interact with herbs and supplements having hormonal effects, including gonadotropic effects, and may have additive effects when used with thyroid-suppressing herbs (balm leaf, wild thyme plant).

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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    View Abstract
  • Auf’mkolk M, Ingbar JC, Amir SM, et al. Inhibition by certain plant extracts of the binding and adenylate cyclase stimulatory effect of bovine thyrotropin in human thyroid membranes. Endocrinology 1984;115(2):527-534.
    View Abstract
  • Auf’mkolk M, Kohrle J, Gumbinger H, et al. Antihormonal effects of plant extracts: iodothyronine deiodinase of rat liver is inhibited by extracts and secondary metabolites of plants. Horm.Metab Res 1984;16(4):188-192.
    View Abstract
  • Bucar F and Kartnig T. Flavone Glucuronides of Lycopus virginicus. Planta Med 1995;61(4):378-380.
    View Abstract
  • [Complementary medicine. Calming lycopus]. Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 2004;93(51-52):2161.
    View Abstract
  • Hiller E, Girod E. [Experimental studies on the effect of concentrates of Lycopus europaeus on thyroid gland with special reference to the histology of iodine metabolism.] Arzneimittelforschung 1954;4(6):380-388.
    View Abstract
  • Hoerhammer L, Wagner H, Schilcher H. [On the knowledge of the constituents of Lycopus europaeus. 1. On the constituents of medicinal plants with hormone and antihormone-like action.] Arzneimittelforschung 1962;12:1-7.
    View Abstract
  • Hussein AA, Rodriguez B. Isopimarane diterpenoids from Lycopus europaeus. J Nat Prod 2000;63(3):419-421.
    View Abstract
  • Kartnig T, Buca F, Neuhold S. Flavonoids from the Aboveground Parts of Lycopus virginicus. Planta Med 1993;59(6):563-564.
    View Abstract
  • Kong LD, Cai Y, Huang WW, et al. Inhibition of xanthine oxidase by some Chinese medicinal plants used to treat gout. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;73(1-2):199-207.
    View Abstract
  • Rompel, A, Fischer, H, Meiwes, D, et al. Substrate specificity of catechol oxidase from Lycopus europaeus and characterization of the bioproducts of enzymic caffeic acid oxidation. FEBS Lett. 2-19-1999;445(1):103-110.
    View Abstract
  • Sourgens, H, Winterhoff, H, Gumbinger, HG, et al. Antihormonal effects of plant extracts. Planta Med 1982;45(6):78-86.
    View Abstract
  • Vonhoff, C, Baumgartner, A, Hegger, et al. Extract of Lycopus europaeus L. reduces cardiac signs of hyperthyroidism in rats. Life Sci 2-2-2006;78(10):1063-1070.
    View Abstract
  • Wagner, H, Horhammer, L, and Frank, U. [Lithospermic acid, the antihormonally active principle of Lycopus europaeus L. and Symphytum officinale. 3. Ingredients of medicinal plants with hormonal and antihormonal-like effect]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1970;20(5):705-713.
    View Abstract