Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Lycopus Virginicus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae

Synonyms: Water Bugle. Sweet Bugle. Virginian Water Horehound. Gipsyweed.
Part Used: Herb.
Habitat: An American plant. It is a very common weed in North America, growing in low, damp, shady ground and flowering from July to September.

Description: Though a Labiate, it does not actually belong to the same genus as the British Bugles, but has certain points in common. From the perennial, creeping root, the quadrangular, smooth stem rises to a height of from 6 to 24 inches, bearing pairs of opposite leaves on short stalks, those on the upper part being toothed and lance-shaped, the lower ones wedge-shaped and with entire margins. The leaves are destitute of hairs and gland-dotted beneath. The flowers are in clusters in the axils of the leaves; the calyx has four broad, blunt teeth and the corolla is four-lobed, purplish in colour, with only two fertile stamens.

Part Used: The whole herb is used. It is slightly aromatic, with a mint-like odour and is used, fresh, when in flower, for the preparation of a tincture and a fluid extract, until recent years official in the United States Pharmacopoeia. It is also used dried for making an infusion.

Constituents: It contains a peculiar bitter principle, insoluble in ether, another soluble in ether, the two forming more than 10 per cent of the whole solid extract, also tannin and a volatile oil.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Sedative, astringent and mildly narcotic. Used in coughs, bleeding from the lungs and consumption. The infusion made from 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses, frequently, the fluid extract in doses of 10 to 30 drops, and the dry extract, Lycopin, in doses of 1 to 4 grains.