Gipsyweed, Common

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Gipsyweed, Common

Botanical Name: Lycopus Europaeus
Family: N.O. Labiatae

Synonyms: Water Horehound. Gipsy-wort. Egyptian's Herb.
Part Used: Herb.

Common Gipsyweed (Lycopus Europaeus), frequent throughout Europe, yields a black dye, stated to give a permanent colour to wool and silk. As its name implies, it was formerly used by gipsies to stain their skins darker. It is common by the banks of streams, flowers from July to September, and is an erect plant with scarcely branched stems, about 2 feet high, with deeply-cut, pointed leaves and small, pale flesh-coloured flowers, growing in crowded whorls in the axils of the upper leaves.

Anne Pratt says it received its old name of Egyptian's Herb 'because of the rogues and runnegates which call themselves Egyptians, and doe colour themselves black with this herbe.'

Medicinal Action and Uses: Astringent, sedative.