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Botanical Name

Lycopus virginicus, Lycopus spp.

Common Name

Bugleweed, carpenter’s herb, water bugle, water horehound, wolf herb


Lamiaceae (formerly Labiatae)

Parts Used

Leaf, flower

Native To

Various species of bugleweed are native to North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia

Harvesting Guidelines

Harvest the aerial parts when bugleweed is in flower. You can use bugleweed fresh, or choose to dry the herb by hanging small bundles or spreading on a drying sheet away from direct sunlight.


Bugleweed, also known as Lycopus lucidus, has a variety of medicinal properties. It is known for its ability to relax the respiratory system, making it helpful for those with chronic lung conditions like asthma. Additionally, it is considered a cardiac tonic, improving heart tone and circulation. In Chinese medicine, it is also used to reduce water retention and increase urine flow. Interestingly, the thyroid is associated with the Heart in Chinese medicine, so bugleweed's ability to improve circulation and relax the pulse may also have benefits for thyroid health. (1)

Bugleweed, also known as Lycopus, gets its name from the Greek words lukus and pous, meaning "wolf" and "foot," respectively. This is due to the shape of its leaves, which resemble a wolf's foot. The Cherokee people have a history of using bugleweed for snakebites. They would chew the root and apply it directly to the bite, while also swallowing a portion of it.(2)

Bugleweed is a medicinal herb that has been traditionally used to treat hyperthyroidism. It contains compounds that have antithyrotropic properties, meaning they can help regulate the thyroid gland and reduce symptoms of an overactive thyroid. Bugleweed is particularly effective in cases where hyperthyroidism is causing shortness of breath, palpitations, and shaking. It is a natural alternative to conventional medications and can be a useful addition to a holistic treatment plan.(3)

Although there have been no studies conducted on the effects of bugleweed on humans, the German E Commission has given its approval for the use of fresh or dried bugleweed in the treatment of mild hyperthyroidism.(4).


Adult Dose

Tea: 1 cup (1 tsp of dried herb in 8 fl oz water) 3x/day


Bugleweed, a herb commonly used for its medicinal properties, should be used with caution in individuals with hypothyroidism or an enlarged thyroid. Abruptly stopping the use of bugleweed can lead to an increase in hyperthyroid symptoms, so it is important to gradually reduce the dosage. It is not recommended to take bugleweed alongside iodine supplements or thyroid hormone medications. Additionally, bugleweed is not safe to use during lactation. As with any herb, taking higher dosages may result in headaches, so it is advisable to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase as needed.


Antiinflammatory,Antithyrotropic,Antitussive,Astringent,Bronchodilator,Cardiotonic,Digestive tonic,Diuretic,Expectorant,Hemostatic,Nervine,Sedative,Vasoconstrictive


Cooling, Drying



(1) Coffman, S. (2021). Herbal medic: A Green Beret’s guide to emergency medical preparedness and natural first aid. Storey Publishing.

(2) Hamel, P.B., & Chiltoskey, M.U. (1975). Cherokee plants and their uses: A 400 year history. Herald Publishing Co.

(3) Easley, T., & Horne, S. (2016). The modern herbal dispensary: A medicine-making guide. North Atlantic Books.

(4) Welch, K. (2008). Herbs for potential adjunct treatment of thyroid disease: A review of botanical preparations for hypo- and hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer. HerbalGram, Summer 2008(79), 52-65.

(5) Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman

Information offered on Achula and on this page is for educational purposes only. Achula makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed healthcare provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Achula neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.


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