BUGLEWEED, Lycopus virginicus


It seems that all you hear on the radio and see in the paper and on the TV is about health care reform. It shows two pain relievers for $15.00, one night’s stay in the hospital at $3,500 and a heart bypass at about $50,000. They talk about this nation’s cost of health care at so many billions of dollars that I can’t count that high. Most everyone you talk to tells about their operations and what their doctor says and what medicines they are talking.

On the other hand, I personally know many people who have not been to see doctor for ten or fifteen years or been in a hospital in over twenty years. Most of these people seem to be healthy and very happy, and they save a lot of time and money. Why not prevent sickness and save all the time and money?

Learning about herbs and using herbs is one way to take some responsibility for your own health and well being.
A few years ago I talked to a young mother named Julie Brown who had attended one of our lecture series I had given at library. She said before she learned about herbs, she used to have one of her four kids into the doctor’s office at least once a week. She said, “You can’t imagine how much time and money I was spending every year trying to keep my family well.” She said since she changed the family diet and got her garden going, she hadn’t seen a doctor in four years. Julie developed faith in herbs and faith in herself. You can too.

A little over a hundred years ago, lycopus or bugleweed was a very popular herb for the heart and was listed in the American Journal Pharmacopea. One of its main virtues was to calm a fast or racing pulse. It would also strengthen the pulse or beat of the heart. It was a mild sedative and an astringent that helped to stop internal bleeding. At the time, bugle-weed was a very popular herb for the heart. Then they found a little stronger herb named foxglove. Although it was poison, foxglove was a very strong stimulant for the heart. They made it into a drug called digitalis. After awhile people lost faith in the milder, safer bugleweed. They wanted a drug that would work fast.

Bugleweed is a member of the mint family. It has square stems and purple flowers that grow in whorls just above the upper leaves. The blossoms bloom from May until July. Bugleweed is a perennial that reach out and produce a rosette of new leaves to start a new plant. The lower leaves are spatulashaped while the upper leaves are more rounded or oval. The leaves grow in opposite pairs and at right angles to the lower ones. If felt unattended, bugleweed will form a mat or dense patch of plants.

Bugleweed grows on ditch banks, on damp meadows, open woodlands or in moist places. It is a good tonic for a weak heart, especially when there is a build up of water in the body, and in the lower extremities. Bugleweed is also effective in helping to establish the rhythm of an ailing heart. Because it has nervine qualities, it helps to calm and soothe the heart as well as the nerves that lead to the heart. Although the heartbeat slows down, the strength of the heart is increased. This saves many people from heart attacks.

In olden times, bugleweed was used to staunch external as well as internal bleeding, from hemorrhaging or from ulcers. Bugleweed will help hyperthyroidism or an enlarged thyroid gland. It is an astringent that will help hemorrhaging of the lungs. It will help nervous indigestion and increase the appetite. What a great herb, and it isn’t poison.

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