Photos of Lycopus americanus, American Bugleweed

Lycopus americanus, American Bugleweed is perhaps the most widespread and common of the eastern North American species of Lycopus and is often difficult to differentiate from other species. Given their high variability and morphological separation on barely distinguishable details, I suspect much of what is offered as "Lycopus virginicus" is actually an aggregation of several species, and since Lycopus americanus is the most widespread and common, it is more often used than is known. At the time that Lycopus virginicus first entered the American materia medica lexicon, and well into the nineteenth century, some botanists considered Lycopus americanus conspecific with Lycopus europeus. Bugleweed has a long history of empirical use for a variety of conditions including treatment of heart palpitations, goitre, hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease. Science has confirmed the potential value of this plant in treating hyperthyroidism. Bugleweed extracts inhibit iodine metabolism and thyroxine release in the thyroid. Jim Duke reluctantly treated them in the aggregate.

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