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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Abija, Abuga, Bugle, Bugleweed, Bugula, Carpenter's Herb, Middle Comfrey, Sicklewort
(Ajuga reptens)
Also: (A. australis, A. pyramidalis, A. remota, A. iva)
See also: Groundpine (A. chamaepitys)

Perennial member of the Labiatae family often used as a ground cover.

PROPAGATION: By seed (germination can be erratic) in fall or spring or by division (cuttings from end of runners).
NEEDS: Moist soil and part shade.
HARVEST: Whole plant in summer while in bud stage, or just beginning to bloom which is used fresh or dried for ointments and medicated oils as well as infusions, decoctions and other traditional preparations.
ORNAMENTAL VARIETIES: A.r. atropurpurea syn A.r. purpurea, A.r. Burgandyglow, A.r. Variegata


Bitter, astringent, aromatic, mildly laxative, mildly sedative, mild pain killer.
Infusions given for coughs, nervousness, headache, to lower pulse rate, to induce calm.
Used as a tonic to improve the tone of the gastrointestinal mucous membrane
Used for bleeding and disorders of the bile.
Infusion considered effective in arresting hemorrhages and used in cases of coughs associated with the spitting of blood (ie: TB).
Eases throat irritation.
Equalizes circulation.
Infusion applied as a wet dressing externally or else a poultice of the plant is used combined with slippery elm and cider vinegar for cuts, sores, abrasions, and swollen joints.
Used externally for bruises, wounds and tumors.
Leaves and flowers used in the bath for aching muscles and frayed nerves.
Decoction once used for "quinsy" (usually an abcessed condition associated with tonsils and throat).
Once used in decoction in wine for "inward bruises", "inward wounds", ulcers, sores, gabgrenes and fistulas.
In former times the leaves were bruised and applied or else the juice was used to wash wounds; leaves or juice were also made into a lotion by the addition of honey and gum for severe wounds or sores and was used internally and externally for broken bones and dislocated joints as well.
An old remedy was an ointment made with Ajuga, Scabious and Sanicle leaves which were bruised and boiled in hog lard until the herbs were dry. It was then strained and used for all manner of wounds, sores and body aches.
Once used to cure hangovers.
A. australis (Australia) used for wounds, boils and sores.
A. remota (Africa) used to treat high blood pressure; also contains compounds promising in cancer therapy and organic pest control.
A. iva (Mediterranean area) has antimalarial properties.

All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.
INFUSION = 1 oz. dried herb steeped in 1 pt. boiling water for 10 minutes; dosage is wineglassful (1/2 C.) 3 to 4 times daily.

Roots are used to produce a black dye.

A. pyramidalis (aka Erect Bugle) is a rare Highland species.
Was once an ingredient of "Traumatick Decoction" which was listed in the London Dispensary of 1694; it was recommended to be taken after being injured.
Was mentioned by Nicholas Culpeper who suggested "keep a syrup of it to take inwardly, an ointment and plaister of it to use outwardly".
Astrologically ruled by Venus.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH