Herb: Bugle

Latin name: Ajuga reptans

Family: Labiatae

Medicinal use of Bugle:

Bugle has a long history of use as a wound herb and, although little used today, it is still considered very useful in arresting haemorrhages and is also used in the treatment of coughs and spitting of blood in incipient consumption. The plant contains digitalis-like substances (these are commonly found in Digitalis species and are used in treating heart complaints) and is thought to possess heart tonic properties. It has also been considered good for the treatment of excessive alcohol intake. The whole plant is aromatic, astringent and bitter. The plant is usually applied externally. It is harvested as it comes into flower in late spring and dried for later use. It is also commonly used fresh in ointments and medicated oils. A homeopathic remedy is made from the whole plant. It is widely used in various preparations against throat irritations and especially in the treatment of mouth ulcers.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Damp grassy fields and damp woods.

Edible parts of Bugle:

Young shoots - raw.

Other uses of the herb:

A good ground-cover for a position in semi-shade, forming a carpet and rooting as it spreads. Fairly fast growing but it does not always smother out weeds and can become bare at the centre if not growing in good conditions.

Propagation of Bugle:

Seed - sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 4 weeks at 10C, though it can be erratic. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division of runners at almost any time of year. Very easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Cultivation of the herb:

Damp grassy fields and damp woods.

Known hazards of Ajuga reptans:

The plant is said to be a narctic hallucinogen that is known to have caused fatalities.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.