Gypsywort - Lycopus europaeus Gypsywort - Lycopus europaeus

Herb: Gypsywort

Latin name: Lycopus europaeus

Family: Labiatae

Medicinal use of Gypsywort:

The fresh or dried flowering herb is astringent and sedative. It inhibits iodine conversion in the thyroid gland and is used in the treatment of hyperthyroidism and related disorders. The whole plant is used as an astringent, hypoglycaemic, mild narcotic and mild sedative. It also slows and strengthens heart contractions. The plant has been shown to be of value in the treatment of hyperthyroidism, it is also used in the treatment of coughs, bleeding from the lungs and consumption, excessive menstruation etc. The leaves are applied as a poultice to cleanse foul wounds. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women or patients with hypothyroidism. The plant is harvested as flowering begins and can be use fresh or dried, in an infusion or as a tincture.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

By rivers, streams and ditches, also in marshes and fens.

Edible parts of Gypsywort:

Root - raw or cooked. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails.

Other uses of the herb:

A black dye is obtained from the plant. It is said to give a permanent colour and was also used by gypsies in order to darken the skin.

Propagation of Gypsywort:

Seed - sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

By rivers, streams and ditches, also in marshes and fens.

Known hazards of Lycopus europaeus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.