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Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies): The modern applications of bugleweed, unlike most other medicinal plants, do not match its traditional use. Historically, bugleweed and related species were used to treat coughs and as a sedative. Today, the main use of this herb is for treating mild hyperthyroidism. (Potter)
It is indeed distinctly soothing, but acts upon the nervous peripheries and not upon the brain. Over-sensitiveness and irritability are relieved by it; but no stupor or sedation is induced. It relaxes the capillaries at the same time that it soothes arterial excitement; and thus slowly diverts the circulation outwardly, and relieves a too frequent and hard pulse, and lessens labored efforts of the heart. It lowers the pulse without producing any bad effects, or accumulating in the system. Its influence on the pulse is not suited to febrile conditions; but rather to those forms of excitement connected with cardiac and nervous irritability, rheumatic and gouty taints, etc. (7)
"L. virginicus was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia in the late 19th century as an effective anti-haemorrhagic. L. europaeus [gipsywort] and L. americanus [water horehound] are regarded as very similar in effects to L. virginicus and are often substituted. L. lucidus has been used for over 2,000 years in Chinese medicine for menstrual pain, painful injuries, and incontinence. Lycopus is a bitter, faintly aromatic herb that controls bleeding, suppresses cough, and lowers blood sugar levels. It slows and strenghtens heart contractions and inhibits thyroid-stimulating hormones." [Bown]