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Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus),from the mint family, is a native of North America. It is closely related to the European herb called gypsywort or gypsyweed (L. europaeus).For medicinal purposes, these two plants are often used interchangeably. The leaves of bugleweed are long and thin and grow in pairs from the stem. Small whitish flowers grow around the stem at the base of each pair of leaves.
The juice of bugleweed can be used as a fabric dye, and it was reportedly used by gypsies to darken their skin, which may be the origin of the common names applied to the European species of Lycopus. Bugleweed also has a long-standing reputation as a medicinal plant. Herbalists have traditionally used bugleweed as a sedative, to treat mild heart conditions, and to reduce fever and mucus production in flus and colds. More recently, bugleweed has been suggested as a treatment for hyperthyroidism and mastodynia (breast pain).
The dosage of bugleweed must be adjusted by measuring thyroid hormone levels.