8 Impressive Benefits of Bugleweed

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Some of the most interesting health benefits of bugleweed include its ability to improve respiratory conditions, regulate sleep patterns, protect the heart, balance your hormonal levels, eliminate anxiety, speed healing, and increase overall health.

What is Bugleweed?

Native to Europe, bugleweed is one of the many common names of Ajuga reptans, a perennial flowering species that is commonly used for medicinal purposes. Every spring, the plant sends up a 3-6 inch stalk with bright purple flowers, one of the defining characteristics of the species. The leaves themselves, which are used along with the flowers for various health conditions, are quite broad and only grow to about 3 inches off the ground. The plant is actually known as an invasive species in North America, as it can quickly spread and provide ground cover for large areas. Some of the other common names of bugleweed include bugle and carpetweed.

Extracts can be taken from the leaves and flowers, and they possess a powerful mixture of organic compounds and volatile components, including phytochemicals, tannins, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. These unique constituents are found in many related species, such as mint and gypsywort. In fact, gypsywort and bugleweed are essentially interchangeable in many cultures, particularly in terms of their medicinal applications. Now, let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of bugleweed.

A close-up shot of bugleweed

Bugleweed is used to lower high levels of thyroid hormones. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Health Benefits of Bugleweed

Health benefits of bugleweed includes:

Respiratory Health

There are various anti-inflammatory compounds found in the extract of bugleweed, which is why this herb is commonly used to relieve respiratory distress, such as excessive coughing, shortness of breath, and sore throats. It can soothe the respiratory tracts and eliminate irritation, while also helping to expel phlegm and mucus, where bacteria and other pathogens can develop.

Sleep Disorders

As a soothing agent, bugleweed has long been used by people who suffer from sleeplessness or insomnia. If you regularly wake up throughout the night and struggle to get uninterrupted, restful sleep, then adding it to your herbal supplement schedule might be a good idea. It interacts with your hormones in the body, helping to balance your Circadian rhythms and promote healthy rest.


For those people who suffer from chronic stress and unexplained anxiety, the soothing effects of bugleweed can be very effective. This can also promote a healthier heart, as chronic stress can lead to heart palpitations and arrhythmias. Stress hormones in the body for extended periods of time can wreak havoc on the organ systems and metabolism, so bugleweed is often turned to as a general health booster for those suffering from chronic stress.

Hormonal Disorders

When it comes to the thyroid gland, there are few parts of the body that aren’t affected by its hormone distribution. Thyroid hormone itself is crucial to health, and hyper- and hypothyroidism are serious conditions that require diligent medical care. Research has shown that bugleweed has a powerful effect on thyroid levels and can help to prevent various hormonal disorders that can be so devastating to the body. It also helps to regulate estrogen levels in women, which protects women from cyclic breast pain.

Protect the Heart

By normalizing the heart rate and reducing blood pressure, bugleweed can protect against atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes, which are some of the primary killers around the world today.

Speed Healing

If you have suffered a small cut or abrasion, applying bugleweed extract topically can promote rapid healing. The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the compounds will promote cell growth, prevent infection, and reduce pain and inflammation all at the same time!

Overall Health

The antioxidant cocktail that is found in bugleweed extract mean that it can affect dozens of organ systems and have a powerful effect on countless health conditions. Phytochemical compounds eliminate the dangerous free radicals present in our body that cause cellular breakdown and death, as well as mutation. By adding a regular boost of antioxidants to your system, you promote overall health of your metabolism and organ systems.

A Final Word of Warning

There are clearly many benefits to taking bugleweed, but there are certain health risks as well. Primarily, if you are already on hormone-related medications, adding bugleweed to the mix can complicate treatment. Secondly, if you are undergoing chemotherapy, the constituents may react poorly with radioactive isotopes and induce illness. Finally, if you are already taking sedatives, this could be complicated by bugleweed’s sedative properties. As with any herbal substance, speaking to a medical professional is always recommended before adding it to your daily or weekly regimen.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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