Latin Name:

Ajuga reptans


Middle Confound, Middle Comfrey, Brown Bugle, Sicklewort, Herb-Carpenter, Ajuga


Bitter, Astringent, Aromatic, Anti-haemorragic, Narcotic, Vulnerary, 

Planetary association:


Parts Used:

all of it including the roots but most commonly the aerial parts


Easily confused for self-heal. In fact, that's what I did when I saw it, hence the plant study! It was the time of year which gave it away though. Bugle flowers from late spring to early summer and I found this in a very hot April weekend. It protrudes from the ground quite proudly jutting straight into the air. It does not grow very high often only 20cms at most. It spreads by creeping along the ground, though it does seed, these rarely reach maturity. Bugle has hairless, rounded leaves in comparison with self-heal (Prunella) and veined flowers too. 


Gangrene, Cuts, Wounds, Ulcers, Bruises, Hernias, Edema, Gallbladder congestion, Tuberculosis, Cough with blood, Erratic and heightened pulse, Consumption, 


Bugle was once thought to be the most popular vulnerary but it isn't one I learnt about at University. At least not to my recollection (and let's be honest, my recollection is poor at best). I've never spotted it before this year so perhaps it's rare. Only time will tell. Usually once you've spotted a plant and got to know it a little you start to see it everywhere! Let's hope so. 

As a vulnerary Bugle was used to help stop bleeding wounds and heal them too. Culpepper recommends using it as a salve around wounds along with Sanicle and Sabions. Sadly I couldn't get hold of these other ingredients so I made up my own salve recipe instead. You can get that here. 

As a balm it can also be used to help bruising heal faster. It has also been said to help bones mend but I would recommend taking it internally in a tea as well as applying the balm around the affected area so you get it from the inside and out. Further to this, never apply a balm on an open wound as this could introduce bacteria but you can apply it AROUND the wound and the body will take it where it needs to go. It could be used to heal ulcers and bed sores as well. I'd like to see it added into the diabetic ulceration treatment arsenal.

Culpepper also recommends keeping a syrup of Bugle. Presumably this was his favourite way of having the herb internally though he also mentions infusions. It was used internally to treat the lungs. To help them expel mucous but espeically to stop bleeding in the lungs. OF course, you should see a doctor if you're suffering with such a malady. But Culpepper came from a time where this wasn't always an option. He was dealing with consumption and syphilis. In current times we deal with coughs caused by viruses and asthma/hay fever which affects the lungs more than anything else. I'd imagine it could be used in a cough medicine blend quite happily. 

The taste of the infusion/tea is very nutritious and does not come through as bitter till it has infused for quite some time. That bitterness will increase bile flow and digestive processes. So it could be used to boost appetite in the same way bitter aperitifs were once consumed. However, it was used in the past to aid "gallbladder congestion". I wonder if this was similar to or included gallstones. Whenever trying to shit kidney or gall stones it's important to have their size assessed as it's possible to shift a stone and cause a blockage. You MUST break the stones down first before attempting to flush them from the system. 

Culpepper also mentions its use for calming people suffering with delusions, paranoia and nightmares. The delusions seem to be in reference to acute illnesses and I wonder if the paranoia and nightmares are too but as it is a narcotic and slows the pulse I assume it is a depressant to the central nervous system. 


My salve and syrup recipes are now available on payhip for a small fee. If you are a member of Listen you'll be getting the recipes in your next email. 

By Natasha Richardson