Bugle

Bugle,Ajuga_reptans

Ajuga reptans-Bugle

Family: Lamiaceae or Labiatae

Other names: Carpenter’s Herb, Sicklewort, Middle Comfrey

Habitat: Most of Europe, including Britain, to S.W. Asia and N. Africa. Damp grassy fields and damp woods.

Bugle has a long history of use as a wound herb and, although little used today, it is still considered very useful in arresting hemorrhages and is also used in the treatment of coughs and spitting of blood in incipient consumption. The plant contains digitalis-like substances (these are commonly found in Digitalis species and are used in treating heart complaints) and is thought to possess heart tonic properties. It has also been considered good for the treatment of excessive alcohol intake. The whole plant is aromatic, astringent and bitter. The plant is usually applied externally. It is harvested as it comes into flower in late spring and dried for later use. It is also commonly used fresh in ointments and medicated oils. A homeopathic remedy is made from the whole plant. It is widely used in various preparations against throat irritations and especially in the treatment of mouth ulcers.

Bugle,Ajuga_reptansDescription of Bugle:

Ajuga reptans. Bugle is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in). 
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile. 
It is noted for attracting wildlife. 

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation of Bugle:

Prefers a humus-rich, moisture retentive soil and partial shade. Does well in marshy soil and in the spring meadow. Grows well in dry shade and is fairly drought tolerant once established, though it shows distress in severe drought. Plants do not always ripen their seeds in Britain, they spread freely by runners, however, and soon form an extensive patch in suitable conditions. A number of forms have been selected for their ornamental value, several of them are variegated and these are used especially as ground cover plants for dry shade. A purple-leafed form, ‘Atropurpurea’ does well in full sun so long as the soil is not dry. A good bee and butterfly plant.

Propagation of Bugle:

Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 10°c, though it can be erratic. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division of runners at almost any time of year. Very easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Culinary uses of Bugle:

Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: 

Young shoots – raw.

Ajuga_Reptans_botanicalMedicinal uses of Bugle:

aromatic, astringent and bitter

Part used:Whole plant in flower

Bugle has a long history of use as a wound herb and, although little used today, it is still considered very useful in arresting haemorrhages and is also used in the treatment of coughs and spitting of blood in incipient consumption.

Once called the ‘Carpenter’s herb’ for it’s use in staunching bleeding. Nicholas Culpeper in 1652 praised the herb when taken as a decoction of leaves & flowers as an internal wound healer. Mrs. Grieve, a herbalist in 1931 said it lowered the pulse rate & equalised the circulation.

Bugle contains digitalis-like substances (these are commonly found in Digitalis species and are used in treating heart complaints) and is thought to possess heart tonic properties. It has also been considered good for the treatment of excessive alcohol intake. The whole plant is aromatic, astringent and bitter. The plant is usually applied externally. It is harvested as it comes into flower in late spring and dried for later use. It is also commonly used fresh in ointments and medicated oils. A homeopathic remedy is made from the whole plant. It is widely used in various preparations against throat irritations and especially in the treatment of mouth ulcers.

Other uses of Bugle:

A good ground-cover for a position in semi-shade, forming a carpet and rooting as it spreads. Fairly fast growing but it does not always smother out weeds and can become bare at the centre if not growing in good conditions.

Esoteric uses of Bugle:

None known but if you use this plant for any purpose please do let us know.

The Chemistry:

New neo-clerodane diterpenes have been isolated from Ajuga reptans, and named ajugatansins, along with the previously reported ajugavensin A and ajugareptansone A. The structures of all the compounds were elucidated by spectroscopic means and comparison with closely related compounds reported in the literature. The new 6 alpha,19-diacetoxy-4 alpha,18-epoxy-1 beta-hydroxy-3 beta-(2-methyl-butanoyloxy)-neo-clerod-13-en-15,16-olide (ajugatansin A1) and 6 alpha,19-diacetoxy-4 alpha,18-epoxy-3 beta-hydroxy-12S-(2-methylbutanoyloxy)-neo-clerod-13-en-15,16-olide (ajugatansin B1) are structurally related to ajugarin I and (11S,13R,16S)-6 alpha, 19-diacetoxy-4 alpha,18:11,16:15,16-triepoxy-3 beta-(2-methylbutanoyloxy)-1 beta-[(E)-2-methyl-2-butenoyloxy]-neo-clerodan-2 beta-ol (ajugatansin D1) to dihydroclerodin.

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