The Lamiaceae or Dead-nettle family: part 2

Pretty Ground Ivy in Subfamily Nepetoideae


12) Teucrium or Germanders with 4 species, 13) Ajuga or Bugles with 3 species.

SUBFAMILY 4: NEPETOIDEAE (14-27) (Some genera are missing as these are non natives)

14) Nepeta cataria or Catmint (arch.), 15) Glechoma hederacea or Ground-ivy, 16) Prunella or Selfheals with 1 possibly 2 native., 19) Clinopodium or Calamints, 21) Origanum vulgare or Wild Marjoram, 22) Thymus or Thymes, 23) Lycopus europaeus or Gypsywort, 24) Mentha or Mints. This is a difficult taxa for classification due to widespread hybridisation (p. 629). But according to Stace; ‘with practice the scent of fresh plants is very helpful, but difficult to describe!’ Many are native but many will be introduced as escaped garden plants of course. 27) From this large genus, Salvia or Sage, only 2 are native: S. pratensis or Meadow Clary and S. verbenaca or Wild Clary.

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This week I cover genus 14-22:

12) Teucrium or Germanders: T. scorodonia or Wood Sage & Sage-leaved Germander.

A bitter plant which is a stimulant for appetite & digestion. Nervine (nerve tonic). Emmenagogue & diuretic, astringent & antiseptic. Wound herb. Febrifuge (Presence of essential oil, tannins, flavonoids & saponins).                         T. scordium or Water Germander.  Is a rare plant in the B.I.  Gentle aromatic bitter, beneficial for bronchiectasis. T. chamaedrys or Wall Germander. Attractive ornamental, evergreen edging plant. Aromatic bitter and diaphoretic. Antimicrobial for internal and external wounds use.

13) Ajuga or Bugles: Ajuga reptans or Bugle.

A ‘cure-all’ in the Middle Ages and now little used but may have cardiotonic properties? An important nectar source for several butterflies.

Action: Gentle Astringent, wound herb, anti-diarrhoeal, gargle for sore throats. Ajuga chamaepitys or Ground-pine & A. pyramidalis or Pyramidal Bugle were considered an emmenagogue, diuretic, relieving rheumatism & gout and for reducing cardiac oedema.

14) Nepeta cataria or Catmint

Culinary use: Rub on meat. Good Bee plant.

Action: Diaphoretic (Aromatic febrifuge). Spasmolytic. Mild sedative/stimulant (depending on quality, oil contend & dosage). Carminative. Antidiarrhoeal. Uses: Flatulent colic in children. Nervous dyspepsia. The common cold. Tension headache.

15) Glechoma hederacea or Ground-ivy,  Glechon is Greek for Mint or Thyme. Hederacea = Ivy-like (creeps along ground like ivy). An attractive plant which has many other common names. It also has an ornamentally used variegated form especially seen in hanging baskets, et.

Action: Anticatarrhel. Mild expectorant. Vulnerary.                                                           Uses: Chronic bronchial and nasopharyngeal catarrh. Bronchitis. May be helpful towards treatment of asthma. Tinnitus. Recuperation from gastritis. Combines with a great number of remedies in the effective treatment of coughs.

16) Prunella vulgaris or Self-heal

Attractive little plant, though the Medicinal Flora had little known uses for it, apart from the following: useful as a mouthwash or gargle for infections of throat and mouth. Haemostatic & antidiarrhoeal. Durraffourd considers it to have potential in the management of diabetes. It is also edible according to Wikipedia.

But a whole chapter has been covered in Hedgerow Medicine: ‘Self-heal has gained recent respect for its ant-viral qualities. Effective for feverish colds and flu, it has been proposed for treating herpes and AIDS, and is an underrated liver, gallbladder and thyroid remedy.’ (page 151). It also says: ‘A close up of the flowers of self-heal helps us see how it came by some of its old names and uses. In medieval Europe, how a plant looked, or God’s ‘signature’, indicated how it should be used medicinally. Face-on, the corolla of self-heal resembles an open mouth with swollen glands, which suggested its value for treatment of throat problems. In profile, there is a likeness to a bill-hook, giving a signature for treatment of cuts and wounds made by a sharp tool. Hence the old common names Sicklewort, Hook heal and Carpenter’s herb.’

19) Clinopodium or Calamints: Clinopodium vulgare or Wild Basil . Pretty, delicate flowering herb which is not much used medicinally today.

Action: Powerful antimicrobial, presumably on account of its volatile oil and is recommended, like Marjoram, for secondary amenorrhoea and was used as stomachic and emmenagogue.

21) Origanum vulgare or Wild Marjoram,

Action and uses: Expectorant, antiseptic and antispasmodic for heavy coughs, including whooping cough. An excellent stomachic for colic and for intestinal infections. May be taken as an infusion or tincture. Also very useful when added to hot baths.

22) Thymus or Thymes: There are perhaps more than 70 species in Europe, most of them from the Mediterranean. The best known Common or Garden Thyme is one of the most important culinary herbs and antiseptic remedies with extensive uses in resolving infections and inflammatory conditions of the respiratory and digestive tracts. The uses of the native Creeping Thymes are generally the same as Common Thyme. The character of the essential oil is a little different as are the bitters and flavones. The oil can be blended with a suitable fixed vegetable oil and massaged to relieve sciatic pain. The herb is applied to the breast in mastitis and may be taken internally for painful periods.

With my research on all these useful weeds I find interesting websites from all over the world.

Came across this lovely site called ‘the Transylvanian herb garden’, which helps social integration of disadvantaged people in rural areas through collection and processing of medicinal and aromatic plants.

Presentation of the project
Beginning with May 2015 Civitas Foundation for Civil Society launched the project titled – Social integration of disadvantaged people in rural areas through sustainable collection and processing of medicinal and aromatic plants. The project is supported by a grant from Switzerland through the Swiss contribution to the enlarged European Union.
The objective of the 30-month-project is to help the social integration of disadvantaged people living in rural areas through transferring knowledge regarding collection and processing medicinal and aromatic plants, as well as to strengthen the partnership between Romanian and Swiss ONGs (= Non Government Organisations).

Targets of the project are:
• creating ONG- and community networks in order to facilitate and this way socially integrate
• sharing experience and knowledge about wildcrafting and sustainable processing of wild medicinal and aromatic plants
• promoting local economic activities and durable development

See for more here:

Next week I’ll finish the last part on Lamiaceae in the British Isles. Thank you for reading!

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