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The bright blue flowered carpet bugle (ajuga reptans) is another nonnative, edible and medicinal mint that can be found around Ontario.
Carpet bugle (ajuga reptans) isn’t listed in Haliburton Flora. There are similar named plants: carpetweed, multiple bugleweeds, etc. It’s another nonnative mint that has since spread here. The first time I saw it, I didn’t know what catnip looked like and had wondered if it were that. But this mint grows low to the ground and has blue flowers, whereas catnip is almost shrubby and has whiteish flowers.
Edible Uses of Carpet Bugle
Another mint, though perhaps less desirable than most mints we’ve covered, the young leaves and shoots are edible raw or cooked.
Medicinal Uses of Carpet Bugle
Carpet Bugle is primarily said to support these body systems:
Medicinal tags include Astringent, Sedative and Styptic. See Medicinal tag key for more information.
Common usage includes its use on wounds to stem bleeding and promote healing, hence the folk name “carpenter’s herb” and “middle comfrey”. In Austrian herbal medicine it is used for respiratory support, but note for internal use that bugle may have drug interactions with heart and diabetes medications (and more potential complications, see Warnings below).
Growing Ajuga Reptans
The thing to know about mints here, especially if they are not native, is that they tend to aggressively spread in yards and gardens. There are so many invasive groundcovers that started as landscaping trends and took over neighborhoods. Some of them, including bugle, have nectar some of our local insects will use. But it’s not much of a food source for native wildlife here. In the UK where its from, it is an important species in purple moor grass and rush pastures.
Native violets could fill a similar esthetic and fritillary butterflies will use them as host plants. For that electric blue, great blue lobelia is a wonderful native. There are many native groundcover options.
If you grow mints in your herbal garden, it’s a good idea to use a container.
It’s mildly narcotic and may slow heart the way digitalis does, and there are possible drug interactions.
And the Usual Cautions:
1) Most medicinal herbs, if edible, are meant to be eaten in moderation, even sparingly. Some require extra preparation.
2) People can be allergic or sensitive to nearly any plant; try new herbs one at a time at your own risk.
3) For medicinal use, I must recommend receiving a diagnosis and working with a reputed health care provider. I generally do not post specific treatments and dosages because I think that is best between you and your health care provider, and ideally monitored.
4) Anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding new food items to their diet.
5) Many plants have look-a-likes, and sometimes they are poisonous.
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