(Some Teucriums, among them Teucrium chamaedrys, contain hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. More info here: Livertoxic PAs --Henriette.)
The herb of Teucrium Marum, Linné.
COMMON NAMES AND SYNONYM: Cat thyme, Germander, Herb mastich, Syrian herb mastich; Herba mari veri.
Botanical Source.—This is a shrubby, much-branched plant, about 10 inches in height. Its oval or lance-ovate, petiolate leaves are about 1/3 inch in length, are whitish, woolly beneath, and have an entire, revolute margin. From the axils of the bracts, the single, rose-hued flowers project, forming a unilateral, spicate raceme. These flowers are of the characteristic kind distinguishing the genus, having a long lower lip, and a short, deeply-cleft upper lip, and from this division project the 4 stamens. It has a pungent, bitter taste, and a pronounced camphoraceous odor.
History and Chemical Composition.—Most of the species of the genus Teucrium are indigenous to Europe. All of them are bitter or bitterish, and have aromatic properties. The species under consideration, and those named below, owe their activities to tannin, a small amount of a bitter body, an essential oil, and a camphor-like body, volatile with boiling water.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—The many species of Teucrium possess stimulant and tonic properties in varying degrees. Besides these properties, the Teucrium Marum is credited with diuretic, diaphoretic, and emmenagogue qualities. It has been used in amenorrhoea, leucorrhoea, and chronic bronchitis, and with varying success in chlorosis, gout, dropsy, and scrofula. It is asserted to be of much value in whooping-cough, and, in powder, has been employed to cure nasal polypi. Dose of the powder, 20 to 40 grains, or the same quantity may be given in infusion.
Related Species.—Teucrium Scordium, Linné (Herba scordii), Water germander.—Europe. Flowers in whorls of 2 to 4, rose-colored. When fresh, it has a garlicky odor, and bitter, sharp taste. Formerly much employed internally in chronic eruptive skin diseases, simple and syphilitic, and in dyspeptic conditions; and internally and topically to pruritis ani and hemorrhoids. Regarding teucrin, a sterilized, aqueo-alcoholic extract of this plant, see Mosetig-Moorhof, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1893, p. 17 1, from Pharm. Centralhalle.
Teucrium Chamaedrys, Linné, Chamaedrys.— Europe. Flowers purple-red. Formerly employed in rheumatism, gout, and scrofula, and allied disorders, and in intermittent fever and uterine affections. It was a constituent of the famous gout remedy, Portland powder, composed of the leaves of Ajuga Chamaepitys, the leaves and tops of Erythraea Centaureum and Teucrium Chamaedrys, and the roots of Gentiana lutea and Aristolochia rotunda, all in equal parts.
Teucrium Polium, Linné, Polymountain.—Europe. Said to be of value in Asiatic cholera. Teucrium montanum, Linné, has yellow flowers.
Teucrium canadense, Linné , Germander, Wood sage.—Indigenous in damp places in the United States. Flowers in a spike, and purplish. Stimulant and tonic. "Thought to exert a beneficial influence in nervous affections, as hysteria, epilepsy, restlessness (nervousness), and inability to sleep"—(Spec. Med., p. 258).
Ajuga reptans, Linné, Bugle.—Europe. Blue flowers; bitter and feebly aromatic. Ajuga pyramidalis, Linné, Mountain bugle, has similar properties. Both have tonic and astringent properties. They were once employed in hemorrhagic conditions, consumption, and biliary disorders.
Ajuga Iva, Schreber (Teucrium Iva, Linné), French ground pine.—Resembles the next species, but has woolly, toothed, linear leaves, and red flowers. It has the odor of musk.
Ajuga Chamaepitys, Pursh (Nat. Ord.—Lamiaceae), Chamaepitys, Ground pine.—A labiate plant with an annual, diffused stem, with 3-cleft leaves, and solitary, axillary flowers, shorter than the leaves, having stamens longer than the upper leaf, surmounted by reniform, 1-celled anthers. This herb inhabits Europe and several sections of the United States, where it is also known by the names Bugle or Germander. The parts used are the leaves and tops, which have a slightly terebinthinate, not unpleasant smell, and a rough taste, which properties are imparted to diluted alcohol. An essential oil, somewhat terebinthinate, is furnished by distillation. The leaves of this plant are somewhat excitant, and exert an influence on the urinary organs. They have proved efficient in menstrual derangements and arthritic affections; and are said to be of service in dropsy, jaundice, strangury, and visceral obstructions. From 30 to 60 grains of the pulverized leaves may be administered every 2 or 3 hours; but their vinous tincture is preferred in doses of from 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.