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Botanical: Ajuga chamaepitys (SCHREB.)
---Synonym---European Ground Pine.
Family: N.O. Lahiatae
---Habitat---It is a native of many parts of Europe, the Levant and North Africa, is common in sandy and chalky fields in Kent, Surrey and Essex, but otherwise is a scarce plant in England.
---Description---Both in foliage and blossom it is very unlike its near relative, the Common Bugle, forming a bushy, herbaceous plant, 3 to 6 inches high, the four-cornered stem, hairy and viscid, generally purplish red, being much branched and densely leafy. Except the lowermost leaves, which are lanceshaped and almost undivided, each leaf is divided almost to its base into three very long, narrow segments, and the leaves being so closely packed together, the general appearance is not altogether unlike the long, needle-like foliage of the pine, hence the plant has received a second name- Ground Pine. The flowers are placed singly in the axils of leaf-like bracts and have bright yellow corollas, the lower lip spotted with red. They are in bloom during May and June.
The whole plant is very hairy, with stiff hairs, which consist of a few long joints. It has a highly aromatic and turpentiny odour and taste.
---Uses---Ground Pine has stimulant, diuretic and emmenagogue action and is considered by herbalists to form a good remedy, combined with other suitable herbs, for gout and rheumatism and also to be useful in female disorders, an infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water being recommended, taken in tablespoonful doses, frequently repeated.
The herb was formerly regarded almost as a specific in gouty and rheumatic affections, the young tops, dried and reduced to powder being employed. It formed an ingredient of the once famous Portland Powder.
It likewise operates powerfully by urine, removing obstructions and is serviceable in dropsy, jaundice and ague, reputed great cures having been performed by its use, either in infusion, or powder.
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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.
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