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Herb Gallery

Ze Lan (Lycopus lucidus)

  • Botanical name: Lycopus lucidus
  • Common name: Lycopos, Bugleweed
  • Literal name translation: marsh orchid
  • Family: Labiatae, mint family
  • Part used in Chinese medicine: aerial parts
  • Major Chinese medicine actions:
  • Gently invigorates blood, dispels stasis, promotes urination
Lycopus lucidus
Lycopus lucidus

Photo Credits: (top to bottom)
Photo 1: Lycopus lucidus; 06/2008; author C. Micleu; permission Jade Institute
Photo 2: Lycopus lucidus; 06/2008; author C. Micleu; permission Jade Institute

Growing and Propagation

The plant grows best in full sun or part shade, and requires wet or moist soil. It blooms July to September. Seeds ripen from August to November and can be sown in spring or autumn in a cold frame. When large enough they should be potted and grown in a greenhouse for the first year until planting them in the garden in early summer. They may also be propagated by division, planting larger clumps directly into the garden, and growing smaller clumps in a greenhouse until well established, then planting them outside in the spring.

Harvesting and Preparation

For medicinal use, good quality Ze Lan has many leaves and flowers that are undamaged. Leaf material is yellowish green.


Lycopus lucidus is often known as bugleweed and is found growing in bog gardens and damp areas such as the edge of streams. It is native to China, Korea and Japan.