Medicinal plants

Wolfstrapp (Lycopus europaeus) - application and effects

Wolfstrapp (Lycopus europaeus) - application and effects

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Wolfstrapp is a labiate and closely related to the dead nettle, which it also looks similar to. His German and Latin names indicate that the leaves are said to resemble wolf tracks. It is one of the few plants that affect human hormones and therefore helps against conditions that result from excessive levels of thyroid and sex hormones.


  • Scientific name: Lycopus europaeus
  • Common names: Embankment Wolfstrapp, wolf foot, wolf paw, embankment wolf foot, gypsy herb, wolf hoof, water buckthorn
  • Parts of plants used: Above-ground parts harvested shortly before flowering
  • application areas:
    • Hyperthyroidism
    • painful breast swelling in women
    • premenstrual syndrome

Ingredients - tannins and caffeic acid

Wolfstrapp contains tannins (which promote digestion and stimulate gastric juices) and flavonoids (luteolin-7-glucoside, luteolin-7-glucuronide, flavonoglycosides). There are also coumarins, triterpenes and essential oils, including bornylacetate, camphene, camphor, geraniol, limonene and linalool. There are also phenol carboxylic acids.

The main active ingredient are phenol carboxylic acids, i.e. the hydroxycinnamic acid and caffeic acid derivatives as well as lithospermic acid. First, they have an antigonadotropic effect (they inhibit the formation of prolactin) and, secondly, they have an antithyotropic effect, which means they interfere with the hormone balance.

Effects - thyroid hormones, sex hormones

Wolfsfuss was mentioned in the Middle Ages, but its most important medical effects were only discovered by modern science: It is one of the few medicinal plants that influence the hormonal balance of humans, namely the important sex hormones and the hormones of the thyroid gland.

Against breast swelling and Graves' disease

The effects of a slight overactive thyroid such as thyroid disease Graves' disease and chest swelling with pain and a feeling of tension (mastodynia) are confirmed.

Wolfstrapp in phytotherapy

In today's herbal medicine (phytotherapy), Wolfstrapp is a proven remedy for an overactive thyroid. An extract from the plant slows down the iodine supply to the thyroid gland and thus prevents thyroid hormones from being released. It counteracts the symptoms resulting from an increase in hormones.

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include

  • increased pulse and high blood pressure,
  • inner unrest,
  • Palpitations, palpitations,
  • Sleep problems,
  • weakened concentration,
  • Mood swings,
  • Drop in performance,
  • Tremble,
  • profuse sweating and rising body temperature,
  • Digestive problems,
  • Weight loss,
  • Menstrual disorders,
  • Hair loss and cracked nails
  • and warm moist skin.

New study evidence

A scientific study came to the conclusion that the intake of Wolfstrapp caused the substance T4 to increase significantly in the excreted urine and that the symptoms of an overactive thyroid decreased significantly afterwards (e.g. the heart rate in the morning).

Effect - menopause and premenstrual syndrome

Wolf's foot can also relieve pain and tension in the mammary gland (mastodynia) during menstruation. The "wolf hoof" inhibits the hormone prolactin, which stimulates the mammary glands of the female breast. This creates the positive effect on pain during the cycle caused by this stimulation of the mammary glands. It is suitable for use in premenstrual syndrome as well as during menopause.

Wolfstrapp in naturopathy

In naturopathy, more precisely in European folk medicine, tea made from the leaves was used as a cough suppressant (especially for chronic cough) and should help people fall asleep. The tea was considered a medicine against circulatory disorders. The dried or fresh herb should also help against restlessness, sleep disorders and sweating. These effects can largely be proven today, since they are symptoms of a disturbed thyroid.

Wolfstrapp - Indian medicine

The Sioux in the northern United States made intensive use of their close relatives Lycopus virginicus. This virgin wolf foot grows in America from Canada to Florida, now also in Asia, Australia and Europe. It populates the riparian zones of bodies of water, from standing water to rivers that flow slowly.

The American Natives made teas from the above-ground parts of the fresh plants and also used dried plants to treat lung diseases to stop bleeding wounds and as an expectorant for colds and weak hearts. A second American species, Lycopus americanus, works similarly to Lycopus europaeus and Lycopus virginicus.

Wolf's Foot - Traditional Chinese Medicine

The fourth species of the genus, Lycopus lucidus, grows in Asia. It has been the basis for medicines in Chinese medicine for many centuries, as a remedy for wound pain, incontinence and menstrual problems.

Why Wolfstrapp?

The German names Wolfstrapp (wolf track) or wolf foot as well as the Latin name Lycopus (lykos greek wolf, pous foot) are based on the shape of the leaves, which should remind of a wolf paw.

Wolfstrapp in homeopathy

From 1855, the Virginian Wolfstrapp was used in homeopathy, an esoteric salvation doctrine founded by the doctor Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), who speculated about illnesses as "mental upset of the vital force". The homeopaths Morrison, Chandler and Kopp introduced it as a homeopathic remedy.

The dose is five globules three times a day in a dilution of one in ten. According to the homeopath Assmann, this remedy is supposed to help against nervous heart diseases, overactive thyroid glands and symptoms during the menopause. Homeopathy is not phytotherapy, which is based on plant-based active ingredients, since the biochemical active ingredients are not or hardly available due to the dilution.

Contraindication - underactive thyroid

Treatment with Wolfstrapp must not be interrupted, otherwise the hormone level can get out of control. Contraindications are an underactive thyroid and a swollen thyroid. Under no circumstances should you use preparations made from Wolfstrapp, as these exacerbate the disease.

Risks - thyroid exam, pregnancy

Preparations with wolf's foot can falsify the results of thyroid examinations. Therefore, you must not use thyroid hormones (thyroxine) at the same time as Wolfstrapp, not even during lactation or pregnancy.

What is to be considered?

Treatments with wolf's foot should start insidiously and not end abruptly. Long-term high doses can cause the thyroid to enlarge. If a doctor examines the thyroid with the thyroid scintigram, it is imperative that you point out that you are taking Wolfstrapp.

Spreading and harvesting

The European wolf foot grows up to a meter high as a perennial in the temperate zones of Europe and Asia. He likes it humid and populates sparse forests, river banks, wet meadows and moats and swamps. It needs nutrient-rich soil and sun. The demands of the American species are similar. For medicines, cut off the flowering herb in high and late summer, tie it into small bunches and dry it in a shady place.

Home remedies - tea for the thyroid

If you suffer from a slight overactive thyroid, premenstrual or menopausal symptoms, you can use Wolfstrapp tea as a home remedy.

To do this, pour hot water on a teaspoon of the finely chopped dried herb. They let everything steep for ten minutes and then strain it. You drink one cup twice a day for several weeks. You shouldn't take more than two grams (two teaspoons) of the drug a day.

Tea blends with Wolfstrapp

The medical effects of wolf's foot are complemented by motherwort, valerian (soothes, reduces stress, helps you fall asleep), lavender (soothes, promotes blood flow) and lemon balm. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Beer, A-M. et al .: Influence of Wolfstrappkraut on the thyroid function and thyroid associated symptoms. In: Zeitschrift für Phytotherapie, Issue 4, Volume 29, pp. 162-168, 2008, thieme
  • Al Esmail Al-Snafi: A review on Lycopus europaeus: A potential medical plant. University of Thi-Qar. College of Medicine. July 2019, researchgate

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