Wood Betony Herbal

Wood Betony

Stachys officinalis

PART USED: Whole herb

PROPERTIES: Nervine, Alterative, Analgesic, Hemostatic, a mild Bitter, Tonic

SYSTEMS AFFECTED: Nervous, Digestive (liver)

POSSIBLE USES: headaches, stress, nervous tension, staunch a nosebleed, stimulate a sluggish liver


I find the history of herbs fascinating in that so many of them were used for centuries for the same things, with similar species being used in similar ways in different countries and in different cultures. Wood Betony—known in ancient times as Betony, was regarded as a panacea for all ills. Antonius Musa, physician to Emperor Augustus (63 BC to AD 14—the time of Christ) claimed that Betony would cure 47 different illnesses.

Betony has always been, and still is, considered a premier remedy for headaches and pain of any kind in the facial nerves. The plant has natural sedative (mild) properties, useful for relieving nervous tension and promoting sleep. Wood Betony seems to both calm the nerves and rebuild them, and is considered a remedy for poor memory. Improvement in memory would not be a sudden thing but would require time and faithfulness in its use to bring about this result.

Betony is mildly bitter and stimulates the digestive system and the liver, which results in an overall tonic effect upon the body. Whenever Betony is written about, there is always a caution against taking Betony when pregnant. No explanation is given but erring on the side of caution is always advised for pregnancy.

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