Scientific name: Stachys officinalis, Betonica officinalis
Common names: Bishop’s Wort, Lousewort, Purple Betony
Chinese names: Yao shui su
Arabic names: البطنج (al batnaj)
Rain Forest names:
Family: Scrophulariaceae (figwort)
Approximate number of species known:
Common parts used: Leaf, flowers
Collection: When flowers are in bloom
Height: Up to 70cm
Actions: Anodyne, Aperient, aphrodisiac, Aromatic, bitter, blood tonic, cardiac emmenagoguw, nervine, sedative, stomachic, vulnerary
Known Constituents: Alkaloids including betonicine, stachydrene, trigonelline, betaine, betulinic-acid, caffeic-acid, chlorogenic-acid, harpagide, rosmarinic-acid, and tanni
Native to Europe, west Asia and North Africa, and is common in England and Wales.
It tends to have 5 erect stems without branches, has leaves that grow on the end of the stalk that are narrow and oval.
The leaf is wrinkled
Calyx is 5-7mm long with 5 bristles like teeth.
Corolla is 1-1.5cm long.
Leaves are alternate (picture), mainly basal and 3-5 inches long and wrinkled with teeth down it’s margins. The base is heart shaped.
Flowers are yellow, red or a combination of the two.
The name comes from a Celtic word “bewton” which means “good for the head.”
Usually grows in open areas such as woods and roadsides. It grows best in moist, well drained soil in partially shaded, or sunny areas.
Despite once being used by the Native Americans for it’s aphrodisiac qualities it received popularity because of its effect on headaches.
Betony has also been used in cases of irritability, anxiety, nerves, and dizziness.
It has been used for the stomach, headache, pains in the head and face, cramping, convulsions, gout and colic(1).
It has also been used for gallstones, heartburn, high blood pressure, neuralgia and to prevent sweating.
It was once used for dog and snake bites and for alcohol intoxication, and planted in churchyards as a ghost-repellent.
Externally it has been used for cuts and sores.
Other names: bishopswort, lousewort
Latin name: Stachys Betonica
Common part used: herb
This plant is a native species of Europe: it is widely distributed all throughout the European territories, especially in the meadows. As for the other parts of the world, in temperate regions the plant is widely cultivated in gardens.
It is a perennial herb with a square stem. The plants have rosettes of leaves, covered with little hairs. The root of the plant is thick and woody.
It can grow up to ninety centimeters high and has spikes of purple and pinkish flowers. The calyx of each flower has five sharp sepals, and the corolla has two lips, arranged to make it easy for bees to visit the flower. The flowers also have four stamens, which are divided into two pairs. The flowers bloom during the summer months..
There was a time when betony was considered the main remedy for all the aches and illnesses of the head. And even now its characteristics of a tonic and nervine are still in demand. But usually the plant is utilized along with the other nervines.
Betony is really good as a headache remedy. It can be even dried and smoked as a tobacco, and still give relief for headache. It is highly recommended if a person suffers from nervous stress and anxiety attacks. Infusion of this plant can be consumed every day as a tonic for relaxation. It is especially recommended for women’s health and for improving bad memory.
It also can be drunk as a tea, and the slightly bitter taste of it will stimulate all the organs of digestion, as well as the liver. The plant is effective for bladder and kidney problems, asthma, bronchitis and even for cleaning the organism of worms.
The leaves can be used as an antiseptic, though for that purpose they should be cut and boiled. The Extract is good for healing skin ulcers, wounds, scratches, swellings, cuts and bruisers.