Wood betony (Stachys officinalis) is a plant that is native to Europe although it is now grown in various parts of the world. It is mainly found in open lands, grassland, woodlands and it is a perennial plant that belongs to the Mint or Lamiaceae family. It is the herb for indigestion as well as headaches and traditionally, it was grown in monasteries to be used as herbal medicine.
Many people currently will know doubt speak ignorance of such a plant. It is so unpopular comparing to peppermint or even spearmint, which are also of the Mint family. However, the herbal remedies remain the same and the stems, leaves and flowers may be used as herbal medicine.
The common names are Betony, Purple betony, Bishop's wort, Bishopwort, Lousewort and Stachys officinalis.
The medicinal properties are astringent, nervine, anticancer, aperient, aromatic, tonic, diuretic, stomachic and antiscorbutic and the constituents are caffeic acid, betaine, chlorogenic acid, tannins.
Every medicinal herb has a history behind it and wood betony is no different. It has a very rich history and many persons still hold to these beliefs with a passion. Oh well, beliefs also cure.
It is believed that it can be used to prevent evil spirits and there are those who are convinced that planting it in the church yards will aid in warding off duppies (ghosts). Duppy is a Jamaican term for ghost. This belief came about due to Antonia Musa, who was a Roman Physician. He claimed that it was good to use against sorcery.
The Anglo Saxon Herbal noted that betony can be used to prevent bad dreams, so it was recommended by a Welsh charm to drink the juice before retiring to bed at nights or simply hang the leaves around the neck.
One of its many uses is preservation of the liver. It is very effective for fever, pain, stress, anxiety, gingivitis, headache including migraine, varicose veins, mild heart conditions, pains in the face, stomach cramps, sweating, dropsy, colds, la grippe, worms, jaundice, indigestion, colic, sores, rheumatism, arthritis, menstrual conditions, gout, nervousness, coughs, wounds, delirium, snake bites, insect bites, dog bites, drunkenness, tuberculosis, inflammation, biliousness, neuralgia and heartburn.
It was reportedly said by Richard E. Banks that eating the powder will
prevent drunkenness. The persons who continue to indulge in excessive
drinking may very well find this medicinal herb very useful to them.
It may also be used as a gargle to alleviate gum inflammation and sore throat. A poultice may be used on cuts, wounds and bruises. The tea may also be used to wash cuts, wounds and bruises. An ointment which can be made from betony may also be used topically for all sores.
Infused betony with skullcap and calamus root by using one tablespoonful to one cup of water and consume one cup per day. Also, singularly, infuse one tablespoon in one cup of water for three hours.
Excessive use may cause diarrhea and pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use wood betony.