wood_betony

Wood Betony: is a cerebral tonic that is useful for any problem to do with the head, from headaches and forgetfulness to anxiety and sleeplessness due to nervous tension - wood betony tones and strengthens the nervous system ...

Common Names: Betony, Purple betony, Bishopswort

Botanical Name: Stachys officinalis, Stachys betonica

Family: Lamiaceae

Plant Type: Hardy perennial

Parts Used: Leaves and flowers

Flowering: July to September

Wood betony is found in dry grassland, meadows and open woods in most of Europe, western Asia and North Africa. In the British Isles it is common in England and Wales, but rare in Ireland and northern Scotland.

Description: Wood betony or Bishop's wort, is a perennial grassland herb growing to 70cm tall. Its leaves are stalked on upright stems, narrowly oval, with a heart-shaped base, with a somewhat wrinkled texture and toothed margins. The calyx is 5-7mm long, with 5 teeth, edged with bristles. The corolla 1-1.5cm long. Its upper lip flat, almost straight when seen from the side. The anthers stick straight out. It flowers in midsummer from July to September.

Cultivation: Betony grows in average, well-drained soil with a pH of 4.0 It prefers full sun to part shade.

Harvesting: Collect aerial parts during flowering.

Culinary Uses: Betony makes a good substitute for black tea.

Wood Betony Magick

Protection. Purification. Love.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Jupiter

Element: Fire

 Betony is protective and purifying.

Burn it on your Midsummer bonfire.

Grow it in your garden to protect your home.

Herbal Healing with Wood Betony

Medicinal Actions: Astringent, nerve tonic, sedative, vulnerary

Medicinal Uses: Betony is nervous-system tonic, and useful for any problem that has to do with the head, from headaches and forgetfulness to anxiety and sleeplessness due to nervous tension. It is gently sedative, but strengthening as well. Betony works best when taken over time as opposed to a first-aid remedy. For headaches and migraines, combine betony with rosemary (Rosmarinus) and verbena. For anxiety, depression due to nervous exhaustion, and in convalescence after an illness, combine betony with skullcap (Scutellaria), oats (Avena) or St. John's wort (Hypericum). Use it as a gargle for sore throats, or drink it to treat nervous headaches and diarrhea.

Body Care with Wood Betony

  • To relieve a sore throat, gargle with 1/2 cup double-strength wood betony infusion three times daily.
  • To provoke strong sneezing to relieve sinus headaches and treat nasal congestion, inhale a pinch of dried wood betony as a herbal snuff

Infusion: 2 teaspoons wood betony's dried aerial parts in 1 cup just-boiled water.

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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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