In herbal medicine we use the leaves of Wood Betony, a long lived herb that grows widely in temperate woods and thickets. Betony medicine has an intriguing taste, not especially strong or bitter but rather warm, lingering and multi-faceted. The name Betony comes from the primitive Celtic where Bew meant head and ton meant good; (it being good for complaints in the head).
Not just singular in its effects either, there is another Spanish saying that goes ‘he has as many virtues as Betony’; this was understood to be a herb with widespread benefits. Betony was highly rated and frequently used for such diverse complaints as low spirits, poor liver function, urinary tract problems, headaches, circulation weakness, joint pains, and the list goes on… Antonius Musa, chief physician to the Emperor Augustus of Ancient Rome wrote a long treatise on Wood Betony showing it was a cure for no less than forty-seven diseases!
Maude Grieve writes ‘throughout many centuries, faith in Betony’s virtues as a panacea for all ills was thoroughly ingrained in the popular estimation’ – and – ‘Betony was once the sovereign remedy for all maladies of the head’.
Wood Betony was much used by both Native Americans and Europeans and was highly prized for it’s medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities. Some of the active constituents in the plant are thought to be betaine, betulinic-acid, caffeic-acid, chlorogenic-acid, harpagide, and rosmarinic-acid.
Properties of Betony have been summarised as emmenagogue, anodyne, anti-tumor, aphrodisiac, blood tonic, cardiac, stomachic. It has been used as a blood tonic, as a cardiac for anemia and heart troubles and to treat stomach aches, ulcers, and bloody diarrhea.
Other historical applications of Betony include as a medicinal poultice for swellings, sore muscles, varicose veins, and tumours. A medicinal infusion of the herb has been used to treat sore throats, tonsillitis, cough and bronchitis, also used to treat headaches, dizziness, urinary, bladder and kidney pain.
Ingredients: Pure Wood Betony dried herb.
Dosage: Boil 2 teaspoons for 10 mins then strain.