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Copyright © 1990 - 2016 by Robert Dale Rogers. All rights reserved.
No portion of this e-book, except for a brief review, may be reproduced, or copied and transmitted, without permission of author. This book is for educational purposes only. The suggestions, recipes and historical information are not meant to replace a medical advisor. The author assumes no liability for unwise or unsafe usage by readers of this book.





(Stachys pilosa Nutt.)

(S. palustris ssp. pilosa [Nutt.] Epling)


(S. officinalis [L.] Trevis. Ex Briq.)

(S. betonica)

(Betonica officinalis L.)



(S. byzantine K.Koch)

(S. lanata)


(S. grandiflora)

(S. macrantha [K. Koch] Stearn)




(S. sieboldii Miq.)

(S. affinis Bunge)


PARTS USED- flowers, leaves, root


Wood Betony is in its prime in May,

In June and July does its bloom display,

A fine, bright red does this grand plant adorn,

To gather it for drink I think no scorn;

I’ll make a conserve of its fragrant flowers,

Cephalick virtues in this herb remain,

To chase each dire disorder from the brain.

Delirious persons here a cure may find

To stem the phrensy and to calm the mind.    J. CHAMBERS


“Wood Betony preserves the liver and bodies of men from infectious diseases.”    ANTONIUS MUSA

Stachys is from the Greek, “a spike”, as in an ear of grain, and refers to the flower; or derived from STACHUS, meaning a bunch, due to the arrangement of flowers.

Palustris means of the marsh, or swamp.

Betony, according to Pliny, is named after the Latin Betonica, a variation from Vettonica, a plant of the Vettones, an Iberian, or Spanish tribe. Or perhaps it is from the Celtic BEW head and TON, meaning good, in allusion to the herb’s use in problems of the head. Wood probably reflects its forest home.

In Slavonic languages the genus name translates as CHISTETS, cleanser or woundwort.

Byzantina means of Byzanthium, or Istanbul. Pilosa refers to the tiny soft hairs on the leaf and stem.

All plants are perennials, native to Europe, and Asia, with Marsh Hedge Nettle long naturalized throughout the prairies. Wood Betony is frequently found in herbal gardens, and is an occasional escapee. Lambs Ear and Big Betony are common garden perennials. All are hardy to zone 2-3, with Wood Betony requiring added protection in light snow cover winters.

Dioscorides called Wood Betony KESTRON, while other Greek physicians called it PSYCHOTROPHON meaning, “soul nourisher”. Kestron refers to the sharp nature of the flowers.

Antonius Musa, the Roman physician to Ceasar Augustus, wrote an entire book on the medicinal virtues of Wood Betony, or Vettonica, as it was known, listing 47 treatable conditions.

In the 9th century, Walahfrid Strabo wrote of the herb in his Garden Poem (Hortulus Sanitatis), and in the 11th century Odo Magdunensis devotes a long chapter on the herb in his Macer floridus.

The Old English Herbarium, translated into Anglo Saxon over a thousand years ago, says that “it is good for one’s soul and one’s body; it protects a person from dreadful nightmares and from terrifying visions and dreams”.

In the 17th century, the German pharmacist Schroeder states “there is almost no bodily ailment for which it cannot prove of especial benefit”. An early German name ZEHRKRAUT, which means “wasting herb”, suggests its use for diseases concerning significant weight loss and debility.

Betony was believed to shield the sleeper from visions and dreams, and was one of the six amulet herbs of early herbal medicine, worn to drive away “devils and despair”.

The others were Vervain, Peony, Yarrow, Plantain and Rose.

In the Slavic language, the genus name adopted is CHISTETS meaning cleanser or woundwort. This corresponds with one of the main uses, namely skin diseases.

Betony’s value is expressed in an old Italian proverb “Sell your coat and buy Betony”. The Spanish use the expression, “He has as many virtues as Betony”.

Betony means, “head herb”, and was a traditional remedy for problems of the head. In medieval England, the herb was recommended to cure “monstrous nocturnal visions, devils, despair and lunacy”. Hildegard also recommended betony “for one who is foolish or silly and lacks knowledge...if someone is regularly tormented by false dreams, he should have betony leaves ...when he goes to bed.”


****Wood Betony flower head



William Coles said that Betony is “especially good for the brain”. This was deduced from the Doctrine of Signatures, that somehow explained hairiness of the root signified affinity with the head.

The Old English Herbarium suggests decocting the plant in wine “if a person becomes tired from much riding or much walking”.

The British snuffed the leaves along with eyebright and coltsfoot in Rowley’s British Herb Snuff, to relieve nervous headache. It was used in England and France as a tobacco substitute to help one give up smoking.

The leaves are a good substitute for black tea, the infusion tasting similar; but caffeine free.

The French recommended the leaves of BETEINE for liver, gall bladder, spleen and lung affections. In Italy, the entire plant is used for healing varicose veins, ulcers and infective sores. An infusion of the root is used to aid gastro-intestinal disturbances.

Woundwort received its name for stopping bleeding, promoting healing, and drawing out boils and splinters.

During the medieval times, it was widely used for “all fresh and green wounds- for staunching blood flows- to dry up fluxes-the humours of old and fretting ulcers- and rotting and corroding cankers”.

The juice, in the form of syrup, was regarded as second to none for “inward wounds- the breaking of veins-vomitings-the spittings of blood- and ruptures”.

For the latter, a poultice of the plant was applied in place.

The tuberous root were boiled and eaten; the unpleasant tasting leaves usually avoided.

Marsh Hedge Nettle is a circumpolar plant that the Chippewa put to good use, naming it ANDE’ GOBUG, meaning Crow Leaf. Hot infusions of the fresh or dried leaves were taken for sudden colic. The Delaware made a compound containing the root in attempts to treat venereal disease. Despite being a member of the Mint family, Marsh Hedge Nettle, when bruised, has a rather unusual fishy smell, not mint- like at all!

Kahlee Keane suggests the plant’s scent has to do with habitat. “The whole plant may have a minty, rhubarb-like aroma, or may have an unpleasant smell. I have found that they have a wonderful scent when growing in an unpolluted area; otherwise, the plant seems to react by emitting a somewhat less desirable odour.” Interesting.

Some tribes ate the seeds, and the tasty roots collected in fall were eaten raw, baked, boiled or dried for later use. They were then ground into flour and used to make a type of bread.

Hildegard de Bingen, the 12th century Abbess, recommended warmed poultices for skin ulcers, but cautioned its use in sword wounds.

“Woundwort rapidly heals the skin’s exterior surface, but drives the corrupt matter inward”.

The famous 16th century English herbalist John Gerard was nearby one day when a farmer cut his leg to the bone with a scythe. He offered his help for free, but with the blood gushing out, the farmer said he would take care of it himself. Gerard said he had never heard such a clownish answer, and dubbed the plant Clown’s Woundwort.

He watched skeptically, as the farmer tore off his shirt and tied pieces of the plant to the large open wound.

He applied fresh poultices every day for a week and to Gerard’s amazement, it was healed! He then became a staunch believer in the plant and came to recommend it to those injured in tavern brawls, and such. An old gypsy recipe is found below.

The whole plant yields yellow and blue colors for dyeing, and red when used with silverweed and other Potentilla roots.


*****Lamb’s Ears


Lambs Ears, on the other hand, makes a pleasant tasting tea. They can be steamed, but may be too fuzzy for some people’s palates.

They are a favourite garden plant of children, and my wife, Laurie. She loves the soft, furry texture; so soothing to a cat person.

This hairy covering helps protect plants from excessive heat, cold and sunlight. A German scientist, G. Haberlandt, conducted an experiment in 1918, in which he removed the hairy coating from the upper leaf surface. He found that transpiration doubled when the hairs were removed. Too much spare time! They were formerly used to bandage wounds, and used instead of lint as a surgical dressing.

Chinese Artichoke (S. sieboldi), also known by the Japanese name, CHOROGI, is used as a vegetable. Phillip Franz van Siebold was an early 1800s German physician who collected plants in Japan and introduced them to Europe.


*****Fresh Japanese Crosne


Chinese Artichoke is often sold under the French name, CROSNE, after the small village southwest of Paris, where it was first grown commercially. It is an odd looking vegetable, with underground tubers that look like a dirty string of pearls, or a snail. They look and taste somewhat like Jerusalem Artichokes, with a delicate, nutty flavour.

It has medicinal benefit, and is widely used in Russia.

In China, the tuber is used in medicine, and is known as GAN LU ZI meaning Sweet Dew seed. Other names include Cutworm, Treasure Pagoda Vegetable, Earth Bull, Arhat Vegetable and Grass Stone Silkworm.




CONSTITUENTS- S. palustris benzoic acid (3.2% flowers, 4.7% leaves); various flavonoids (1.8% flowers, 3.7% leaves), including palustrinoside, palustrin, acetylpalustaside, leteolin, stachyosides, stachydrine (cabadine) O.62%, stachyrene, stachynone, stachone, stacylone, annuanone, scutellarein, cinnamic acid derivatives including caffeic , 1&4 caffeylquinic acids, chlorogenic acid, neochlorogenic aicd, alpha amyrin, beta sitosterol, 4-methoxy-scutellarein, allantoin, betaine, hydroxycoumarins, ursolic acid ( 0.37%), ascorbic acid ( leaf- 46.2 mg%), oxalic, citric, tartaric, malic and succinic acids, and high level of tannins.

S. officinalis- stachydrine (0.49-2.42%), betaine (0.5%), 4’,7-dimethoxy apigenin, orientin, anthocyanins (flowers), ascorbic acid ( leaf 135mg%), beta-carotene, alpha chlorophyll, various alkaloids (-) betonicine, stachydrin, trigonellin, and turicin, tannins ( 15%), bitters, various caffeic acids (0.5%), p-coumaric acid, chlorogenic, isochlorogenic and neochlorogenic acid, 12 phenylethanoid glycosides named betonyosides A-F, acetoside, acetoside isomer, campneosides II, forsythoside B, and leucosceptoside B; iridoids glycosides such as allobetonicoside and 6-0-acetyl mioporoside, harpagide, ajugoside, aucubin, acetyl harpagide, betolide, betonidolide, betonicosides A-D, hydrocinnamic acids, saponins, choline, trans- phytol, various flavonoids including apigenin, 4’,5’-dihydroxy-3’5’,7- trimethoxy-flavone, 7-methoxy-tricin, and scutullarein 7-glucoside; and essential oils. Fifteen amino acids are found composing 0.42%.

root- betonicosides A-D, diterpenoids, and betonicolide, stachyose

S. byzantina- tannins (5%), resins, organic acids, Vitamin K and C.

S. lanata- stachydrine, vitamins K & C, 30 known compounds including stachysosides E-H, phytol nonadecanoate, manoyl oxide, 13-epi-manoyl oxide.

S. grandiflora- ledol, tartessol, myrtenyl acetate.

S. sieboldii- acetoside, potassium, stachyose.

Wood Betony and Marsh Hedge Nettle contain similar constituents, and are used medicinally for many of the same conditions.

They act principally on the nervous system, as restoratives and relaxants. In this way, the plants are somewhat similar to Skullcap.

But they are more complex in a number of ways, addressing the pain of deep-seated nerve damage, as well as the toxemia relatedto arthritis, or rheumatism. Stachydrine, found in yarrow, decreases rheumatic pain, and is a systolic depressant. (-)Betonicine, likewise found in yarrow, is anti-inflammatory.

Small amounts are astringent in relieving diarrhea, probably due to the tannins, while larger amounts are laxative.

Matthew Wood, in his excellent “The Book of Herbal Wisdom”, cites Wood Betony as the herb to strengthen the solar plexus and help people feel more grounded.

The solar plexus is one of the more significant nerve centers of the body, acting as a switchboard for digestive functions and gut level instinct and reaction.

It is the brain of the stomach, if you will, coordinating the secretion of saliva, and the peristaltic action of the stomach, release of gall bladder, and intestinal peristalsis. It is worth noting that trigonellin, one of its constituents, is found in fenugreek, as well, and is believed to play a role in lowering blood sugar levels. Instinctive wisdom, gut feelings, groundedness and self-confidence are all affected by Wood Betony.

A very interesting book, The Second Brain, by Michael D. Gershon, MD, explains in great detail the nervous system of the gut, or enteric nervous system. Various neurotransmitters, including serotonin, are produced in the intestine. Although well researched, the idea of a second brain in the stomach and intestine is not widely known or recognized for its significance. It does explain the phrase “you are what you eat” in a convincing manner, however.

A wide range of problems are due to weakness of the solar plexus. Various nervous and muscular tensions arise, creating high blood pressure, migraines and neuralgias throughout the body.

Work by Zinchenko & Fefer, Farmatsevt Zhurnal 1962 17:3 found glycosides in Wood Betony possess hypotensive ability.

Wood Betony both relaxes and strengthens, so that one can better deal with stress and tension. It combines well with Linden as a sedative, or mild hypotensive agent; and with Calamus Root and Scullcap as a digestive tonic and stomachic.

Wood Betony nourishes the pineal gland, according to Dr. Lepore. He believes that degeneration of the pineal can cause insanity, and vitiligo, the loss of skin pigmentation resulting in white patches.

Wood Betony, on a daily basis, can take months before any improvement is note. It is first noticed in the centre of the patch, where it will fade to look like a doughnut and finally disappear.

Betaine, in studies on animals, has shown anti-convulsive effect. It can be used in vertigo, memory loss, or difficulty comprehending. It is one of the best remedies for headaches that require vascular dilation, combining well with St. John’s Wort, Scullcap (S. laterifolia) or Vervain for tension headaches. Dr. Christopher believed Wood Betony an “excellent remedy for all head and face pains, and for nervous troubles.”

It has a similar action to Ginkgo, and combines well with Wild Bergamot, and Ginkgo itself for warming and activating circulation and memory.

Menzies Trull, an English physio-medicalist, suggests betony with scullcap or valerian for nervous headaches, with elderflower for headache from chills, with milk thistle for memory, and with black cohosh and scullcap for sciatica.

It strengthens the lungs, in cases of wasting disease and weakness such as acute or chronic bronchitis, copious white or yellow phlegm accompanied with blood. Work by Fitzpatrick, Antibiotics and Chemotherapy 1954 4:5 showed Wood Betony active against tuberculosis.

It combines well with Linden flowers for sinus headaches and congestion.

Wood Betony increases urination, strengthens the kidneys and reduces edema.

It improves the circulation and health of the uterus, and has been used traditionally for uterine prolapse, menstrual pain, weak labour and excessive bleeding. It combines well with yarrow in the treatment of nosebleeds.

However, in the hands of a skilled herbalist, the plant can help improve contractions during labour.

It can be considered a specific for head injury, and has been combined with yarrow in cases of brain aneurism. It will also give temporary relief in cases of temporal arteritis.

The root has a stronger effect on the liver, and is therefore better for stimulating the liver and bowel in treating jaundice and constipation.

Because it is stronger, use half doses, as excessive doses of either leaf or root can cause severe gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea and diarrhea.

In Russia, work by Kobzar, Zinchenko and Fefer points to the herb’s anti-inflammatory, cholagogue and blood pressure lowering activity.

Infusions, or tincture in water, can be helpful in healing bleeding or infected gums, or mouth sores, due to the plants astringent and hemostatic activity.

The fresh plant can be slowly heated in unsalted butter, for a salve that reduces skin inflammation, cuts and sores.

Wood Betony helps anchor consciousness back into the physical body, according to Sean Donahue. “A traditional herb of exorcism, Wood Betony can also offer a degree of protection if a person is experiencing other entities trying to come into her body or trying to pull her out of her body.”

In all cases, Wood Betony and Marsh Hedge Nettle can be used inter-changeably. The biased toward Wood Betony is the more extensive research, especially from Europe. When using the flowering tops of Wood Betony remember to include the basal leaves; which are richest in betaine, caffeic derivatives and flavonoids.

Marsh Hedge Nettle treats a variety of menstrual problems including dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, ovaritis, metritis, and liver depression associated with menopause.

It is used for visceral spasms from over-stimulated nerves and is helpful for treating hypertension.

Michael Moore believes Marsh Hedge Nettle useful for internal inflammations of all kinds. It helps migraines, hangover headaches, headaches from eyestrain, with the eyes inflamed and sore.

It helps relieve the pain of urethritis and cystitis, and eases menstrual cramps.

Marsh Hedge Nettle is astringent and antiseptic, and can be used for stopping bleeding and promoting the healing of wounds.

It also lessens the pain and inflammation, especially when used externally as a glycerin tincture.

It also is used to treat vertigo, of unspecified origin.

For sprains and joint inflammations, it can be taken both internally and externally. Stachydrine, a pyrrolodine alkaloid in Wood Betony, and Marsh Hedge Nettle, as well as Yarrow (A. millefolium) is a systolic blood pressure depressant.

A poultice of the mashed roots is the most effective form, but tea, tinctures and even glycerine preparations are all useful.

For headaches, try applying the herb to the forehead. For sore throats, the fresh root can be chewed or the tea or tincture in water gargled.

The ethanol extracts reduce xanthine oxidase, suggesting benefit in gout.

See the recipe below for abrasions, contusions, sprains, cuts, etc. The plant is hemostatic, astringent, disinfectant, and lessens the pain and inflammation. It combines well with Skullcap, Vervain or Valerian for nervousness, irritability, and insomnia in those with sensory oversensitivity.

The preparation PALUSTAKHIN made from S. palustris possesses anti-hepatotoxic action.

The stem extract of S. palustris shows inhibition of HeLa cervix adenocarcinoma cell lines. The stem, leaf and flower show activity against MCF7 breast cancer cell lines. Haznagy-Radnai et al, Fitoterapia 2008 79. The stems of Lambs Ears showed activity against MCF7, HeLa and A431 cancer cell lines in same study.

CAUTION- Because they are mildly uterine stimulating, both Wood Betony and Marsh Hedge Nettle are contraindicated in pregnancy.

Lambs Ears or Woolly Betony is not usually thought of as a medicinal plant. However, both liquid and alcoholic extracts of S. lanata have been recommended and used for the treatment of hypotonic disease and cardiac neuroses. Like its two cousins above, it contains stachydrine (cadabine), which is a systolic depressant.

It both energetically and on a physical plane helps assist the healing process around heart attacks, arrhythmia and strokes. Place the moistened leaves between cotton cloth and place on the chest for 20 minutes. Repeat as desired. On the top of the head, this same poultice may assist seizure activity.

Work by Khanavi et al, J Ethnopharm 2005 97:3 463-8 found the aerial parts inhibit pain and inflammation.

Activity against C. albicans, Aspergillus niger, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was noted.

The closely related S. recta is used in Russia for obstructive jaundice. When used before and after operations, it led to more rapid normalization of liver function. Stachyrene is believed to be the active ingredient, also found in Hedge Marsh Nettle.

The related Chinese Artichoke, or Woundwort (S. sieboldii) contains acetoside, a promising constituent for the prevention of glomerulonephritis.

This may explain, in part, its use in treating kidney pain.

One part of Wood Ear mushrooms and six parts Chinese Artichokes are simmered, sweetened and given for hollow coughs, and asthma. For tuberculosis with blood, one part watermelon seed is simmered with two parts artichoke roots.

Acetoside is, also present in Wood Betony. Work initiated by Hayashi et al, Japan Journal of Pharmacology 1996 70:2 on acetosides should be continued. He found that the anti-nephritic action of acetoside is due to inhibition of intra-glomerular accumulation of leukocytes through prevention of the up-regulation of intracellular adhesion molecule-1.

Various Stachys species roots contain stachyose, also found in Lupinus luteus and Fraxinus ornus. This compound is anti-bacterial. Chiba et al, Bioorg Med Chem Lett 17:9.




Betonica (Betony Wood) should therefore be considered in stitches in the right temple (liver?), and the inability to concentrate the mind.

Dizziness in forehead, and worse from bending down. Frequent sneezing going from indoors to open air.

There may be pains in the abdomen, hepatic region and of the transverse colon. Also in the gall bladder, inguinal region and spermatic cords.

There may be shooting pain in the back of both wrist joints, or pain in the right groin, hamstring and down the leg, which feels paralyzed or lame.

It is also beneficial for catarrhal colds. There may be profuse, drenching perspiration in bed, almost entirely limited to head, neck and chest.

DOSE- The mother tincture is prepared from the fresh, flowering herb Stachys officinalis. Use 5 drops as needed. Berridge used four provers with tincture in 1869.




The amount of essential oil from the aerial parts of various Stachys species range from 0.008-0.83%.

Wood Betony contains aldehydes of an undefined type, plus iridoids such as harpagide and harpagide 8-acetate. The essential oil is a mixture of 32 compounds, including cadinene, phthalate and phytol, the only ones identified by GC and GC-MS.

One study found various monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, germacrene 42.8%, gamma-cadinene 6.3%, delta-cadinene 5%, alpha amorphene 3.9%, alpha cadinol 2.3%, alpha bergamotene, beta borbonene.

Grujic-Javanovic, Flav Fragr J 2004 19 139-144.

Marsh Hedge Nettle contains iridoids and up to 25% carbonylic compounds.

The essential oil from aerial parts of Stachys palustris from Southern Italy, was characterized mainly by carbonylic compounds (25.4%), fatty acids and their esters (24.2%), along with sesquiterpenoidic compounds (16.0%) and phenols (11.2%).

The major components were determined to be caryophylleneoxide, hexahydrofarnesyl acetone, hexadecanoic acid, (Z, Z, Z)-9, 12, 15-octadecatrienoic acid, (Z)-phytol, thymol. p-methoxyacetophenone, 4-vinylguiacole, tetradecanoic acid, (E)- caryophyllene, b-ionone and b-damascenone.

The essential oil has been found to inhibit ACHN renal cell adenocarcinoma by 77%. Conforti et al, Food Chem 2009 116:4.

Work by Duarte et al, J Ethnopharm 2005 97:2 found Lamb’s Ears essential oil active against Candida albicans.

Khanaui et al, Z Naturforsch 59 identified alpha copaene 16%, spathulenol 16% and beta caryophyllene 14% in the essential oil. Other work found cembrene, phytol, manoyl oxide and 13-epi-manoyl oxide, as well as 3alpha-hydroxy manool.

The leaf contains up to 37% germacrene D and 12% valeranone in one study. The stem yielded 58% nerolidol and 19% thymol in same study. Activity against a number of bacterium and fungi are noted in descending order: Enterococcus faecalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Bacillus subtilis, Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.

Two related plants, S. candida and S. chrysantha, from southern Greece have been analyzed with 42 constituents found in the two oils. The major components are alpha cadinol, manoyl oxide, caryophyllene oxide, epi-alpha-muurolol, and (E)-caryophyllene.

These two oils tested positive against six gram positive and negative bacteria, one of them exhibiting significant anti-bacterial activity.

Stachys recta aerial parts have been steam distilled, but contain only 0.014% essential oil. Thirty-two compounds, mainly alcohols and oxides were found, the major constituent being 1-octen-3-ol at just under 20%. Other minor constituents are caryophyllene oxide, humulene oxide and nerolidol at around 3-4% each.




Several spoonfuls of distilled water of Betony, taken often according to one’s disposition, will strengthen a cold, weak, phlegmatic stomach, mollify it unwillingness to accept food, open obstructions of the liver and spleen, prevent dropsy and jaundice, and cleanse the kidneys and bladder of grit, sand and stones.

Furthermore, it will help those who are afflicted with cold piss or dripping urine, warm chills of the matrix, cleanse the chest and lungs of phlegm and pus, ease fits of coughing, and strengthen and warm a head weakened by cold. Likewise, Betony Water will prevent apoplexy and falling sickness.    SAUER

The distilled water of Betony is very good for such as are pained in their heads, it prevails against the dropsy and all sorts of fevers, it succours the liver and spleen, and helps want of digestion and evil disposition of the body thence arising; it hastens travail in women with child, and is excellent against the bitings of venomous beasts.        CULPEPPER

Betony water is distilled from the plant in flower. It is good for pain in the head from cold, stone in the bladder, old coughs, delayed menses, pain in hips, kidney and bladder.    BRUNSCHWIG




The seeds of Wood Betony and Woundwort contain from 24-44% fatty oils. These include triaclglycerols derived from palmitic, stearic, oleic (20-30%), linoleic (60-70%) and linolenic acids.




Wood Betony flower essence brings inner serenity to the sexual energy flow of a person.    RUNNING FOX FARM

Wood Betony flower essence is an enhancer, working primarily in balancing attitudes in the conflict of sexual energy and the desire for higher principles. This essence enhances the higher philosophies and the necessary sacrifices that transpire with abstinence. Celibacy should be abstainment and inner calmness, rather than an agonizing struggle and suppression of sexual desires.

A person embracing tantric practices in which the sexual energies are channeled into higher philosophies could use this essence. It helps some oversexed people exert more self-control. Wood Betony also helps people who have certain types of diseases such as herpes in the genitals to adjust to being celibate.

The pineal is also enhanced. This is generally the only part of the physical body that is affected by this essence.

Transits of any planets through Scorpio will have some of their energies increased.    GURUDAS

Wood Betony (S. officinalis) stimulates the higher functioning of the psyche. In addition, Wood Betony stimulates the feeling of clarity regarding the self and its expression in the world. Energetically, there is a mild stimulation of the crown chakra which, in turn, stimulates the pineal gland. This enhances the higher functioning of the brain.      DALTON

As a flower essence, Betony relaxes the mind and triggers awareness of where true healing may lie or be required. It is powerfully restorative, but using it may mean that you reveal more to yourself and to others than you would like to admit. In my practice, this essence is commonly chosen by clients before an energy treatment, and certainly helps them to relax and talk about their concerns.    OLIVE

Lambs Ear essence may help a low thyroid, tone the male reproductive system, and heal energy surrounding cancers. It may also assist in the recovery from rape and sexual violence and the ensuing disconnection.     VENSARO

Marsh Woundwort (S. palustris) is for the tendency to worry and fret unnecessarily. It is for letting go of the distress from unmet needs in the past and being content in the present.    HAREBELL




Ancient and traditional medical systems placed a strong emphasis on the solar plexus and its attendant physical structures. Ayurvedic medicine visualizes the duodenum as the seat of the AGNI, the primal fire of the body. The same idea is found in Western Alchemy. Paracelsus said the “Archeus”, or innate intelligence of the body dwells in the stomach. A hundred years later, J.B. Von Helmont believed that the “sensitive animated soul” had its residence in the pyloric sphincter. Samuel Thompson thought the stomach was the residence of vital force.

He visualized it like a stove in which a fire of heat and vital force burned, radiating in all directions, warming and vitalizing the body.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), many of the physical problems described would be classified as “stomach chi deficiency”, or “ deficient chi of the gall bladder”.

The stomach is not given as much credit as a psychological center in the official Chinese medicine of today, but there are different strains of thought, some of which value the stomach more highly. In Taoist folklore, the image of the round bellied, jovial little wise man reflects the idea that the belly is the seat of basic, down to earth wisdom.      WOOD

In calling on the spirit of [Lambs Ear], an elderly male form appears out of the ethers. He is surrounded, by penetrating rays of yellow light. His white hair embraces the wrinkles on his tender face, part of which is covered by the beard that he has grown for many years. He wears a modest cloak; for he likes to travel lightly as he has much healing work to do. Every time there is a request for healing from the plant, he makes a journey to answer its prayers. As he nears this sacred shrub, there, protecting it, is a beautiful baby lamb with large and sparkling eyes and brilliant white coat. He guards the plant and all of the prayers that are made in honor of its name.         AVENSARO





Our Betony grows in a neat clump, close to the earth, the leaves radiating forth from the ground. After it has established itself securely, it sends up long, slender flower stalks.

This is the signature: Wood Betony is a remedy which helps establish rootedness, connectedness, earthiness, and grounded-ness. It is a plant for people who are cut off from the earth or their bodies. It strengthens the solar plexus- the place which helps us feel connected- and through the solar plexus it strengthens the stomach and the rest of the nervous system, including the brain.    WOOD

Wood Betany’s (sic) key word is discernment. Wood Betany (sic) carries with it the qualities of insight, perspicacity, and intuition. It is useful for times of making important choices as it gathers and synthesizes all the information. It helps us to stay emotionally detached; to observe the situation in an objective fashion for clear

decision-making.    EVELYN MULDERS

Stachys byzantina, the ubiquitous lamb’s lugs, is surely the most furry of plants. In our house it is known as the ‘ticky plant’.

Both daughters used it as a comforter when they were very young, detaching a leaf and tickling their noses with it in a state of pure ecstasy. The woolliness of the whole plant is created by thousands of tiny hairs, developed to protect the leaf cuticle from the searing sun of its high Middle Eastern home. In the garden its soft, dense clumps

belie these tough-guy characteristics.    CAROL KLEIN

Wood Betony affirms mental and emotional equanimity.    CRUDEN




Here’s an herb with history

Can make a wicked spirit flee

The Middle Ages sang its praise

In the Renaissance, ‘twas the craze A precious herb with virtues dear Can soul and body make more clear Wood Betony, a leafy mint

On sandy slopes it makes its print A tonic for the nervous system Can relax and bring sedation

Use for headache and for sprain Ailments where there’s nerve like pain Apply to joints and ulceration

A poultice for the situation Hysteria and neuralgic grief

Will calm the nerves and bring relief It’s supportive if you’re frail

Boosts your strength if it should fail If you’re quitting an addiction

Need more grounding, fact not fiction

Try this tincture or the tea

There might be magic in the leaf!





INFUSION- leaf and flower- One tsp of dried to one pint of water. Drink three cups daily. Take three oz. 3-4 times daily for intestinal worms. When drying the flowering tops, use shade and keep cool, as close to 5 degrees Celsius as possible.

TINCTURE- leaf- 10- 15 drops three times daily

root- 5-10 drops 1-3 times daily. To make a fresh plant tincture, take one part plant to two parts 70% alcohol. To make a dry plant tincture use one part plant to five parts liquid that is 40% alcohol. Small amounts are astringent, larger amounts can be laxative.

OINTMENT (sort of). Take one part of fresh plant to 2/3 vegetable glycerine and 1/3 alcohol (pure). Mix together in blender and store in covered jar for two weeks. Then pour off the liquid, and use salve (?) as needed for topical injury.

HEDGE NETTLE WINE- Combine a handful each of finely cut hedge nettle root and leaf to one litre of wine. Simmer for 15 minutes and steep five more. Pour over a half handful of chamomile flowers.

Allow to cool and strain. Apply as needed to wounds after all infection is cleared.

CAUTION- Marsh Hedge Nettle contains an alkaloid that can paralyze the nervous system in very large doses. Do not overuse. Wood Betony and Marsh Hedge Nettle are contraindicated

during pregnancy due to uterine stimulation.




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