Wood Betony, a Fascinating Herb with Many Benefits

eattheplanet.org is an affiliate marketer. We may earn commission from links to products and services on this page.

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg


Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis) Illustration
Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis) Illustration
(Photo by: C. A. M. Lindman/Wikimedia Commons)

Wood betony (Stachys officinalis) is a perennial grassland herb that’s native to Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. At first glance, people might dismiss wood betony merely as a pretty ornamental plant. However, this plant actually has a strong reputation of being a panacea since ancient times. People claim that this herb can cure anything, from the common cough to epilepsy. While these claims might have been exaggerated, this fascinating herb still holds many benefits.

Various Uses

Wood betony has a gentle bittersweet and astringent flavor as well as a warming aroma. The leaves and flowering tops are often brewed to make herbal tea. Simply brew 1 teaspoon of dried betony leaves or flowering tops in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. This herbal tea tastes similar to black tea. Alternatively, this herb can also be made into a tincture, infusion, and tonic.

Health benefits

Wood betony is great for alleviating headaches and migraines, relieving toothaches, improving sleep quality, relieving stress, and improving moods. It also has carminative and mild anti-spasmodic qualities which means it can relieve bloating, alleviate stomach aches, reduce uterine cramping, promote a healthy digestive system, and treat colic. Drinking wood betony tisane can also cure colds, cough, asthma, and other breathing problems. Additionally, you can make a poultice out of this herb to heal wounds and bruises.

This herb can be used on their own or mixed with other herbs. Combining wood betony with other herbs seem to enhance its healing properties. For nervous headaches, make a herbal tea mixture of this herb and skullcap. Meanwhile, wood betony combined with yarrow is great at stopping nosebleeds. Then to treat congestion, cold, and sinus headaches, combine this herb with comfrey.

Cultivation

Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis) Blooms
Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis) Blooms
(Photo by: Megan Hansen/Wikimedia Commons)

Aside from being a medicinal herb, wood betony is also cultivated all around the world for its beauty. With its vibrant purple blooms, wood betony can definitely be an attractive addition to any garden. This hardy perennial can adapt well to varying conditions. It’s also a self-sowing plant that’s not very aggressive. So, you can depend on it coming back to your garden year after year without having to worry about it taking over your garden.

As mentioned earlier, this plant can tolerate varying conditions. However, it prefers rich and moist soil. It also thrives well in a partially shaded area, making it the perfect plant to grow in shady areas where other flowering plants wouldn’t grow. As a grassland herb, it requires moderate to high amounts of water to thrive. But, be careful not to overwater them as it may cause the roots to rot.

Start the seeds indoors in early spring. Tamp the seeds lightly into the soil or cover them with a thin layer of soil (around ¼” deep). They should germinate within a week or two. Once they’re large enough to handle, transplant them outdoors in late spring or early summer. Plant them 10” to 12” apart from each other to avoid overcrowding.

The plants will start to bloom in the summer. The leaves and flowering tops taste best when picked before the flowers mature and bloom completely. Harvest by snipping the plant with scissors to around 4” above the ground. The leaves and flowering tops should then be dried by laying them out in the sun.

Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis)
Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis)
(Photo by: ceridwen/Wikimedia Commons)

Cautions

This herb is generally safe to consume, however, there are some concerns that wood betony might lower blood pressure. So, people who are prone to low blood pressure are advised to avoid wood betony.  It’s also better to avoid consumption at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Conclusion

Wood betony is truly an amazing herb. Throughout history, various cultures have been relying on wood betony’s wonderful medicinal properties. As a self-sowing perennial plant, you can count on this herb to come back year after year to your garden.


---------------
Writen by Cornelia Tjandra
Cornelia is a freelance writer with a passion for bringing words to life and sharing useful information with the world. Her educational background in natural science and social issues has given her a broad base to approach various topics with ease. Learn more about her writing services on Upwork.com or contact her directly by email at cornelia.tjandra@gmail.com



Featured Videos - eattheplanet.org

Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Subscribe to our mailing list

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg



Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)
Wild Blackberries and Raspberries, a Diverse Group of Delicious Edibles
Read more.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Seeds
Dandelion, a Surprisingly Beneficial Wild Edible
Read more.
Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum)
Dead Nettle, an Overlooked yet Valuable Wild Edible
Read more.
Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) Fruits
Black Chokeberry, a Native Super Food
Read more.
Dryad’s saddle (Polyporus squamosus)
Dryad’s Saddle, a Unique and Tasty Mushroom
Read more.
Ramps (Allium tricoccum) Field
Ramps, a Popular and Versatile Herb
Read more.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Maitake, the Wonderful King of Mushrooms
Read more.
Black medic (Medicago lupulina) Flowers and Leaves
Black Medic, an Underrated and Useful Wild Edible
Read more.
Wild Leeks (Allium tricoccum)
Wild Leek – A Beloved Spring Wild Edible
Read more.
Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)
Wild Sarsaparilla, a Native Source of Energy and Health
Read more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>