Wood betony can be been used as a panacea since ancient times and is traditionally accepted to be effective against many health concerns. In central Europe it is taken mainly to help support diarrhoea, indigestion and catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, or it is gargled against mouth ulcers and gingivitis. In modern times, it is mainly used against headache and neuralgia. The herb is also considered to be a useful bitter tonic to aid in digestion and to help support stress and tension. In homoeopathy, the fresh flowering herb is used.
Other Names: Bétoine (French); Betonie, Heilziest (German); betonica (Italian).
Description: Betony is a perennial herb of up to 0.6 m in height, with square stems bearing hairy, heart-shaped to oblong leaves and clusters of attractive, small, tubular, purple flowers at the tips. Three other well known species are S. palustris (marsh palustris), S. recta that are sometimes used traditionally and S. byzantina, the familiar garden plant known as lamb's ears. A species with edible tubers is the Japanese artichoke, S. affinis (= S. tuberifera).
Origin: Europe and Asia. The plant is commonly cultivated as an ornamental plant and is often seen in herb gardens.
Parts Used: Dried, aboveground parts, harvested during the flowering period (Betonicae herba).
Therapeutic Category: Sedative, bitter tonic.
Preparation and Dosage: About 1 - 2 g of the dry herb is steeped in a cup of boiling water and taken one to three times per day.
Active Ingredients: The chemical variation in wood betony is not well studied. However, the plant contains alkaloids such as stachydrine and betonicine, and tannins (15%) and unspecified bitter substances. Aerial parts of the plant contain several phenylethanoid glycosides, including acetoside, two epimers of campneoside II, forsythoside B, leucosceptoside B and betonyosides A-F.
Health Effects: Tannins are likely to be responsible for the antidiarrhoeal, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, while the sedative properties have been ascribed to the alkaloids. The contribution of the phenylethanoids to the positive health activity of the herb is not clear.
Status: Traditional health.
Wood betony affects the nervous system, the liver, and the heart. Composed of alkaloids, tannins, choline, and betaine, to name a few of the key chemicals, wood betony has sedative, nervine, bitter tonic, and astringent properties. It is most often used to help support health complaints such as anxiety-induced headaches, nervousness, and various minor aches and pains.
Wood betony is good for chronic headaches, nervousness, neuralgia and anxiety. Combine with equal parts feverfew, rosemary and skullcap for a migraine or nervous headache.
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Stir 1/4 of a teaspoon into a glass of water and consume 3 times daily, with meals.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."