Betonica officinalis, Labiatae. This plant is also known as bishopwort, purple betony and wood betony.

The dried aerial parts of the plant are used.

The aerial parts should be collected just before the flowers bloom. They should be dried carefully in the sun.

Functions of betony

Betony feeds and strengthens the central nervous system and also has a sedative action. It:

  • is useful in the treatment of nervous debility associated with anxiety and tension.
  • will ease tension headaches and neuralgia when they are of a nervous origin.

Notes on betony

  • For the treatment of nervous headache it combines well with skullcap.


Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonsful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day. To treat flatulence the tea should be drunk slowly before meals.

Tincture: take 2-6 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

This is a hardy perennial that grows to a height of 24 inches (60 cm). It can be propagated from seed which is planted in the spring or autumn or by root cuttings.

It prefers deep, fertile, well drained, moderately moist soil and full sun or partial shade.

Betony is a slow grower and benefits from division and replanting every third or fourth year. However if they are thriving and blooming leave them alone.



Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

Marcin, M. M. 1990, Herbal Teas: Growing Harvesting and Brewing. Collins.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.




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