Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Stachys betonica

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Traditionally used for headache, neuralgia, pains in the head and face, heartburn, indigestion, cramps in the stomach, jaundice, palsy, convulsions, gout, colic, pains, all bilious and nervous complaints, dropsy, colds, la grippe, tuberculosis, worms, delirium, poisonous snake and insect bites.

Betony gently tones and strengthens the nervous system whilst also has a relaxing action. Useful for treatment of the nervous debility associated with anxiety and tension. It will ease headaches and neuralgia when they are of nervous origin, but especially those caused by hypertension.

Dosage:
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

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

Betony was once the sovereign remedy for all maladies of the head, and its properties as a nervine and tonic are still acknowledged, though it is more frequently employed in combination with other nervines than alone. It is useful in hysteria, palpitations pain in the head and face, neuralgia and all nervous affections. In the Medicina Britannica (1666) we read: 'I have known the most obstinate headaches cured by daily breakfasting for a month or six weeks on a decoction of Betony made with new milk and strained.'

As an aromatic, it has also astringent and alterative action, and combined with other remedies is used as a tonic in dyspepsia and as an alterative in rheumatism, scrofula and impurities of the blood.

The weak infusion forms a very acceptable substitute for tea, and in this way is extensively used in many localities. It has somewhat the taste of tea and all the good qualities of it, without the bad ones. To make Betony tea, pour a pint of boiling water on an ounce of the dried herb. A wineglassful of this decoction three times a dayproves a benefit against languid nervous headaches.

The dried herb may also be smoked as tobacco, combined with Eyebright and Coltsfoot, for relieving headache.

A pinch of the powdered herb will provoke violent sneezing. The dried leaves formed an ingredient in Rowley's British Herb Snuff, which was at one time quite famous for headaches.

The fresh leaves are said to have an intoxicating effect. They have been used to dye wool a fine yellow.

Gerard tells us, among other uses, that Betony,
'preserveth the lives and bodies of men from the danger of epidemical diseases. It helpeth those that loathe and cannot digest their food. It is used either dry or green either the root or herb - or the flowers, drunk in broth or meat or made into conserve syrup, water, electuary or powder - as everyone may best frame themselves, or as time or season requires.'

He proceeds to say that the herb cures the jaundice, falling sickness, palsy, convulsions, gout, dropsy and head troubles, and that 'the powder mixed with honey is no less available for all sorts of colds or cough, wheezing, of shortness of breath and consumption,' also that 'the decoction made with mead and Pennyroyal is good for putrid agues,' and made in wine is good as a vermifuge, 'and also removes obstructions of the spleen and liver.' Again,
'the decoction with wine gargled in the mouth easeth the toothache.... It is a cure for the bites of mad dogs.... A dram of the powder taken with a little honey in some vinegar is good for refreshing those that are wearied by travel. It stayeth bleeding at the nose and mouth, and helpeth those that spit blood, and is good for those that have a rupture and are bruised. The green herb bruised, or the juice, applied to any inward hurt, or outward wound in body or head will quickly heal and close it up. It will draw forth any broken bone or splinter, thorn or other thing gotten into the flesh, also healeth old sores or ulcers and boils. The root is displeasing both to taste and stomach, whereas the leaves and flowers by their sweet and spicy taste, comfort both in meat and medicine.'

More about the therapeutics
Stachys is used in the treatment of nervous debility associated with anxiety and tension and to ease headaches and neuralgia of nervous origin. The astringent effect of the tannins make it a suitable compress for wounds and bruises. The powdered leaves have been used in the past as a snuff, and an infusion of the leaves is said to clear head colds. The French recommend Stachys for liver and gallbladder complaints. Taken internally, it stimulates the circulation. The alkaloid trigonelline is believed to have a hypoglycaemic action.