Latin name: Stachys officinalis, Betonica officinalis

This herb is cool and has a slightly bitter taste

It affects the nervous system, digestive system, and brain/psyche.

Wood Betony is is considered a Nervine and Stomachic, but also an antispadmodic, anodyne, circulatory stimulant, cholagogue, diffusive, bitter tonic, astringent, cerebrotonic.

Contraindicated in Pregnancy according to some sources, but others state that no side effects have been reported.  I believe that erring on the side of caution with pregnancy is always wise and maintain that it is contraindicated in pregnancy.

Dosage ranges anywhere from 1tsp to 1TB of herb in 8oz of water to 1oz (by weight) of herb in16oz water, tincture 10-30 up to four times per day.

This herb is indicated for folks who have difficulty being grounded and who have a sense of being inconsolable.  One source, Tilgner, states that the picture of someone who needs this remedy is that they are not assertive and they “lack interest in the world”. My experience is more that the person has trouble with the former: groundedness, and being consoled and rooted in themselves such that their energy is scattered to the proverbial four winds.  This person tends towards digestive upset and irritability, and headaches from not having a rooted energy.

This herb gently strengthens and tones the nervous system and soothes nervous tension.  It is helpful in situations when anxiety is present, and eases headaches brought on by anxiety and also by those relating to the nervous system.  It is an herb for those who suffer from nerve pain (neuralgia) including sciatica.  This herb restores the parasympathetic nervous system to a normal state.

However, Matthew Wood has described Wood Betony as a “remedy that establishes rootedness, connectedness, earthiness, and groundedness.  It is a plant for people who are cut off from the earth or their bodies. It strengthens the solar plexus -the place that helps us feel connected” and through this action brings the person back to themselves.  Wood Betony “strengthens the stomach, and the rest of the nervous system, including the brain… and enhances the actions of a diversity of organs” which explains why it was often considered a panacea in past generations and had magical uses.  (Wood, 1997)

What I’ve noticed most with Wood Betony is that is brings me back to my body.  After suffering from months of terrible insomnia and anxiety attacks, Wood Betony brings a sort of comfort and ease that no other herb was able to bring.

I feel that this herb would benefit anyone who feels like they are being pulled in a million directions, and who work or otherwise forget that they are a human in a body (meaning: they forget about taking care of their bodies, or they treat their bodies like a machine or inconvenience).  Folks who feel “fried” or at their wits end would benefit greatly from this herb as well.

This herb balances the Vata constitution in Ayurveda, and has been recently in use (as suggested by the Herbal Academy) for PTSD, trauma recovery, and addiction as it was historically used to treat “madness”.

It is not a sedating herb, and can be taken throughout the day while retaining your concentration and alertness!  It simply soothes the nerves and calms the brain.

Sources:
Medical Herbalism, Hoffman
Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth, Tilgner
Wood Betony Mograph, A. Blank
Rowan & Sage monograph of Wood Betony
A Modern Herbal, Grieve
Integrative Herbalism, Summer 2014 – Journal of the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism