Wood Betony

Jessica Davis
Scientific Name: 

Stachys officinalis (1),(2),(4),(5), Family N.O. Labiatae

Fun Fact: 

This herb’s name can be translated to mean “Herb of the Head”. (2) It was most likely named this for its use as a nervine and a cure for headaches. (See uses)

Common Names: 

Bishopswort, CITATION 1 \l 1033 (1)(2) Vettonica, (1) Cr


The people of ancient Greece felt this plant was more important than clothing. (1) They thought it could cure at least 47 disease states and even had magical powers to keep away evil spirits. (4) They believed that it could cure a wounded animal upon


This is a perennial herb (5) that generally grows in woods, but can be found in open regions as well. (1)(2) Wood Betony has a thickish, woody root that extends to 1 to 2 foot square stems.(1),(5) Along the stem are stalked leaves, which are heart sha


Wood Betony contains tannis(5), phenylethanoid glucosides (Acetoside, Campneoside II, Forsythoside B, Leucosceptoside B. Betonyosides A-F)(5) and alkaloids (Stachydrine and Bentonicide ).(2)(5)


Wood Betony is still used as a nervine (1),(2),(3) and can treat twitches of the face.(1),(2) The alkaloids present in the chemical makeup of this herb allow it to have sedative properties for this use. This chemical, along with the anti-inflammatory


There are many different ways to prepare Wood Betony for use. They all start with collecting the aerial part of the plant when the flowers are in bloom between July and August. (1),(5) This part of the herb is then dried for all of its uses except for

Contraindications/Interactions/Adverse Reactions: 

This herb is to be avoided during pregnancy, because the herb may act as a uterine stimulant. (3)

References Cited: 
  1. Grieve, M. (n.d.). A Modern Herbal. Retrieved from http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/betowo35.html#des
  2. (n.d.). Great American Products. Retrieved from http://www.greatamericanproducts.com/pages/Home/Glossary/W#woodbetony