Wood Betony

Wood betony was at one time commonly used as a medicinal plant in the treatment of a wide range of disorders, especially as a nervine and tonic for treating maladies of the head and as an external application to wounds[4, 7, 238]. It also stimulates the digestive system and the liver, having an overall tonic effect upon the body[254]. Wood betony is much less used nowadays, and more often forms part of a mixture of herbs[4]. The whole plant is collected when in flower in the summer and can be dried for later use[4, 254]. It is anthelmintic, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, mildly cathartic, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, mildly emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, sedative, sternutatory, tonic and vulnerary[4, 9, 14, 21, 165, 218]. It is taken in the treatment of 'frayed nerves', pre-menstrual complaints, poor memory and tension[254]. It can be taken in combination with herbs such as comfrey, Symphytum officinale, and lime flowers, Tilia species, to treat sinus headaches and congestion[254]. Wood betony can be taken on its own, or with yarrow, Achillea millefolium, to staunch nosebleeds[254]. A pinch of the powdered herb will provoke violent sneezing and it has been used as part of a herbal snuff mixture in the treatment of headaches[4]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant[9]. It is used in the treatment of asthma and excessive perspiration[9].