Betony in situ in the Wanderlust caravan, May 2019.

Betony in situ in the Wanderlust caravan, May 2019.

Latin: Stachys betonica

Synonyms: Wood betony, bishopswort, Stachys officinalis, Betonica officinalis.

Botanical Description:

  • Hairy perennial with woody stems 15-60cm tall.

  • Opposite toothed ovate leaves have small hairs.

  • Small purplish or crimson flowers appear in July and August are arranged in whorls or short spikes in the axils of upper leaves.

Parts used: Herb.


  • Alkaloids

  • Diterperines

  • Betaine, choline, tannins


  • Sedative, nervine

  • Bitter, stomachic

  • Astringent


  • Headaches, lower back pain, temporal arteritis.

  • Nervous debility, lack of energy.

  • Weak digestion.


  • 'Stachys' is derived from the Greek word for ear of corn – stacys, in reference to the form the flowers take.

  • Betony is thought to have derived from the Celtic words for head and good 'bew' and 'ton' because of it't common use for head complaints.

  • Was thought to give protection against evil spirits.