BETONY ~ WOODStachys officinalis
A humble, and common herb of the Mint family, it is difficult to comprehend the ancient's adoration for this herb. Culpeper recommends it for practically every disease under the sun and a little pamphlet dedicated to Wood Betony ascribed to Antony Musa, Caesar Augustus' personal physician, mentions its use for no less than 47 diseases. (However, some doubt the author's identity and deem the text to be much younger). Popular sayings, such as 'Sell your coat and buy betony' (Italy) are also widespread and it was widely believed that a house where Betony grew was protected against all evil, particularly that arising from snakes.
In modern herbalism Betony is somewhat less revered. It is used for its strengthening and toning properties, particularly for the nervous system and the head. Thus it is indicated for migraines, headache, nervous debility, anxiety and tension. It is astringent and useful for external application to bites, stings, minor wounds and bruises. Internally it stimulates the circulation and is said to be useful for head colds. It was also used for poor digestion and heartburn as well as women's problems such as menopausal hot flashes etc. Children who for some reason fail to thrive, were also said to benefit from this herb.
Betony is an herb of protection, especially against scary visions, nightmares and fantasies. It is also said to protect against snakes and is sometimes planted around the house for this purpose. It is also mentioned in connection with love magic, in particular to protect against the unwanted effects of love charms.