Health Benefits of Wood Betony

Health Benefits of Wood Betony

Wood betony is believed to have numerous health benefits. Although there is no concrete evidence to back up the medicinal properties of wood betony, it has been an integral part of traditional European herbal medicine.
HolisticZine Staff
Did You Know?
In the Medieval period, Wood Betony was thought to have magical properties, and was kept in church yards to drive away evil spirits.
Betony is a wood-type plant that is said to have immense medicinal value. The aerial parts of the trees have been used for medicinal purposes in Europe for centuries. The flowers, stems, and leaves of wood betony are commonly used to make poultice, infusions, and herbal teas. The poultice, infusions, and herbal teas made from the leaves and flowers of the plants have a long history of use for a variety of ailments in European countries, especially in England. Wood betony is used to make a herbal wine that acts as a great tonic.

Wood betony, belonging to the mint family of flowering plants, has been recognized by 3 botanical names - Stachys officinalis, Betonica officinalis, and Stachys betonica. Although wood betony is no longer revered as a herbal panacea (as it was in the Middle Ages), even today modern herbalists recommend it to treat various medical conditions.
Wood Betony Health Benefits
Relieves Stress
Wood betony also shows sedative actions, which may contribute in alleviating stress and relaxing the mind. So, drinking betony tea or having its tincture after a tiring day at work may calm your frail nerves and allow you to unwind and get better sleep. Its relaxing effect on the mind can also be helpful to treat anxiety.
Improves Respiratory Problems
Wood betony may help to relieve asthma and respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis. The expectorant properties of wood betony may help to liquefy the buildup of thick mucus. This may assist in facilitating drainage of mucus, in turn alleviating sinus congestion.
Alleviates Headache
Taking extracts of wood betony may provide relief from headache. This has been attributed to glycosides, an important constituent of wood betony. A rise in blood pressure may be accompanied by headaches. One study showed that glycosides may help to bring down blood pressure, which may contribute in alleviating headaches. Herbalists also recommend betony tea and tinctures for the treatment of migraines.
Treats Digestion Problems
As wood betony contains tannins, it displays astringent properties, making it ideal for the treatment of diarrhea. The astringency effect of wood betony absorbs fluids from the intestine, thereby helping to reduce bowel movement. So, wood betony infuse provides antidiarrheal effect, which may help to treat bowel dysfunction. People with poor digestion may also benefit by taking extracts of wood betony. Herbal extracts of wood betony are mildly bitter, which actually aid in digestion.

It has a long history of use in European countries as a treatment for gastritis and heartburn. In these countries, taking herbal extracts of wood betony is a traditional way of relieving discomfort related to heartburn.
Treats Oral Problems
An infusion made from the flowers and leaves of the wood betony plant is used as mouthwash. This herbal mouthwash may work to treat mouth ulcers, gum problems, and even throat issues. It may help to speed up healing of open wounds in the oral cavity. A herbal mouthwash of wood betony may also help to reduce gum inflammation and stop gum bleeding. Gargling with an infusion of wood betony may also help to relieve sore throat.

An infusion of wood betony can also be used to treat external ulcers that occur on the uppermost layer of the skin. For instance, a foot or a toe ulcer can be washed with this herbal infusion to increase the healing rate. Poultice made from wood betony may also help to reduce inflammation and pain associated with skin tears, stings, and bites. As tannins found in wood betony display anti-inflammatory properties, the poultice can certainly help relieve discomfort associated with open wounds.
Alleviates Skin Problems
Historically, wood betony has been used in European countries for the treatment of edema, hives, and shingles. For centuries, herbalists over there have been prescribing it for various skin ailments. Even nerve-related problems, a complication of shingles, is treated with extracts of wood betony.
Improves Kidney Function
Wood betony displays diuretic activity, which helps to increase urinary rate. This may help to eliminate toxins from the urinary system, in turn enhancing kidney function. The diuretic action of wood betony may also help to urinary tract infections (UTI).
Relieves Menstrual Pain
Traditionally, usage of wood betony has been involved in treating menstrual problems. It may help to relieve discomfort associated with menstrual cramps.
Improves Liver Function
Wood betony is thought to remove impurities from the blood, which may contribute in improving the function of liver, gallbladder, and the spleen. Herbalists in the 16th century were of the opinion that the herb could be used to treat jaundice.
Caution
There is no strong scientific evidence to back up the health benefits of wood betony. Also there is insufficient data to guarantee the efficacy and safety of this herb. So, you simply cannot use extracts or tinctures of this herb as alternative medication without consulting a doctor. Also, pregnant women should avoid taking wood betony in any form, as it can induce uterine contractions, which may lead to miscarriage.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.