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Stachys officinalis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, heathland, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
Dense pink to purple flower spike.
After the flowers have died off, each flower leaves behind four 3-sided, smooth, brown nutlets at the bottom of the calyx.
Bluntly toothed, oval, stalked leaves, mostly in basal rosettes. Some paired leaves along the stem.
Unpleasant smelling.
Other Names:
Bishop's Wort, Bishopswort, Common Hedgenettle, Purple Betony, Wood Betony, Woundwort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Stachys officinalis, also known as betony or wood betony, is a perennial herb native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the mint family and is characterized by its upright, hairy stems and pink, purple, or white flowers. Betony has a long history of use in traditional medicine and is believed to have a number of health benefits. It is often used to treat digestive disorders, anxiety, and insomnia, and has also been used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Betony is also sometimes used as a natural remedy for skin irritation and wound healing. In addition to its medicinal uses, betony is also grown as an ornamental plant due to its attractive flowers and attractive, green foliage.


Betony, Stachys officinalis, is an herbaceous perennial plant that is commonly used for medicinal purposes. It is native to Europe and Asia, but it can now be found throughout the world.

Betony has a long history of use in traditional medicine, and it has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, digestive problems, and nervous disorders. The plant contains several active compounds, including alkaloids, flavonoids, and tannins, which are thought to contribute to its therapeutic effects.

In modern times, betony is still used as an herbal remedy, and it is often taken as a tea or extract. It is believed to have a relaxing effect on the nervous system, making it useful for managing stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Betony is also used as a natural remedy for digestive problems, such as indigestion and bloating, and it is said to have a calming effect on the stomach.

Betony is also used in skincare products, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is said to help soothe irritated skin and promote healing. Some studies have also suggested that betony may have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.

It is important to note that while betony is considered safe for most people, it can interact with certain medications, such as sedatives and blood-thinning drugs. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using betony or any other herbal remedy.

Additionally, betony is an attractive plant that is often used in landscaping and gardening. It has spikes of small, pink or purple flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer. The plant can grow up to two feet tall and has a dense, compact form. It is well suited to rock gardens, mixed borders, and woodland edges.

In folklore, betony was thought to have magical properties, and it was used to ward off evil spirits and protect against sorcery. In medieval times, it was believed that carrying a sprig of betony could protect against disease and bad luck. The plant's scientific name, Stachys, comes from the Greek word for "spike," which refers to its flower spikes.

Betony is relatively easy to grow and is well adapted to a range of growing conditions. It prefers well-drained soils and partial shade, but it will tolerate full sun in cooler climates. Once established, betony is a low-maintenance plant that requires little attention. It is hardy in USDA zones 4-8.

It is also worth mentioning that there are several other species of Stachys that are also known as betony, including water betony (S. palustris) and wood betony (S. sylvatica). These plants have similar properties and uses to Stachys officinalis, and they are also commonly used for medicinal and ornamental purposes.

When harvesting betony for medicinal use, it is recommended to gather the leaves and stems just before the plant begins to flower. The leaves and stems can be dried for later use, or they can be used fresh. To make a tea, simply steep one to two teaspoons of dried betony in a cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. To make an extract, mix one part dried betony with two parts alcohol and let it steep for two weeks.

In conclusion, betony is a versatile and useful herb with a rich history of use in traditional medicine. Its attractive flowers and ease of growth make it a valuable addition to any garden, and its therapeutic properties make it a valuable addition to any natural health arsenal. Whether you're using it for its medicinal benefits or simply for its ornamental value, betony is a plant worth considering.


Betony filmed at Scout Scar, Cumbria on the 16th July 2022.


Music credits
As I Figure - Latinesque by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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