Herbal Lore

Betony (Stachy Officinalis)


By Morningbird

Betony is a woodland perennial and a member of the mint family with its characteristic square stem and bilabiate flowers. The flowers are lavender in color and appear in whorls from June through August. The leaves and stems are hairy and fragrant. The plant appears along woodland edges and can reach up to two feet in height. Betony is a European native that has naturalized over much of the United States and is considered a weed in many areas.

Betony betonica officinalis is also known as; St Brid’s Comb, Stachys betonica, woundwort, common hedge nettle, lousewort, purple betony, bishop wort, bishop’s elder, spiked betony

History and Folklore

The name betony is said to derive from a Celtic word bewton which means “good for the head”.

The Egyptians regarded betony as a magical herb. A Spanish saying, “He has as many values as betony,” shows the regard that people had for the plant. The Romans listed 47 different medicinal uses for betony and believed that even wild beasts used betony as medicine, and would seek it out when wounded.

A common traditional use for betony was a guard against evil spirits and mischief. During the Middle Ages, it was planted in churchyards and worn in amulets for protection.

Household Use

Makes a chartreuse dye with an alum mordant.

Magical Attributes

Identified with attorlothe of the Nine Herbs Charm, Betony resonates with the energy of the planet Jupiter and the element fire and is masculine in nature.

Betony can be added to any protective mixtures, grown around the home to protect it or carried on the person (especially under one’s hat) to protect from negativity, misfortune, and hexes. Scattered near doors prevents unwanted energies (and people) from entering. It has been planted in graveyards to prevent evil spirits from escaping.

Betony can be stuffed into a pillow or placed underneath to prevent nightmares and night terrors.

Written by Morningbird & Witchipedia Team

I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years. As a founder and lead writer on Witchipedia, I’ve been publishing articles since 2006.

It is our mission to provide the most accurate Pagan, occult and magical information.

1 thought on “Betony (Stachy Officinalis)”

  1. Pingback: Self Examination Saturdays: Vedic Yoga Natal & 2022 – Alchemic Seer

Explore this Topic: Ask a Question, Share Your Wisdom

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, Witchipedia by Dawn Black is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.