Wood Betony has long been used for treating different types of headaches and nervousness with stress. Its botanical name – Betonica officinalis – actually means ‘tonic for head’ from Celtic language. Along with Feverfew, Skullcap, Willow bark and Chamomile, Betony is considered one of the effective herbal remedies in case of various headaches.
The plant is easy to be found: all over the open woods and meadows throughout regions of temporary climates, as it has rather colorful flowers. It is also cultivated for herbal purposes in different countries. Herbalists know, that the best season to collect the herb (root, leaves, stem) is just before flowers appear (in early July). The herb should be dried in dry room, better in hanging position and in the open air; or with the help of rapid steaming, so all the properties are kept safe to its maximum extend
Wood Betony is more available on the market (and more effective) when it comes in combination with other herbs. When the herb is used for treating headaches and stress it usually mixed with the following herbs:
with Symphytum officinale or commonly known as comfrey – especially to treat sinus headaches
with Tilia species, all its lime flowers – the same purposes
with Rosemary and Peppermint (Mentha piperita), that separately can also be used for treating headaches and facial pain
with Scutellaria lateriflora, commonly known as Skullcap; or Jamaican Dogwood -for treating nervous tension and associated tension headaches
with Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) – for treating stress and anxiety and nervous headaches
with Vervain (Verbena officinalis), Hyssop with white wine – for treating headaches from tension and nervousness
with Marshmallow, Chamomile, Mullein (Verbascum), and Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) – each separately or in certain mixture
The most popularly used form is in form of Tea; Betony tastes like black tea and can be easily drunk, especially together with honey. Dried herb (1 to 2 tablespoons) is just put into one cup of boiled water for 10 minutes – and tea is ready. Dried herb in other herbal mixture (Eyebright and Coltsfoot) is smoked as tobacco; it also relieves headache and migraine.
Active components of the herb, that give Betony its tonic, relaxing, sedative and calming (along with plenty of others) properties are alkaloids, betaine, tannins, glycosides, and volatile oil. The herb can both gently tones and stimulate the nervous system and relaxes all the muscles of the body, tense muscles in neck and shoulders (and head) bringing calming effect. It increases circulation in the whole body and the head and relaxes circulatory and vascular tissues there at the same time.
Betony is effective in types of headaches caused by tension (especially hypertension) and any other nervous origin (such as anxiety). The action is theoretically due to its ability to dilate blood vessels and smooth facial muscles (thus relieving pain).
Wood Betony has long history of treatment various types of headaches, including those associated with stress and tension. Different historical sources and literature claim Betony Tea together with hot milk or honey to be very effective remedy from headache (when daily used for about a month). Not only tea was used (and is used now), but also a decoction – to elevate pain. When tea or decoction is used on daily basis in therapeutic purposes it can decrease the intensity of chronic migraines and may even eliminate headaches at all. But the period of taking Betony as a herbal remedy should be rather essential, as the time is needed for the result (and often the worse is the problem, the more time you need for the positive result and the more permanent you should be in taking the herb). It takes from one to several months for result to be seen.
Take one teaspoon per cup (in boiling water, as a tea) to achieve relaxing effects, and for therapeutic properties (long time is required). Boiled milk can be used instead of water for even better result. Drink tea several times a day until headache reduces. Take 10-30 drops if you are using Betony in tincture form. Two – three times a day is a generally suggested dose. Take a glass of decoction 3 times a day (1 tbsp for 1 cup of water).
Use your fridge for storage of prepared decoction, infusion or tea (but not longer than two-three days). Tinctures can be kept in room temperature aside from direct light. The best way to achieve maximum effect is to start with the lowest suggested dose and then to increase it (if needed). Stop using Betony step by step if your symptoms worsen.