Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Betony by Unity

Betony by Unity

Betonica officinalis, Stachys officinalis

Other names : Bishopswort, Wood betony, Sentinel of the woods, Herb St Fraid, Lousewort, Betayne, Bidney, Wild hop, Vetoyu, Bitney

Planetry ruler : Jupiter
Element : Fire
Associated deities : Cernnunos, Herne
Gender : Male
Action's: Sedative, nervine, tonic, bitter

Magical properties: Protection, purification, love, clarity, anti-intoxification, nightmares, anti-depression, memory, stress relief.

Betony is a hardy perennial plant that grows up to 2 ft and has pretty pink or purple flowers. It is native to the British Isles and grows wild at the edges of woods and in heathland. The Ancient Celts held it in high regard due to it's healing and protective properties.

Magical/ folk lore

Betony's main magical use is for protection and to dispel negativity. Make an infusion and use it to clean your altar and/or home, you can also make a protective seal by wiping it around the edges of doors and windows. Grown in gardens, it will protect your home from evil, and sprinkled around the perimeter of your property was believed to form a protective barrier through which no evil could pass, it was also said to protect against snakes. It can be used in incense to purify your magical tools and the atmosphere before and after ritual.

In the past betony was planted in monastry gardens and around graveyards as it was believed to protect against evil spirits and witchcraft. It was also carried or worn to protect a person's 'body and soul' and placed beneath pillows to protect against nightmares, making it a good ingredient for a dream pillow.

Betony can calm tempers and soothe quarrels between couples when added to food ( Do not ingest if pregnant) It can also protect you against the unwanted effects of love spells.

In Hoodoo, betony is often added to uncrossing incense's with agrimony and used to reverse jinxes back to those who sent them. The Anglo-Saxons used it in magic and healing as is recorded in the famous leechbook and herbal Lacnunga.

It is said that snakes would fight to the death when placed within a circle of betony, and that stag's and other wild beast's would eat it if wounded or sick and be cured.

The physician of Emporer Augustus claimed betony could treat 47 diseases, he wrote a whole treatise on it.

Carry betony with you when you need to concentrate or have a good memory, for tests or exams etc.
The 16th centuary herbalist Gerard said that betony was the most highly prized of all herbs. He recommended that you should sell your coat to get money to buy the plant.


Betony is not so popular these days in modern herbalism, but it can be used for quite a wide range of ailments. If you are severly ill, or take prescription medicines see your GP before taking betony internally.

Betony feeds and strengthens the nervous system and also has sedative properties. It can be used to treat anxiety and tension.

Betony infusion can be used to treat headaches, neuralgia, pulmony disorder's, sore throats, asthma, catarrh, gout, rheumatism, heartburn and respiratory disorder's. It can also be drank as a tonic when feeling run down and for bladder and kidney problems. The juice of the plant can be used to treat cut's and sore's, and the leaves can be used as a poultice for bruising, stings and cuts.

Betony infusion

2 tsp dried betony
1/2 pint boiling water

Leave to steep for 15 minutes

Purification incense

2 parts Sandalwood
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Betony
1 part Rosemary
1 part Bay


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