A Wood Betony Blossom reaches out into the sunshine
This year I decided to plant some Wood Betony in the garden. Since it's been blossoming for the past few weeks, I decided it was time to write about this delightful new friend. Well, sort of new friend. See I've only recently come to know this plant in the garden. This year has been the first year that I have delighted in it's bright purple blossoms. Many years ago, I came to know Wood Betony in an herb book about magic. I read that this was a powerful protective plant and could undo curses. Being a anxious teenager at the time, getting to know this powerful plant of protection seemed a wise course of action in an unpredictable world.
And so I began to work with Wood Betony in magic and came to know it's protective energy. It seemed fierce but gentle at the same time. Something about smudging with this plant and incorporating it into ritual created a sense of peace and ease. Wood Betony is indigenous to Europe and has a long history of being used for protection and medicine by the Celts and the Greeks. It has been planted around Churches and sacred sites in Europe for generations as well as included in much ancient European lore.
Years later as I began to study herbalism and the medicinal properties of herbs, I learned that Wood Betony was helpful for many different maladies associated with anxiety.
Wood Betony is also known as Stachys Officinalis
I think it makes sense that this plant that eases anxiety is also protective. I believe that much of our human anxiety is rooted in a deep sense of feeling unsafe. Wood betony helps us to relax into ourselves and open to a sense of our own power. Sometimes relaxing the nerves is what we need to reconnect with innate knowing that we are safe, held and always connected with the earth. Wood Betony adds a little "umph" to this knowing and in small doses you can feel a shift in your energetic field with this plant.
I like to smudge with this plant at times when I want to reconnect with that connection and inner knowing of safety and protection. I also like to carry a bit of this plant in my medicine bag that I wear around my neck. I have found this plant to be a powerful ally in the hospital. This plant can also be sewn into pillows for children troubled by nightmares as it has a long history of use for nightmare prevention.
I like to call this the "headache corner" of the garden.
The Wood Betony stands right next to the Feverfew and a small Willow Tree
Another popular use of this plant is for headaches. Because of it's affinity towards easing anxiety, this is a great plant to use when treating stress related headaches. Wood Betony has been used in this way for many many years. Some say that the name is derived from a the Celtic words "Bew-Ton" meaning "Good head".
This plant is a wonderful ally and a great one to get to know. It's relatively easy to grow. It likes sun and water and rich soil. So why not get to know this sweet and powerful green blooded friend?
A large stand of Wood Betony grows in a delightful medicine garden