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Also listed as: Stachys
Related terms

Related Terms
  • Alkaloids, Betoine (French), betonica (Spanish, Italian), Betonica officinalis, betonicolide, betonicosides A-D, Betonien (German), betulinic acid, bishopswort, bishop wort, D-camphor, delphinidin, diterpenoid, glycosides, heal-all, hedgenettle, hedge nettles, hyperoside, Labiatae (family), Lamiaceae (family), lousewort, manganese, oleanolic acid, purple betony, rosmarininc acid, rutin, self-heal, stachydrine, Stachys atherocalyx C., Stachys betonica, Stachys bombycina, Stachys byzanthina C. Koch., Stachys byzantina, Stachys candida, Stachys chrysantha, Stachys grandidentata, Stachys inflata, Stachys lavandulifolia, Stachys officinalis, Stachys palustris L., Stachys parviflora, Stachys persica Gmel., Stachys plumose, Stachys recta, Stachys riederi, Stachys sieboldii, Stachys sieboldii (Miq.), tannins, ursolic acid, wood betony, woundwort.

  • The term "betony" is frequently used for many species of Stachys. Betony should not be confused with Canada lousewort (Pedicularis canadensis), which is also called wood betony.
  • Betony has been regarded as a cure-all by many societies including Greece, Italy, Spain, and Britain, as far back as 2,000 years ago. Its constituents include tannins, alkaloids and glycosides, which are typically the active ingredients in herbal remedies.
  • Its most commonly reported use is as a nervine (sedative or relaxing agent); the validity of this application has not been confirmed with clinical research.
  • Laboratory study has shown that betony may function as an anti-inflammatory, although this effect has not been confirmed. At this time, there are no clinical human trials supporting the use of betony for any indication.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Amenorrhea, anthelmintic (expels worms), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antipyretic (fever reducer), antiseptic, antispasmodic, anxiety, asthma, astringent, bronchitis, carminative (digestive aid), colds, diarrhea, diuretic, epilepsy, expectorant, gall bladder disorders, gout (foot inflammation), headache, heartburn, infection, hepatitis, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), hypertension (high blood pressure), kidney stones, liver health, nephritis (kidney inflammation), nervousness, neuralgia (nerve pain), pain, respiratory disorders, rheumatism, sedative, stimulation of digestion, stress, tension, tonic, urolithiasis (kidney/urinary tract stones), vertigo, vulnerary (wound healing).


Adults (18 years and older):

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for betony in adults. As an infusion, 2-4 grams dried herb infused in one cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes and ingested three times daily has been used traditionally. As a liquid extract (1:1 in 25% ethanol), 2-4 milliliters three times per day has been used. Also, 2-6 milliliters of tincture (1:5 in 45% ethanol) has been taken one to four times per day in water.

Children (younger than 18 years):

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for betony in children.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to betony or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • There are currently no high quality studies on the medicinal applications of betony. Based on traditional use and expert opinion, use betony cautiously in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) or hypotension (low blood pressure) due to potential hypotensive effects. Also use cautiously in patients with diabetes and hypoglycemia due to potential hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) effects.
  • Use cautiously in patients with gastrointestinal ulcers due to potential gastrointestinal irritation from betony's tannins.
  • Avoid in patients who are pregnant, or who are planning to become pregnant due to traditional use of betony for uterine stimulation.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Betony should not be used during pregnancy due to a traditional use indication for uterine stimulation (amenorrhea), suggesting a possibility of premature birth or miscarriage. Betony is not recommended in breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.


Interactions with Drugs

  • Although not well studied in humans, Stachys lavandulifolia has anxiolytic activity. Caution is advised when taking betony with other anxiolytics or sedatives.
  • Betony may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also alter blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Betony contains glycosides and may have hypotensive activity. Caution is advised in patients taking blood-pressure lowering agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Although not well studied in humans, Stachys lavandulifolia has anxiolytic activity. Caution is advised when taking betony with other herbs with potential anti-anxiety or sedative effects.
  • Betony may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Betony may alter blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that may also alter blood pressure.

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

  1. Ahmad VU, Arshad S, Bader S, et al. New phenethyl alcohol glycosides from Stachys parviflora. J Asian Nat Prod Res 2006;8(1-2):105-111.
  2. Duarte MC, Figueira GM, Sartoratto A, et al. Anti-Candida activity of Brazilian medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol 2-28-2005;97(2):305-311.
  3. Erdemoglu N, Turan NN, Cakici I, et al. Antioxidant activities of some Lamiaceae plant extracts. Phytother Res 2006;20(1):9-13.
  4. Hayashi K, Nagamatsu T, Ito M, et al. Acteoside, a component of Stachys sieboldii MIQ, may be a promising antinephritic agent (2): Effect of acteoside on leukocyte accumulation in the glomeruli of nephritic rats. Jpn J Pharmacol 1994;66(1):47-52.
  5. Khanavi M, Sharifzadeh M, Hadjiakhoondi A, et al. Phytochemical investigation and anti-inflammatory activity of aerial parts of Stachys byzanthina C. Koch. J Ethnopharmacol 3-21-2005;97(3):463-468.
  6. Kukic J, Petrovic S, Niketic M. Antioxidant activity of four endemic Stachys taxa. Biol Pharm Bull 2006;29(4):725-729.
  7. Maleki N, Garjani A, Nazemiyeh H, et al. Potent anti-inflammatory activities of hydroalcoholic extract from aerial parts of Stachys inflata on rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;75(2-3):213-218.
  8. Matkowski A, Piotrowska M. Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities of some medicinal plants from the Lamiaceae. Fitoterapia 2006;77(5):346-353.
  9. Rabbani M, Sajjadi SE, Zarei HR. Anxiolytic effects of Stachys lavandulifolia Vahl on the elevated plus-maze model of anxiety in mice. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;89(2-3):271-276.
  10. Shin TY. Stachys riederi inhibits mast cell-mediated acute and chronic allergic reactions. Immunopharmacol. Immunotoxicol 2004;26(4):621-630.
  11. Skaltsa HD, Demetzos C, Lazari D, et al. Essential oil analysis and antimicrobial activity of eight Stachys species from Greece. Phytochemistry 2003;64(3):743-752.
  12. Skaltsa HD, Lazari DM, Chinou IB, et al. Composition and antibacterial activity of the essential oils of Stachys candida and S. chrysantha from southern Greece. Planta Med 1999;65(3):255-256.
  13. Skaltsa H, Bermejo P, Lazari D, et al. Inhibition of prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene C4 in mouse peritoneal macrophages and thromboxane B2 production in human platelets by flavonoids from Stachys chrysantha and Stachys candida. Biol Pharm Bull 2000;23(1):47-53.
  14. Stamatis G, Kyriazopoulos P, Golegou S, et al. In vitro anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of Greek herbal medicines. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;88(2-3):175-179.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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