Wood Betony.

Plate 04. Betonica sylvestris.

A COMMON wild herb, but of very great virtue. It is frequent in our woods and among bushes, and flowers in June. The stalks are almost naked and a foot high, and the flowers are purple. There grow many leaves from the root; they have long stalks, and are broad, above an inch long, of a blackish green colour, and hairy, blunt at the point, and indented about the edges. The stalks are square, of a dark colour, hairy, and not very strong. The leaves of them are very few, and very distant; but they stand two at a joint, and are like the others. The flowers stand at the tops in form of a kind of thick short spike; they are small and purple, and of the shape of the flowers of mint.

Betony is to be gathered when just going to flower. It is excellent for disorders of the head, and for all nervous complaints. The habitual use of it will cure the most inveterate head-aches. It may be taken as tea or dried and powdered. Some mix it with tobacco and smoke it, but this is a more uncertain method.

There is a tall plant with small purple flowers growing by waters, thence and from the shape of the leaves called water betony, but it has none of the virtues of this plant; it is a kind of fig-wort, and possesses the virtues of that plant, but in an inferior degree.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.