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(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)
Anemone (wood)

Least Viewed Herbs

(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)
Anemone (wood)


Few, if any, herbal plants have been more praised for their
supposed curative virtues than the Wood Betony (Stachys
Betonica), belonging to the order of Labiates. By the common
people it is often called Bitny. The name Betonica is from the
Celtic ben, head, and tonic, good, in allusion to the usefulness
of the herb against infirmities of the head. It is of frequent growth
in shady woods and meadows, having aromatic leaves, and spikes
(stakoi) of light purple flowers. Formerly it was held in the very
highest esteem as a leading herbal simple. The Greeks loudly
extolled its good qualities. Pliny, in downright raptures, styled it
ante cunctas laudatissima! An old Italian proverb ran thus:
Vende la tunica en compra la Betonia, Sell your coat, and buy
Betony; whilst modern Italians, when speaking of a most
excellent man, say, [49] He has as many virtues as Betony--He
piu virtu che Bettonica.

In the Medicina Britannica, 1666, we read: I have known the
most obstinate headaches cured by daily breakfasting for a month
or six weeks on a decoction of Betony, made with new milk, and

Antonius Musa, chief physician to the Emperor Augustus, wrote a
book entirely on the virtues of this herb. Meyrick says, inveterate
headaches after resisting every other remedy, have been cured by
taking daily at breakfast a decoction made from the leaves and
tops of the Wood Betony. Culpeper wrote: This is a precious herb
well worth keeping in your house. Gerard tells that Betony
maketh a man have a good appetite to his meat, and is commended
against ache of the knuckle bones (sciatica).

A pinch of the powdered herb will provoke violent sneezing. The
dried leaves formed an ingredient in Rowley's British Herb Snuff,
which was at one time quite famous against headaches.

And yet, notwithstanding all this concensus of praise from writers
of different epochs, it does not appear that the Betony, under
chemical analysis and research, shows itself as containing any
special medicinal or curative constituents. It only affords the
fragrant aromatic principles common to most of the labiate plants.

Parkinson, who enlarged the Herbal of Gerard, pronounced the
leaves and flowers of Wood Betony, by their sweet and spicy
taste, comfortable both in meate and medicine. Anyhow, Betony
tea, made with boiling water poured on the plant, is a safe drink,
and likely to prove of benefit against languid nervous headaches;
and the dried herb may be smoked as tobacco for relieving the
same ailment. To make Betony tea, put two ounces of [50] the
herb to a quart of water over the fire, and let this gradually simmer
to three half-pints. Give a wine-glassful of the decoction three
times a day. A conserve may be made from the flowers for similar
purposes. The Poet Laureate, A. Austin, mentions lye of Betony
to soothe the brow. Both this plant, and the Water Betony--so
called from its similarity of leaf--bear the name of Kernel-wort,
from having tubers or kernels attached to the roots, and from being
therefore supposed, on the doctrine of signatures, to cure diseased
kernels or scrofulous glands in the neck; also to banish piles from
the fundament.

But the Water Betony (Figwort) belongs not to the labiates, but to
the Scrophulariaceoe, or scrofula-curing order of plants. It
is called in some counties brown-wort, and in Yorkshire
bishopsleaves, or, l'herbe du siege, which term has a double
meaning--in allusion both to the seat in the temple of Cloacina
(W.C.) and to the ailments of the lower body in connection
therewith, as well as to the more exalted See of a Right
Reverend Prelate. In old times the Water figwort was famous as
a vulnerary, both when used externally, and when taken in
decoction. The name brown-wort has been got either from the
brown colour of the stems and flowers, or, more probably, from its
growing abundantly about the brunnen, or public German
fountains. Wasps and bees are fond of the flowers. In former days
this herb was relied on for the cure of toothache, and for expelling
the particular disembodied spirit, or mare, which visited our
Saxon ancestors during their sleep after supper, being familiarly
known to them as the nightmare. The Echo was in like manner
thought by the Saxons to be due to a spectre, or mare, which
they called the wood mare. The Water [51] Betony is said to
make one of the ingredients in Count Mattaei's noted remedy,
anti-scrofuloso. The Figwort is named in Somersetshire crowdy-kit
(the word kit meaning a fiddle), or fiddlewood, because if two of
the stalks are rubbed together, they make a noise like the scraping
of the bow on violin strings. In Devonshire, also, the plant is
known as fiddler.

An allied Figwort--which is botanically called nodosa, or
knotted--is considered, when an ointment is made with it, using
the whole plant bruised and treated with unsalted lard, a sovereign
remedy against burnt holes or gangrenous chicken-pox, such as
often attacks the Irish peasantry, who subsist on a meagre and
exclusively vegetable diet, being half starved, and pent up in
wretched foul hovels. This herb is said to be certainly curative of
hydrophobia, by taking every morning whilst fasting a slice of
bread and butter on which the powdered knots of the roots have
been spread, following it up with two tumblers of fresh spring
water. Then let the patient be well clad in woollen garments and
made to take a long fast walk until in a profuse perspiration. The
treatment should be continued for nine days. Again, the botanical
name of a fig, ficus, has been commonly applied to a sore or
scab appearing on a part of the body where hair is, or to a red sore
in the fundament, i.e., to a pile. And the Figwort is so named in
allusion to its curative virtues against piles, when the plant is made
into an ointment for outward use, and when the tincture is taken
internally. It is specially visited by wasps.

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