Friday, October 26, 2007

The Greatness of Wood Betony

So while in the Clinic today, I decided to poke around some of the books in the library there, and looked up wood betony, of course. I found an interesting two volume text called The Energetics of Western Herbs, by Peter Holmes. It talks about lots of western herbs in terms of chinese energetics, that is fascinating, if a bit confusing to a western practitioner with little or no knowledge of chinese diagnosis or energetics. BUT, I knew enough to look over the descriptions of Wood Betony, and found that some of my sneaking suspicions about wood betony that I'd gleaned over a week of taking it as an Herb of the Week last semester, were echoed quite clearly in the entry.

Functions and uses listed for wood betony are as follows
1. circulates qi and loosens constraint, frees spasms and relieves pain
including liver yang rising, plus constrained qi of lung, uterus and bladder,
2. Nerve dificiency with weakness, mental dullness, depression and local paralysis or numbness
3. causes sweating (diaphoretic) releases the exterior, scatters wind heat
lung phlegm/damp heat
4. clears stasis, promotes excretions
lliver qi stagnatation with pain, swelling, constipation, jaundice and water retention
kidney qi stagnation with skin rash and poor appetite
5. Stimulates the uterus, promotes menstrual and labor contractions
uterus qi stagnation with delayed and cramping menses
spasmodic dysmennorhea
difficult, painful and stalled labor.
6.promotes tissue repair, dries mucuous damp, restrains infection and antidotes poison
think wound healer!!!

he also calls it a trophorestorative to the nervous system! There aren't too many trophorestorative herbs out there, so it is awsome to find one that might be considered such!

my experience with it is that it is supberb as a digestive system tonic and restorative, and an excellent nervine/sedative/relaxant. One of my top few. I dont much care for valerian, and this herb works a charm for calming down an uptight mind, body, or releasing tension anywhere that prevents relaxation and sleep.
Yay for wood betony!


tansy said...

funny, i just started reading up on betony a few days ago and now it's popping up everywhere! it's definitely on my to-grow list for 2008.

what does trophorestorative mean?

Kiva Rose said...

Oh, yay, I'm so glad you're so excited!!!

The Holmes book is interesting but read it with a watchful eye, because it's definitely got some errors, too much research and not enough practice perhaps. For a better energetic summary of fewer herbs Jeremy Ross's Combining Western Herbs and Chinese Medicine is very good.

It's interesting to look at the patterns similar to Motherwort, Blisswort, certain Agastaches and Wood Betony. They have a great deal in common but place different emphasis on different areas in the body. Blisswort and Wood Betony are probably the best nerve trophorestoratives of the bunch.

I do think there's more nerve trophorestoratives then generally recognized, including Vervain, Blisswort, Borage, Milky Oats, perhaps Lavender and most definitely Sage.

Yay for Wood Betony!

Shamana Flora said...

yeah, paul has issued that same warning about the book. I've looked at the other book as well, but it didn't have wood betony in it.
I was just mostly excited because a lot of the info i'd gleaned from just using the herb myself, was echoed in that entry.

darin was just commenting last night about the amazingness of mint family plants....

"The mother of us all, the oldest of us all, Hard, splendid as rock, Let the beauty you love, be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth"~ Rumi ~