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By Witchipedia, Herbs

Betony: Folklore & Magickal Attributes

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Betony (Stachy Officinalis) is a woodland perennial and a member of the mint family with its characteristic square stem and bilabiate flowers. The flowers are lavender in color and appear in whorls from June through August. The leaves and stems are hairy and fragrant. The plant appears along woodland edges and can reach up to two feet in height. Betony is a European native that has naturalized over much of the United States and is considered a weed in many areas.

Betony betonica officinalis is also known as; St Brid’s Comb, Stachys betonica, woundwort, common hedge nettle, lousewort, purple betony, bishop wort, bishop’s elder, spiked betony.


This herb’s reputation as a protective plant is rooted in its historical use as a charm to ward off evil spirits and negative energies.

Betony’s magical attributes include enhancing psychic abilities, promoting restful sleep, and strengthening one’s mental clarity.

In households, it has served as a remedy for various ailments, from headaches to digestive issues, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

The use of betony in rituals and spells can amplify one’s psychic abilities, increase personal power, and provide protection during magical endeavors.

History and Folklore

The name betony is said to derive from a Celtic word bewton which means “good for the head”.

The Egyptians regarded betony as a magical herb. A Spanish saying, “He has as many values as betony,” shows the regard that people had for the plant. The Romans listed 47 different medicinal uses for betony and believed that even wild beasts used betony as medicine, and would seek it out when wounded.

Protective CharmBetony has long been regarded as a protective herb, believed to ward off evil spirits and protect against witchcraft.
Healing PowersIn traditional folk medicine, Betony was used to treat various ailments, including headaches, digestive issues, and respiratory problems.
Symbol of Good Luck and ProsperityBetony was sometimes carried as a talisman to attract good luck, abundance, and prosperity.
Dream EnhancerIt is said that placing Betony leaves under your pillow can enhance dreams, bring about clarity, and provide insights into the subconscious.
Warding Against NightmaresBetony was often hung above beds or placed in dream pillows to protect against nightmares and promote restful sleep.
Table 1: Folklore and Legends

A common traditional use for betony was a guard against evil spirits and mischief. During the Middle Ages, it was planted in churchyards and worn in amulets for protection.

Household Use

Makes a chartreuse dye with an alum mordant.

Magical Attributes

Identified with attorlothe of the Nine Herbs Charm, Betony resonates with the energy of the planet Jupiter and the element fire and is masculine in nature.

Magickal PropertyCorrespondences
ProtectionBetony is associated with protection, warding off negative energies and shielding against harm.
HealingIt is believed to possess healing energies, promoting physical and emotional well-being.
PurificationBetony is used in purification rituals and spells, helping to cleanse and clear negative influences.
Enhancing Psychic AbilitiesSome practitioners use Betony to enhance their psychic abilities, intuition, and divination skills.
Strengthening SpellsBetony can be incorporated into spells aimed at strengthening personal energy, boundaries, and magical work.
Table 2: Magickal Properties of Betony

Betony can be added to any protective mixtures, grown around the home to protect it or carried on the person (especially under one’s hat) to protect from negativity, misfortune, and hexes. Scattered near doors prevents unwanted energies (and people) from entering. It has been planted in graveyards to prevent evil spirits from escaping.

Betony can be stuffed into a pillow or placed underneath to prevent nightmares and night terrors.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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