Growing and Saving the Seed Of Betony
Latin name Stachys officinalis is a perennial member of the mint family. Its astringency and mild bitterness have made it a valued wound and digestive remedy, but its most popular modern use is in treating tension and pain-inducing migraines. Perennial in USDA zones 5-10.
This perennial herb was highly prized in the Middle Ages for its medicinal properties, and even an old Italian proverb says “sell your coat and buy Betony.” It is still found growing around ancient physic gardens and monasteries, where it was traditionally used to treat arthritis and gout.
- Seeds germinate in 30-90 days (a slow and irregular germinator).
- Direct sow in the garden during spring or summer, and cover lightly with soil.
- Prefers semi-shade or full sun.
- Suitable for well-drained, moist, sandy and loamy soils, but can grow in heavy clay soil.
- The entire plant is harvested on a July morning after the dew has evaporated, and the plant then dried and used to make tea.
- May mildew in very humid climates and can have problems with slugs.
- For slugs: keep mulch away from base of plants, and keep compost piles well away from garden.
- When flower heads are nearly dry, cut with stem.
- Strip leaves and bag flower heads in paper bags for 2-3 days.
- Shake to loosen seed in bag.
- Remove seed, let dry for a few days and store in paper envelope.
- Keep in a dry place.