The healing power of toonie

Betonie is a perennial plant and grows 30 to 80 centimeters high. The flowers of toonie are red, dark pink and very rarely white. The plant can be found in Europe up to the 58th parallel, West Asia and North Africa. It prefers to grow in woodland areas; areas where there is an occasional tree or bush. These areas are rare in the Netherlands and that is one of the reasons why toonie is almost extinct here. Bees, bumblebees, butterflies and hoverflies come to the concrete and pollinate it. The plant is not really edible, but a tea can be made from the leaves and flowers; This tea can also be used medicinally. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing concrete / Source: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)


  • Traditional use
  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Betony, good for the nerves
  • Betony, good for liver and bile
  • Betonie inhibits inflammation
  • External application concrete
  • Dose and safety
  • Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Traditional use

In traditional folk medicine, toonie is used against fever, epilepsy, nervous weakness, gout, cough and lung disorders. Dioscorides, pioneer of medicine and herbal science, already contains concrete for nervous diseases. It was also used for diseases caused by spells. Even Erasmus discussed the fact that people wore an amulet of concrete against fearful visions. Betonie was used against so many diseases that the plant was used to make a universal panacea; a medicine against all diseases. In addition, toonie used to be planted in church cemeteries to scare away ghosts. A tea was made from it to utilize the medicinal properties of Betonie. Nicholas Culpeper wrote that toonie was good against epidemic diseases of the liver and the whole body. Betonie was recommended by Culpeper for many illnesses, from bites by a mad dog to fatigue from travel. John Gerard wrote that concrete makes urination easier.


In Latin, toonie is called Betonica officinalis . A Latin synonym of this plant is Stachys officinalis . In Dutch we have some alternative names: Feverwort, Betonica and Beteuniebloem. The name toonie comes from Celtic; it is a combination of the words ‘bew’ which means head and ‘ton’ which means good in Celtic. It actually means ‘good head’ and that refers to the fact that the plant is traditionally used against headaches.

Active substances

The herb growing above ground is used for phytotherapeutic purposes. It contains the following important active ingredients: tannins, alkaloids such as betonicin and stachydrine, choline, turicin, caffeic acid, bitter substance and traces of essential oil.

Betony, good for the nerves

Betony is a nervinum; this means that it acts on the nervous system. It has a strengthening effect on the nerves and relieves nervous tension. In addition, it has been shown in the laboratory that it has blood pressure lowering properties. Because of these medicinal effects, toonie is used by phytotherapists for the following indications:

  • Weak nerves,
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure,
  • Neuralgia due to stress,
  • Headache due to stress.

Betony, good for liver and bile

The bitter substances in toonie have an appetite-stimulating and stomach-strengthening effect. It improves the composition of bile. Bile is important for digestion. Because toonie supports bile function, food can be digested more adequately, thus benefiting the entire body. Betony is often used in combination with other medicinal plants that support liver and bile function.

Betonie inhibits inflammation

Tannins in toonie have an astringent effect on the mouth and pharynx and on the intestinal mucous membranes. In addition, it has an anti-inflammatory effect. These medicinal properties are reason for herbalists to prescribe concrete for the following indications:

Betonica officinalis / Source: Dr. Killer, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Gingivitis or gingivitis,
  • Stomatitis or oral mucosal inflammation,
  • Angina, pharyngitis or sore throat,
  • Enteritis or intestinal inflammation,
  • Diarrhea.

External application concrete

The astringent effect in combination with the anti-inflammatory effect is responsible for better healing of wounds. In phytotherapy it is mainly used for one of the following problems:

  • Wounds that are difficult to heal
  • Infected wounds,
  • festering wounds,
  • Ulcus cruris or varicose vein ulcers.

Dose and safety

There are a number of ways to use this medicinal plant.

  • Infusion: boil one to two teaspoons of herb three times a day for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Tincture: two to six ml of tincture (1:5 in 40%) three times a day.
  • At these therapeutic doses, no side effects of toonie are known.

Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Much of the information about the medicinal plant mentioned in this article comes from the book Groot Handboek Medicinal Plants by Geert Verhelst. That is a handbook in phytotherapy. However, it is not suitable for self-healing. Anyone who suffers from something should consult a doctor or herbal therapist for a good diagnosis and choice of the best remedies, tailored to your personal situation. The knowledge and science mentioned here is of a purely informative nature.