The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Lamb’s Ear

Scientific Names

Lamb's Ear

  • Stachys byzantina
  • Stachys lanata
  • Stachys olympica
  • Lamiaceae family

Common Names

  • Big Ears
  • Lamb’s Tongue
  • Silver Carpet
  • Wood Betony
  • Woolly Betony
  • Woolly Hedgenettle

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Parts Usually Used


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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Lamb's Ear

Lamb’s Ear can grow to a height of 12-18 inches in hardiness zones 4-8 and yields tall purple flower heads in May through July. The fuzzy leaves of the plant produce a smell like that of apple when crushed. The flowering spikes are 10–22 cm long, producing verticillasters that each have many flowers and are crowded together over most of the length on the spike-like stem.

For maximum medicinal properties, harvest the aerial parts of the plant in mid-summer as it is beginning to flower.

Here are some of the more common cultivars :

  • Big Ears – leaves very large, up to 25 cm long.
  • Cotton Boll – a sterile cultivar that does not produce flowering stems. Asexually propagated.
  • Primrose Heron – leaves yellow in spring; flowers pink
  • Sheila Macqueen – sterile; low-growing; leaves large.
  • Silky Fleece – grows 25 cm tall with lilac-plum flowers, produce smaller white-woolly foliage. Seed propagated.
  • Silver Carpet – sterile; leaves grey. Asexually propagated.
  • Striped Phantom – leaves variegated.

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Where Found

Lamb’s ear is native to Turkey, Armenia, and Iran, but it is cultivated over much of the temperate world as an ornamental plant
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Medicinal Properties

Its vulnerary, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, and astringent properties come from the flavonoids and iridoids present within the plant.

Stachys byzantina extract has shown antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to vancomycin.

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Biochemical Information

Chemical constituents of the plant include betonicine, stachydrene, and trigonelline, all of which are alkaloids. Tannins are also present in the plant.

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Legends, Myths and Stories

Lamb's Ear

The plant is sometimes called Silver Carpet because of its silvery appearance in moonlight.

Some superstitious people believe Lamb’s Ear to possess the magical powers to heal emotional and spiritual wounds.

Often planted in children’s gardens because it’s so fun to touch.

The Boy Scouts used to use lamb’s ear for toilet paper.

Bandages of Lamb’s Ear were applied to wounds and bruises in medieval times due to their effectiveness in wound healing.

Lambs Ear is quite popular for a multitude of insects and Hummingbirds but in particular bees. One special type of bee known as the Wool Carder Bee actually collects the fuzz off of the Lamb’s Ear’s leaves to use for making nests in decayed wood.

Bumble bees like to congregate in morning hours to collect water in the form of condensation that collects on the fuzz of the Lamb’s Ear’s leaves.

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Lamb’s ear has a sedative effect on the central nervous system, but it has been indicated for use in many other conditions including, but not limited to, dropsy, hypertension, dyspepsia, bladder stone, asthma, depression, gout, headache, kidney stone, nephrosis, neuralgia, menstrual cramps, joint pains, diarrhea relief, dysentery, and sore throat.

Because of its antiseptic properties, the plant is an effective wound healer and may be used as a bandage, poultice, wash, or mouthwash for the healing of wounds, including cankers of the mouth.

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Formulas or Dosages

An infusion may be prepared by allowing one teaspoon of the dried aerial parts to steep in one cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. The infusion should be drunk three times daily to ease menstrual cramps, joint pains, diarrhea relief, and for dysentery. A tincture may also be prepared for the same use, and should be taken in the amount of one to two milliliters, three times daily.

For treatment of headache and neuralgia from anxiety and nervousness, an infusion may be prepared from 1-2 teaspoons of the dried aerial parts infused in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. The infusion may be drunk three times daily. Alternatively, 2-6 milliliters of a tincture made from the aerial parts may be taken three times daily.
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Resource Links

The Medicinal Herb Gardens at ONU: Lamb’s Ear: Stachys byzantina, Lamb’s Toungue, Woolly Betony

Wikipedia: Stachys byzantina

Denton County Master Gardener’s Association: Lamb’s Ear

Missouri Botanical Gardens: Stachys byzantina

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Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

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