Stachys byzantina is a low growing perennial native to Turkey, Armenia and Iran, but quite popular in whole Europe thanks to it's hardiness and atrative outlook. Today it is almost totaly forgotten as a herb. But it is probably one of those few herbs that Dioscorides was calling Sideritis, which comes from greek word ''sideros'' that means iron. This name indicated not only antibacterial properties helpfull in cases of wounds made by iron weapons. But also use of it's leaves as a wound dressing, thanks to it's wooliness.
CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING
Stachys byzantina is small perennial reaching around 80cm in hight and up to 2m in diameter. It cope well with strong sunlight, heats and droughts as well as severe frosts (-30'C). But it not tolerate shade and wet ground over longer period as well as acidic pH. It grows well on sandy, poor quality soil. Flowers appear in june.
Leaves and flowers can be used as an original, wolly, slightly bitter vegetable. For example in Brazil, where it is called Lambari, it is fried in batter.
Leaves and flowers of Stachys byzantina have been used for centuries, mainly for it's antibacterial, antiseptic, antipyretic and astringent properties. Laboratory studies confirmed those values of this herb, which are coused by flavonoids and tanins that it contain. Juice squized over stings reduces swellings. Infusions are helpfull with colds, diarrhea, throat and gums infections, asthma, internal bleedings, varicose veins and also strengthens liver and heart. Fresh leaves squeezed in order to release it's antiseptic, anti-inflammatory juices onto the surface are excelent cover for wounds and simmered and cooled, can be used as an eyewash for pikeye and sties.