This showy flowering plant in the broomrape family. The erect plant can grow to a height of 80 centimeters. Its sharply-toothed fernlike leaves are located low on the stout stem. The stem is topped with a large inflorescence of bright pink to purple or white flowers. Each flower has a long, pointed beak which curves upward, superficially resembling the trunk of an elephant, and the lateral lobes of the flower resemble an elephant's ears. Like other lousewort and related broomrape genera, this is a root parasite which obtains nutrients from the roots of other plants by piercing them with haustoria. This plant is found in the high mountain ranges of western North America, particularly the Cascades and High Sierra. It grows in wet environments such as riverbanks and blooms in mid to late spring.
Analgesic – For muscle pain and tension, particularly back pain, take 1/2 to 1 tsp. of tinctured flowering tops, as needed.
Cough aid – A tea of the dried flowering tops helps ease dry, hacking coughs. Use 1 tsp. per cup of boiling-hot water.
Sedative – Elephant Head Betony is used for its psychological effects, especially anger. fear, pain, anxiety. Take 1/2 to 1 tsp. as needed. For milder symptoms, steep one tsp. of the dried flowering herb in 1 cup boiling hot water. Sip slowly.
Sleep aid – For insomnia from exhaustion, hot flashes, or muscular cramps when falling asleep, take 1/2 tsp. of the tinctured flowering tops in a small amount of water at bedtime.
Stomach aid – A tea, using 1 tsp. of the dried flowering tops per cup of boiling hot water, eases upset stomach and nausea.
Constituents: Volatile oil (mostly monoterpenes) Flavonoids, including luteolin; Phenylpropanoids including verbascoside, echinacoside.