Other names: Verveine, Verbena, Brittanica, Enchanter’s Plant, Enchanter’s Herb, Herba Sacra, Juno’s Tears, Holy Wort, Lemon Verbena, Van-Van, Herb of Grace, Herb of the Cross, Pigeon’s Grass, Pigeonwood, Simpler’s Joy
High doses of verbenalin can cause nervous system paralysis resulting in stupor & convulsion. Allopathic medicine for high blood pressure can be effected by vervain. Uterus stimulation possible – avoid during pregnancy. Avoid if breast feeding. If allergies or fits use with caution.
Habitat: Europe, including Britain, from Denmark south and east to N. Africa, W. Asia to the Himalayas. Waste ground and roadsides, avoiding acid soils and shady positions.
Vervain, which has tonic and restorative properties, is sometimes used as a medicinal herb. It is useful when taken internally in the treatment of headaches, fevers, nervous exhaustion, depression, gall bladder problems, insufficient lactation etc. It should not be given to pregnant women, though it can be used to assist contractions during labour. Externally, it is used to treat minor injuries, eczema, sores, neuralgia and gum disease. The leaves and flowering stems are analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, stimulant, tonic and vulnerary. The plant is harvested as flowering begins in the summer and dried for later use. Some remarkable results have been obtained when using this plant in the treatment of certain tumours, but further research needs to be carried out before definite claims can be made. The root is astringent, it is used in the treatment of dysentery. This species was ranked 12th in a Chinese survey of 250 potential anti-fertility plants. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Strain’, ‘Stress’, ‘Tension’ and ‘Over-enthusiasm’.
Verbena officinalis is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It needs full sun. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
Cultivation of Vervain:
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Plants are very tolerant of neglect and will maintain themselves for a number of years even when growing in dense weed competition. Self-sows freely when growing in a suitable position. The growing plant attracts butterflies and moths.
Propagation of Vervain:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 3 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. If you have sufficient seed, it can also be sown in situ in late spring. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Basal cuttings in early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
Culinary uses of Vervain:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea. Leaves – parboiled, seasoned and then eaten. The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The flowers are used as a garnish.
Actions: Nervine tonic, sedative, anti-spasmodic, diaphoretic, hypotensive, galactagogue, hepatic. Part Used: Aerial parts.
Indications: Vervain is a herb that will strengthen the nervous system whilst relaxing any tension and stress. It can be used to ease depression and melancholia, especially when this follows illness such as influenza. Vervain may be used to help in seizure and hysteria. As a diaphoretic it can be used in the early stages of fevers. As a hepatic remedy it will be found of help in inflammation of the gall-bladder and jaundice. It may be used as a mouthwash against caries and gum disease.
King’s Dispensatory gives these uses: “Vervain is tonic, emetic, expectorant, and sudorific it has proved beneficial in intermittent fever, given in warm infusion or in powder. In all cases of colds and obstructed menstruation it may be used as a sudorific. Taken, the infusion forms a good tonic in some cases of debility, anorexia, and during convalescence from acute diseases. It has been reputed valuable in scrofula, visceral obstructions, gravel and worms. The following application has been recommended as effectual in promoting the absorption of the blood effused in bruises, and in allaying the attendant pain: Take of vervain, senna and white pepper, of each, equal parts. Make a cataplasm by mixing with the white of eggs.”
Preparations & Dosage of Vervain:
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-3 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.
Other uses of Vervain:
Esoteric uses of Vervain:
Protection, purification, money, youth, peace, healing, and sleep. Bury in the yard or keep in the home to encourage wealth, protect from lightning & storms, and bring peace. Put under the pillow to prevent nightmares. Use as an incense to end unrequited love. Use in prosperity spells. Carry to prevent depression and/or bring creativity. Use in cleansing baths and rituals before working magick. Use in amulets, sachets, dream pillows, and baths for all-purpose protection of home sand people (especially children).
- Iridoids, verbenin, verbenalin and bastatoside
- Miscellaneous; essential oil, mucilage and others.