HomeHerb DatabaseAmerican Vervain Tuesday, September 23, 2014  
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Blue Vervain

  • Verbena hastata L.
  • Verbenaceae
  • Verbena family



Common Names

herbsAmerican vervain
herbsFalse vervain
herbsIndian hyssop
herbsPurvain
herbsSimpler's joy
herbsTraveler's joy
herbsVervain
herbsWild hyssop


Parts Usually Used

Roots, leaves, stems


Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Blue vervain is a bristly, erect, perennial; the quadrangular stem reaches a height of 2-5 feet and bears leaves that are oblong-lanceolate, gradually acuminate, serrate, and 3-6 inches long. Some of the lower leaves are lobed at the base, making good on the botanical name. The small, deep blue or purplish-blue flowers are sessile in dense spikes, 2-3 inches long, which are arranged in a panicle. The fruit consists of 4 nutlets which ripen soon after the plant flowers. Blooms in July and seed ripen soon after.

Another variety: Verbena officinalis L., known also as vervain, was used by the Druids, Egyptians, Persians, and British herbalists for a vast range of ailments, but vervain is no longer considered to have healing properties. It is grown as an ornamental for its small purple flowers. An old legend reputes vervain to have been used to staunch the wounds of Christ on Calvary. (The legend not clear on whether this statement referred to V. officinalis or V. hastata).

Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla L.) of the verbena family, sometimes called "queen of the lemons", is a tropical shrub native to Central and South America introduced to Europe by Spanish explorers. Not considered a medicinal herb, but rather valued for its unparalleled fresh lemony scent and essential oils. Also called Lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora, Kunth.) is a native of the Americas that has spread throughout the world. Not found medicinally helpful.

The Chinese use Verbena officinalis, called vervain. The Chinese name is Ma-pien-ts'ao. Used for dropsy, malaria, dysentery.


Where Found

Native to the northern United States and Canada, found also in England. Fields, thickets, waste places, in dry hard soils, along roadsides.


Medicinal Properties

Antiperiodic, diaphoretic, emetic, expectorant, tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary, sudorific, nervine, emmenagogue


Biochemical Information

Essential oil, mucilage, tannin, verbenaline, and verbenine


Legends, Myths and Stories

Historically, blue vervain has been associated with sorcerers, witches, and magic. In ancient times, it was bruised and worn about the neck as a charm against headaches and venomous bites. An old legend reputes vervain to have been used to staunch the wounds of Christ on Calvary.

It was the divine weed that was sprinkled on the altars of Jupiter, the herba veneris employed in rites of love and a sacred plant (hiera botane) of the Druids. Latter-day magicians wear a crown of vervain as protection during the evocation of demons. Blue vervain, an ancient herb used by Druids, Egyptians, Persians, and British herbalists for a vast range of ailments, is no longer considered to have healing properties. Grown today for ornamental purposes.


Uses

Used for fever, colds, flu, pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, consumption, chronic ague, canker sores, eyedrops strengthens the optic nerve and clears vision, scrofula, will increase menstrual flow, good for malaria, jaundice, excellent for shortness of breath and wheezing, inflammation, dysentery, diarrhea, douche for leukorrhea, expels worms, nerves, migraines, epilepsy, delirium, headaches, plague, insomnia, skin disorders, female disorders, and stomach, bowel, cystitis, and colon problems. Helps expel phlegm from throat and chest. Considered a blood tonic. Externally, the tea heals sores, wounds, neuralgia, snakebite, vaginal itching, and ulcers.


Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: use 2 tsp. rootstock or herb with 1 pint of boiling water. For a tonic, take 2-3 tsp., 6 times a day, cold.

Tincture: take 10-20 drops at a time.


How Sold

Capsules


Warning

Avoid blue vervain during pregnancy; it is a uterine stimulant; may be taken during labor.

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