Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
Vervain is native to North America and Europe, and can be found growing along roadsides, in open fields and in waste places. This plant grows erect to a height of two or three feet, with square stems. Small pale lilac flowers grow on spikes in a panicle from June to September. The plant should be harvested right before the flowers open. It is edible as well as medicinal. This was once a sacred plant of the Druids. Traditionally, it was thought to be a female aphrodisiac, and was once strung around the necks of children to prevent infection.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Vervain can be taken as an infusion for insomnia and nervous tension. It also encourages sweating and stimulates the immune system to fight fevers. This herb can stimulate the appetite and improve digestive function. It increases the absorption of food nutrients. Herbal tea can be taken during labor to stimulate contractions and during breastfeeding to encourage good milk production. The tincture can be taken for nervous exhaustion, anxiety and depression. It will stimulate the liver to help toxic conditions and jaundice.
It can be used as a healing tonic for people who are convalescing after a long illness. In Chinese medicine it is used for migraine headaches that are connected with the menstrual cycle. It is effective for tension headaches as well. Some people have used the herb for asthma and insomnia as well. It is a diuretic.
Externally Vervain can be used as a poultice for insect bites, bruises and sprains. It has been used as an ointment for eczema, weeping sores and wounds as well as the pain of neuralgia. The infusion can be taken as a mouthwash to heal mouth ulcers and spongy gums.
Other Uses It is used as a Bach flower remedy for mental stress and over-exertion with insomnia and the inability to relax.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Aerial parts The aerial parts are used medicinally.
Excessive does may cause vomiting. Do not take vervain during pregnancy since it stimulates contractions and may bring on bleeding.
Preparation and Dosage
A vervain tincture can be taken in a dose of 2 to 4 ml three times per day.
To make an infusion, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of dried vervain to 1 cup of boiling water. Steep the herb for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink this herbal tea three times per day.