The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Vervain

Scientific Names

Vervain

  • Verbena hastata L.
  • Verbenaceae
  • Verbena family

Common Names

  • American vervain
  • False vervain
  • Indian hyssop
  • Purvain
  • Simpler’s joy
  • Traveler’s joy
  • Blue Vervain
  • Wild hyssop

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Parts Usually Used

Roots, leaves, stems
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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.
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Where Found

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

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

Essential oil, mucilage, tannin, verbenaline, and verbenine
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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.
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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.
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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.
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How Sold

Capsules
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Warning

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

Drugs.com: Vervain

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Bibliography

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Buy It! Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Company, Inc., West Nyack, NY, 1987.

Buy It! A Useful Guide to Herbal Health Care, HCBL (Health Center for Better Living).,1414 Rosemary Lane, Naples, FL 34103., Special Sale Catalog, 1996

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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