Medicinal Herbs Online

Herbal Glossary | Medicinal Glossary | Herbal Preparations | Ayervedic Formulas | Chinese Formulas
Folk Remedies | Native American Formulas | Herbal Remedies | Nutritional Guidelines


    Scientific Names

    • Verbena hastata L.
    • Verbenaceae
    • Verbena family

    Common Names

    ivyAmerican vervain
    ivyFalse vervain
    ivyIndian hyssop
    ivySimpler's joy
    ivyTraveler's joy
    ivyBlue Vervain
    ivyWild hyssop
    Back to Top

    Parts Usually Used

    Roots, leaves, stems
    Back to Top

    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.
    Back to Top

    Where Found

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

    Medicinal Properties

    Antiperiodic, diaphoretic, emetic, expectorant, tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary, sudorific, nervine, emmenagogue
    Back to Top

    Biochemical Information

    Essential oil, mucilage, tannin, verbenaline, and verbenine
    Back to Top

    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.
    Back to Top


    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.
    Back to Top

    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.
    Back to Top

    How Sold

    Back to Top


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

    Resource Links Vervain

    Back to Top


    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/i>, 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

    Back to Top
Gaiam Yoga Club

Copyright © 1996-2017 Lynn DeVries, all rights reserved.