There are many Verbena spp. that have been used throughout the world for centuries. Many of these species have been used interchangeably. In Europe, Verbena officinalis was most commonly used. Many herbalists believe that Verbena hastata, or blue vervain, can be used in a similar way
The Verbena species as a whole has a colorful history full of folklore and traditional uses. It’s said that vervain was used in ceremonies by the Druids of ancient Britain and Gaul. In the Middle Ages, vervain was used as a symbol of good luck. Vervain can be placed throughout the home or burned as an incense to offer protection, invite peace into the space, and attract wealth.
Dioscorides, in the first century AD, called vervain the “sacred herb.” In 1875, Dr. O. P. Borwan said of vervain, “A more valuable plant is not found within the whole range of the herbal pharmacopoeia.” Hippocrates spoke of pairing red clover with vervain as a perfect combination to ease nearly every discomfort. It also has a long history of use in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Vervain has been taken for many centuries for a wide variety of complaints. It’s commonly used as a nervous system tonic, for supporting menstrual cycle health, liver and kidney support, as a digestive aide, to encourage a healthy immune response to fevers and seasonal bugs, for healthy sleep cycles, and more. Let’s take a deeper look into each of these uses below.
Blue Vervain is a galactogogue, meaning that it can encourage the production of milk. It can also support optimal breast health for nursing mothers. Research indicates the herb encourages healthy estrogen and progestogen levels. It supports the muscles of the womb, making it a useful herb for labor.
Blue Vervain offers support for irregular or absent menstrual cycles. It can be especially helpful in the second half of the menstrual cycle to support a healthy response to shifting hormones. It is also reported to be useful in helping to release heat from the body associated with menopausal hot flashes.
Because of its phenomenal ability to support women’s health in all stages, blue vervain is used in several WishGarden formulas, including PMS Emotional, Progesteronic Support, Fertility Prep and other practitioner formulas to support healthy labor and menopause.
Blue Vervain offers superb respiratory support, encouraging bronchial health and healthy mucosal response in the lungs. It can be soothing for cough and encourages a healthy immune response to fever. It offers reliable immune support for many seasonal bugs.
Blue Vervain is a bitter herb, making it a useful herbal tonic that supports healthy digestion. It can also encourage the healthy absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract. Because of its extreme bitterness, the recommended amount should always be followed carefully, as it can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea with high doses.
Support for Nervous System and Overall Well-being
Blue Vervain is considered a relaxing and stimulating nervine, a restorative herb with the ability to encourage mental and spiritual clarity. It offers useful nervous system support for those who tend to hold frustration and tension, and who are mentally and/or physically overexerting themselves. Blue Vervain as a tea or tincture can support the body in relaxing and releasing tension, especially when it is held in the neck and shoulders.
Vervain flower essence can be very helpful in encouraging an overall sense of well-being. It’s recommended for intense individuals who have a hard time relaxing. It’s helpful for those who overexert themselves, taking on too much and forgetting to enjoy life. These individuals tend to be irritable and nervous, have strong opinions and try to convert others to their way of thinking and have a strong dislike of getting sick because it will slow them down. Taking vervain flower essence can encourage these individuals to remain enthusiastic and inspired, while helping to create healthy life/work balance with plenty of self-care. It may also help these persons more fully accept themselves, and others, for who they are.
Kidney and Liver Support
The name vervain comes from the Celtic “ferfaen” – fer (to drive away) and faen (a stone), hinting at its most common folk use: that it helps support optimum kidney health. This herb can be found in WishGarden’s Kidney Strengthener formula. Blue vervain can also support healthy liver function, including effective liver clearance, and can also support a healthy inflammatory response.
It was believed that placing vervain in your bedroom could help to bring tranquil sleep. Today, vervain is often used to support healthy sleep. The herb itself is bitter and is best combined with other herbs and honey for taste.
The tea of blue vervain taken internally is useful for irritating skin conditions. It is also useful as a wash, compress and poultice to support healthy inflammatory response in the skin. It’s reported that poultice is also useful to soothe sore muscles and strains. Using the tea as a mouthwash can promote healthy gums and soothe mouth ulcers.
With all of these uses in mind, it’s easy to see why it’s a good idea to keep blue vervain in your home wellness kit. I recommend having simples of the tincture and dried herb, as a well as the flower essence, on hand. And as a bonus, you can keep an eye out for formulas that include blue vervain, such as the WishGarden formulas listed above that address women’s health and kidney support.
And here’s a gentle nighttime tea blend to keep on hand for those nights when you need some extra support drifting off to sleep.
Nighttime Tea Blend Recipe
Use equal parts:
- lemon grass
- blue vervain
- rose hips
- honey to taste
Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier
Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore
Mother Earth Living (https://www.motherearthliving.com/in-the-garden/discovering-the-vervain-plant-part-1)
A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year by Ellen Evert Hopman
Herbal Vade Mecum by Gazmend Skenderi
Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth by Dr. Sharol Marie Tilgner
The Encyclopedia of Bach Flower Therapy by Mechthild Scheffer
The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Greene
Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech
The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism by Matthew Wood
© Photo by Amy Malek.
Writer Amy Malek, CCN, CCH, INHC is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Certified Clinical Herbalist, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Flower Essence Practitioner. She discovered her love for plants in the Sonoran Desert while living in Tucson, AZ. She has been studying plants of the Mountain West and Southwest for 10 years. Her many teachers include Paul Bergner, Rosemary Gladstar, Dr. Aviva Romm, Lisa Ganora, Kat MacKinnon, Erin Smith, John Slattery and Charles Kane. Her career is divided between Holistic Health, Graphic/Web Design and Marketing/Social Media Consulting. She is currently WishGarden’s Social Media Coordinator. She lives in Boulder County, CO. She enjoys wildcrafting and growing her own medicinal plants and making a variety herbal remedies. You can learn more about her practice on her website, www.wholeheart-wellness.com.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.