Vervain herbs are used for centuries as medicines, and they have been known to treat everything from headaches to stomach aches. They were once thought to be nothing but myths, until the 19th century when a German chemist named Carl von Linné first isolated them. Since then, researchers have confirmed their medicinal properties and even synthesized some of the active ingredients. Blue Vervain (Veratrum album)
Blue vervain is one of the most popular varieties of vervain. It’s commonly used in herbal medicine because it has many beneficial effects. Its main use is to reduce inflammation and improve circulation, which helps with pain relief and fever reduction. It also acts as a diuretic, so it can help relieve constipation. Other uses include treating wounds and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Blue vervain may also help prevent cancer cells from spreading through your body. Blue vervain is often sold in bottles labeled “blue” or “vermilion.” Because of its high concentration of anthocyanins, blue vervain is sometimes called purple violet. It’s important not to confuse it with poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), which has a similar appearance. Vervain Herbal Information: Learn How To Grow Vervain Herb Plants
Vervain (Verbena officinalis) is a hardy flowering plant in the VERBENACEAE family, native to North and South America but cultivated elsewhere around the world, and naturalized in Britain. With its spikes of purple or pink flowers and its spreading habit, Vervain is often grown as a garden plant. The common name may also be written as “Vervain Verbena” or “True Vervain”. The names “herb Gerard” and “agrimony” are also used, but these better identify herbs from other plants in the Verbenaceae family. The species name of “officinalis” refers to its early use as a medicinal herb.
Qualities of Vervain
Vervain contains the essential oil protoverbenol, and is rich in alkaloids, flavonoids and tannins. The plant is an emmenagogue, diuretic, astringent, sedative, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, nervine and hypotensive. The herb is used for amenorrhoea, menorrhagia and leucorrhoea. Vervain can be used in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism and nervous complaints such as insomnia and hysteria. It has been used in the treatment of neuralgia, including that occurring as a result of pregnancy.
It is also used to treat fluid retention (oedema), premenstrual tension and irregular periods. Other traditional uses include treating menopausal problems and for promoting the onset of labour.
A tincture is used in herbal medicine today, taken internally or used as a wash or poultice. When taken internally it should be used with caution because the active ingredients can have a toxic effect if too much is taken. The herb is harvested when in flower and dried for later use.
Preparation and Dosage
Vervain may be taken orally in the form of a tincture, soaked in alcohol or vegetable glycerine and stored in brown glass bottles. The dosage is from 30 to 60 drop, up to three times a day. Tincture should be taken in diluted form (1:4 with water), never straight. Tinctures are best taken diluted in a little water just before eating. The dried herb may be smoked or made into an infusion or tea for the treatment of nervous complaints and as a sedative.
The dry or fresh herb can be infused with boiling water and drunk.
Some people use Vervain extensively to treat nervousness in the form of anxiety, excitability, poor memory and low energy. It is also taken to improve focus and concentration. Many herbalists also recommend combining Vervain with other herbs such as Oats and Damiana for these purposes. As with other herbs, Vervain should not be used on a daily basis for long periods of time. If taken over a period of weeks or months it is best to take a month off every few months.
The herb may cause diarrhoea so should not be taken by people with this condition. It may also worsen the condition in those with liver problems. It should not be used during pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding. Small doses have little effect on the uterus but it should not be used during labour. It may cause nausea or vomiting when taken in large doses.
Side effects may also include headaches, nervousness, depression, trembling, and restlessness. Other side effects may occur in some people and these should be reported to a doctor.
The herb is not recommended for use by children.
The leaves and flowering spikes can be used in herbal medicine.
Vervain is a good insect repellent, particularly for mosquitoes. It can be used in pot-pourri to keep away flies and mosquitoes, and the dried leaves can be placed around the house and in cupboards to repel insects.
The dried leaves can be smoked, or made into a tea and drunk to relieve pain and suppress menstruation.
The dried leaf is also an excellent polish for leather.
The flowering stems and leaves can be used to make green dye.
An essential oil can be obtained from the plant, mainly used in aftershave and perfumes.
The plant can be grown as a garden ornamental.
Vervain can cause convulsions and should not be taken by people with epilepsy. It should not be used by pregnant or lactating women, or those allergic to ragweed. Do not use in large doses or for long periods of time. A month break every few months is a good idea.
Do not use in large quantities, or for extended periods of time. It is generally considered safer to only use small quantities, when required. Large quantities can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Seek advice from a doctor before using during pregnancy.
The drug should not be used with other drugs or pills as adverse effects could occur.
Do not give to children.
Possible drug interactions include: Alcohol, cigarettes, nitrates, other medicines and narcotics. Tell your doctor if you are taking anything else.
Use in Pregnancy and Lactation
Vervain is not recommended during pregnancy or lactation. There is a risk of miscarriage and infertility.
Common Mistakes when Using Vervain
There are several species of the plant used in herbal medicine, Verbenaceae Verbena Officinalis, V. hastata and V. Pratensis. The species can be differentiated by the size and shape of the leaves and the overall height of the plant. All species are used in herbal medicine but V.
hastata is more commonly used.
Verbena can cause an allergic reaction in some people, particularly skin rashes and hives.
Verbena tea, pills, tinctures, extracts or oils should not be used during pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Children
As stated above, vernab is not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation. It can cause miscarriage and premature contractions.
Verbena is not safe for use in children and can cause side effects such as skin irritation and severe allergic reactions.
Preparation and Dosage
The dried leaves, seeds or flowers can be used for medicinal purposes. Dose is 200-600mg of dried herb.
Tincture dosage: 15-30 drops, 3 times a day.
Infusion dosage: 1 teaspoon of herb per cup of boiling water, steep for 10-15 minutes, 3 times a day.
Syrup dosage: 1 tablespoon 3 times a day.
Salve or ointment: the flowers and leaves can be mixed with a little butter or lard.
Tea: can be made with flowers or leaves, 1 teaspoon per cup, steep for 10-15 minutes, 3 times a day.
Cream or lotion: the flowers and leaves can be mixed with a little liquid like water or vegetable oil.
As stated above, vernab is generally safe and non-toxic, but as with all medicines you should seek the advice of your doctor before using it.
Interactions with Other Drugs
There are no known interactions with alcohol.
No interactions have been reported with tobacco, anti-depressants, antibiotics, aspirin or other pain killers.
It may increase the effects of sedatives and sleeping pills.
There is little information on dosages for dogs or cats.
It isn’t recommended for use in animals as there is limited information on how it affects them.
Interactions with Other Plants
Vervain is often used with chamomile, calendula, St.John’s wort and lavender. There are no known negative interactions.
Dangers of Drug Abuse and Addiction
As with most over the counter painkillers, there is a danger of addiction. It should not be used for more than a few days without consulting a doctor.
Continued use without medical supervision could lead to serious health issues.
As with all medicines you should seek the advice of your doctor before using it.
Pregnant women and those breastfeeding should not use this drug.
Skin contact with fresh vervain can cause skin irritation, and is toxic if ingested.
Use with caution, do not use with other sleep or pain killers unless under the supervision of a doctor.
The tincture and oil can cause nausea and vomiting if taken in large quantities.
Consult a doctor immediately if you feel you have used too much of this medicine.
Symptoms of overdose may include dry mouth, severe dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, shallow breathing, and slow heartbeat.
Addiction and Abuse
You should not use this drug for more than a few days without medical supervision.
Continued use can lead to serious liver and kidney damage, respiratory failure and even death.
Sources & references used in this article:
Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices by DT Zava, CM Dollbaum, M Blen – Proceedings of the Society …, 1998 – journals.sagepub.com
The optimization of lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora) medicinal plant tissue culture. by AA Mosavi – International Journal of Agronomy and Plant …, 2012 – cabdirect.org
Effect of drying process on lemon verbena (Lippia citrodora Kunth) aroma and infusion sensory quality by R Infante, P Rubio, L Contador… – International journal of …, 2010 – Wiley Online Library
Application of benchtop and portable near-infrared spectrometers for predicting the optimum harvest time of Verbena officinalis by CK Pezzei, SA Schönbichler, CG Kirchler, J Schmelzer… – Talanta, 2017 – Elsevier
Screening of mycotoxin multicontamination in medicinal and aromatic herbs sampled in Spain by L Santos, S Marín, V Sanchis… – Journal of the Science of …, 2009 – Wiley Online Library
An empirical demonstration of using pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) genes as plant phylogenetic tools: Phylogeny of Verbenaceae and the Verbena complex by YW Yuan, C Liu, HE Marx, RG Olmstead – Molecular Phylogenetics and …, 2010 – Elsevier
Verbena officinalis a herb with promising broad spectrum antimicrobial potential by D Ahmed, KA Qasim, CM Ashraf, H Maab – Cogent Chemistry, 2017 – cogentoa.com