- Verbena hastata L.
- Verbena family
Parts Usually Used
Roots, leaves, stems
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,
Native to the northern United States and Canada, found also in England.
Fields, thickets, waste places, in dry hard soils, along roadsides.
Antiperiodic, diaphoretic, emetic, expectorant, tonic, vermifuge,
vulnerary, sudorific, nervine, emmenagogue
Essential oil, mucilage, tannin, verbenaline, and verbenine
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.
Used for fever, colds,
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,
douche for leukorrhea, expels worms,
nerves, migraines, epilepsy,
delirium, headaches, plague,
insomnia, skin disorders,
female disorders, and stomach,
and colon problems. Helps expel
phlegm from throat and chest. Considered a blood
tonic. Externally, the tea heals sores,
snakebite, vaginal itching,
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.
Avoid blue vervain during pregnancy; it is a uterine stimulant; may
be taken during labor.