By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
What is vervain? Vervain is a robust, drought-tolerant herb that grows wild throughout much of North America. Vervain herb plants are valued for their many beneficial qualities and have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Read on to learn about growing vervain herbs in your own garden.
Vervain belongs to the genus Verbena – the friendly little annual found in many flowerbeds. While garden verbena is a sub-tropical plant, Vervain is native to Southern Europe and most likely found its way to the New World with early settlers.
Vervain is a spreading plant that displays stiff, erect stems and reaches mature heights of 12 to 36 inches (30 to 90 cm.). Narrow spikes of tiny, blue flowers appear from early summer until autumn. Vervain, which grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8, doesn’t tolerate extreme cold or heat.
Vervain leaves or roots are often brewed into tea or used as a poultice to treat a number of maladies, including the following:
Vervain herb plants grow well in full sun, but the plant tolerates partial shade. Well drained soil is a necessity.
The best way to get started growing Vervain herbs is to plant seeds directly in the garden in late summer or early fall. You can also start seeds in spring following a two-week stratification period.
Water regularly until the seedlings are established, which generally takes about a month. Thereafter, Vervain is relatively drought-tolerant but benefits from occasional irrigation during hot, dry periods.
You can also find Vervain plants ready for planting in spring. Look for the plant at garden centers that specialize in herbs. Alternatively, start Vervain by taking cuttings from established plants.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. Before using ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes, please consult a physician or a medical herbalist for advice.
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This herb was revered by the Druids and was connected to Cerridwen. The Romans associated it with Venus and Diana and believed it could rekindle lost love many use it to this day in love magick, especially philtres. Verbena was also a traditional magick herb during the Middle Ages and is still considered good for dreamwork and inspiring creativity. Some tie this plant to Mercury. It is often incorporated into Midsummer celebrations and protects against negative magick, especially when carried as a fresh sprig. It's great for asperging and when combined with dill, especially effective as a room wash for ridding areas of negative influences. This plant is most powerful fresh, so growing your own makes sense. Traditionally, it is harvested beneath a sunless, moonless sky, like during the New Moon, and when the Dog Star, Sirius, is rising, with a libation of honey. Some consider it a potentiator for any sort of magical work involving herbs.
Medicinally, it has been used for insomnia (has some Moon in it), as a nerve tonic (here's the Mercury aspect), and is said to relieve those who feel driven by hormones.
This perennial plant prospers quite far north (zone 3) but does not like the Deep South. It grows +2 ft/35-80cm tall. Bees love it, and planting herbs for our busy little sisters is always a good idea--a bee-filled garden is a happy garden. Butterflies like this plant too. The flowers are small but many, and blooming lasts a long time. This is a great wetlands plant. Top
How to grow Vervain. Barely cover seeds to germinate in 3-4 weeks at 60-70F/18-21C or sow on Winter Solstice (see special directions on the Solstice Sowing page).Transplant to full sun in light, rich soil after the seedlings get their second set of true leaves. You can make more plants from cuttings in the fall. Leaves are best to harvest before the flowers open. Harvest roots in the fall, after the plant has died down. General growing info Top
100 seeds $4.75
Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:
© 2004, 2018 Harold A. Roth No reproduction without permission
Chemical-free farm-grown Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) seeds for organic growing.
All seed varieties are grown at our farm or locally and sustainably wildcrafted by us. We gather, process, and package every seed variety we carry ourselves with love and care in small batches. We never purchase seeds from outside sources to resell to you. All of our varieties are open-pollinated, grown without the use of chemicals, hybrid-free and GMO-free.
Blue Vervain, Swamp Verbena
Across North America, excluding the northern territories.
Multi-stemmed upright plants to 5ft tall and 1ft wide. Clump forming perennial with long-lasting luminous spires of indigo coloured flowers.
Part Shade to Full sun. Prefers moist soil.
Germination for Blue Vervain can be a little spotty. The seeds do best if direct sown in fall just as the plant would self-seed. Expect a
The plants can be cut back in fall time Vervain will establish itself as a clump-forming perennial that, after a few years of growth, can be divided and harvested, or replanted.
The aerial parts of Vervain can be harvested when the flowers appear. The plants can be cut back to a few inches above the ground and will regrow. The herb can be used both fresh and dried.
None known. The taste of Vervain is quite bitter and somewhat acrid.
Vervain has many actions that make it a great herb for PMS - its ability to relieve liver congestion, stimulate menstruation, relieve cramps, and calm the nerves. These actions combined with its action as a relaxant diaphoretic make Vervain ideal for the treatment of hot flashes.
Vervain is nervous system trophorestorative helping to relax, replenish and rebuild the nerves. It is good for people who have a hard time winding down at the end of the day or ‘turning off’. It is especially indicated for conditions that feel angry or hot in nature.
Native Plant Garden, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Apothecary Garden, Low Maintenance.
Vervain is a perennial herb native to the Old World that has a historical connection to religion. In the past, it was a popular addition to the typical garden, and has a reputation for being used for healing purposes. In this article, you will learn more about vervain, its uses, and historical facts.
Today, vervain is grown in gardens for ornamental purposes, as well as for medicinal uses. If you are unable to grow your own, health and natural food stores often stock vervain in a dried form. In gardens, vervain decorates spaces with small white to purple flowers that grow on delicate spikes. The leaves of the herb are described as hairy and saw-toothed. The plant is suggested for zones 1 through 8. Vervain possesses a sweet scent and appealing fragrance, which made it a popular addition to sachets that people used to discourage insect pest stings and bites.
Vervain has a historical connection to Christ. The plant was seen as being holy. Some people would call the plant ‘devil’s bane’ because it was through that wearing vervain or using it played a role in keeping evil spirits away. Others saw vervain as an effective method of deterring vampires.
It is said that if vervain is gathered during a new moon, you can place it under your pillow at bedtime to encourage a love interest to come closer to you. If you donвЂ™t have your eyes set on anyone in particular, the herb is thought to help you focus on love and attracting a suitable match.
The herb has a history of being used in rituals, as well as in medical treatments. If someone wished to conjure up a spirit, they would drink vervain tea as a tonic to encourage relaxation during the process.
In medicinal circles, the herb was used to promote digestion. Others would use vervain to treat nausea, colic, diarrhea, and other issues associated with the intestines. When made into a wash for the mouth, the herb had a reputation for freshening bad breath and reduces bacteria in the oral cavity. When added to a bath, the plant was known to treat minor skin conditions, such as itchy skin and irritation. However, it is important to note that pregnant women should not use vervain, as it has been linked to causing miscarriages within the first trimester.
If you have vervain in your garden, make sure to keep it in full sun and in well drained, limey soil. Some people find success in growing the herb in containers. A disadvantage to planting the herb is that it tends to look slightly weedy and unkempt. If you cut the stems of the plant when the flowers have matured, you can dry the herb for later use. Store dried vervain in a cool, dry, dark place so that it can retain its potency.
Vervain has a long history in traditional medicine
During the Middle Ages, vervain was often used in magicians’ and witches’ potions. In folk medicine, vervain was used for protection, but was also used as an aphrodisiac, earning it the name herba veneris, or “herb of love.” The plant was highly revered in many European cultures and was considered a virtual panacea to treat organs of the abdominal region – along with the lungs, and as a remedy for headaches.
Hildegard von Bingen generally classifies the plant as “cooling.” Within Hildegard medicine she references vervain and verbena to treat swelling and inflammation in the throat, to heal ulcers, to treat jaundice, tooth and gum infections, and to reduce gum inflammation.
The herb was once thought useful for diplomacy and was present at all contract signings and carried by messengers and envoys. Pliny the Elder described vervain as a “sacred plant” with innumerable applications including the ritual sweeping and smudging of homes and its use in potions for love and good fortune.
As a medicinal plant vervain has been largely forgotten, and is often confused in German homeopathy for the fragrant Lemon Beebrush (aloysia citrodora), which is often included in herbal teas. We have a vervain tea (also called blue vervain tea) recipe for you from Hildegard. But first, how vervain works.
Since ancient times herbalists used this herb to ease childbirth, increase the flow of breast milk, jaundice, dropsy, gout, worms, stomach complaints, wound healing, ulcers and piles. Have a look at some of the top benefits of vervain in detail here.
1. Natural Mood Enhancer
The power of vervain to ease the feelings associated with anxiety and stress is well-acknowledged. Consuming a cup of vervain tea has a calming effect on the central nervous system that in turn triggers a sensation of calmness and relaxation. Thus, this herb has been extensively used to aid people suffering from depression and stress. Vervain is also supposed to be effective in easing post-traumatic stress as well as insomnia. Just drinks a cup of warm vervain tea 30 minutes before you go to your bed for a good night’s sleep. It is a natural tranquilizing agent that is a good antidote for restlessness and irritation.
2. Natural Analgesic
This herb has got anti-inflammatory qualities. It is very much effective in curing cold as well as fever. The herb also provides relief from sinusitis and migraine and lowers the body temperature levels during fever. This is also consumed as a tonic in order to overcome any weakness that is caused during fever.
3. Beneficial For Skin
Natural astringent and anti-inflammatory properties of this herb supports it to be used as a natural remedy for numerous skin infections. Research also suggests that this herb is beneficial in safeguarding wounds from infections. It also helps to get rid of the toxins inflicted from insect bites.
Vervain herb helps in lessening the risk of cancer in a person. It has been shown that it prevents cancer and hosts the body systems that affect them. It has been found that this is also very much effective in easing the stress of post-traumatic and insomnia.
5. For Better Oral Health
Regular chewing of this herb gives your gums and teeth a dose of goodness. It is one of the very effective traditional medications for bleeding gums. This herb is also known to ease the pain and redness experienced due to mouth ulcers.
6. Good for Kidney Stones
Regular use of this herb is quite beneficial for curing Kidney stones. Just prepare an infusion by soaking 1 tbsp dry vervain leaves in one pint boiling water for 10 minutes. Consume about 6 tbsp every day, spread over 6 doses, to get rid of urinary bladder infections and kidney stones.
7. Nervous System
Various soothing properties of vervain can effectively treat the number of ailments comprise nervous disorders, chronic anxiety, stress, & sleeplessness. Sometimes, our body’s release & management of hormones are smaller than optimal, & over time, this can cause important health problems & wear on your body. A cup of vervain tea can calm our nerves & re-balance hormone levels, assuring that our body can rest.
8. Healthy Gut
Vervain herb consumed especially in form of tea is very useful in easing the digestive disorders, thus keeping a healthy gut. It eases several problems that affect the stomach that includes cramps, bloating and flatulence. This is a natural herb for curing diarrhea and vomiting and also boosts nutrient absorption.
9. Good For Women’s Health
Packed with intense mood improving properties, this herb helps in easing the anxiety and mood swings experienced by women during the premenstrual period. Vervain is also used to induce menstrual cycle in women whose periods has been delayed.
The herb has the potential to trigger uterine contractions, and hence, it can be used to induce labor and hasten child birth. Research also indicates that using vervain aids in improving lactation levels naturally after delivery.
10. Prevent Malaria
Roots of this herb are cure for people that are infected by malaria. This natural herb helps to cure malaria by using the roots of the plant.
11. Respiratory Disorders
If you often suffer from chest congestion, colds, chronic bronchitis, sore throats, or respiratory inflammation, vervain tea can be the easy and enjoyable means of clearing up the tracks and reducing irritation. Coughs & colds from Rome to California have cured by vervain, as it also serves as the expectorant, assisting in expelling mucus & phlegm that have gathered in the respiratory tracts.
12. Pain Relief
Vervain serves as the powerful analgesic and is especially powerful on arthritic pain & the pain from kidney stones. The organic mixtures present in vervain can numb specific areas & stop the pain from recording in those nerves, whereby giving you some relief. Anti-inflammatory characteristics of the herb are the perfect supplement to this pain relief, as it further reduces swelling & inflammation, so as in cases of gout, inflammation, or arthritis, in the gastrointestinal system.
Traditional uses and benefits of Vervain
Ayurvedic Health benefits of Vervain
How to Make Vervain Tea
A good way to reap some of vervain health benefits is by making vervain tea. The tea-making process is similar to that of making an infusion.
1 teaspoon of dried vervain or 3 teaspoons of freshly crushed herb per glass of water
Binomial Name: Verbena hastata
Blue Vervain has a long history of use across Europe and into North Africa and western Asia. The ancient Druids of Ireland considered Vervain to have supernatural powers and held it in high esteem. Other cultures to have included Blue Vervain in their pharmacopeias included the Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and British. Later on, Dr. Edward Bach included Vervain in his 38 flower remedies to promote balance of body and mind. Blue Vervain has traditionally been used for a wide range of imbalances, including colds, coughs, flus and more.
Blue Vervain will grow to a height of 12-36” and begin to show dainty light purple flowers from mid summer into early fall. It will slowly spread and remain low to the ground, so allow plenty of space between plantings.
Vervain will grow best with full sun to partial shade. Soil should be well-drained.
Blue Vervain is best sown direct in late summer or early fall. If starting in spring, stratify seeds in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Small seeds are light dependant germinators with naturally low germination rates. Moisten starting medium and lightly tamp into soil, and keep moist until seeds start to germinate, typically 3-4 weeks.
Transplant outside once the last freeze has passed and plants show first (or second) set of true leaves.
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