Vervain or verbena is a genus of about 250 species of annual and perennial flowering plants that belong to the plant family, Verbenaceae. Common vervain or Verbena officinalis is the species that can be found more commonly. It is mainly grown as an ornamental plant and a medicinal herb. It is also known by the name of blue vervain.
This perennial herb is native to North and South America, and Europe. The plant looks quite attractive with its small, but beautiful blossoms that appear in dense spikes. The flowers are usually blue, white, pink, or purple-colored. It was once considered a sacred herb by the ancient Romans. They used this herb for sanitizing their temples and homes. Even in modern times, it has found several important uses, which are explained below.
In ancient times, this herb was used for treating snakebites, cold, fever, diarrhea, and gout. This herb is believed to possess sedative, anti-spasmodic, stimulant, antidiarrheal, analgesic, astringent, diaphoretic, expectorant, vermifuge, and diuretic properties. It can strengthen and relax the nervous system, for which it is widely used to reduce anxiety and stress. It is also used for treating depression and insomnia.
Due to its expectorant quality, vervain can promote the expulsion of phlegm from the nose and throat. This herb can be used for treating cold and fever as well. Since vervain is a bitter herb, it is supposed to be effective in promoting digestion. The glycoside compounds found in this herb are considered to be effective in protecting the liver from toxins. Due to its antispasmodic properties, this herb may help relieve muscle cramps and spasms.
Vervain can help maintain oral hygiene, and prevent dental problems like bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, and gingivitis. This benefit can be mainly attributed to the presence of a significant amount of tannins. Tannins are well-known for their astringent properties. This herb is also believed to increase the production of breast milk after childbirth. Apart from these, it may help treat several other conditions, including headaches, small wounds, sores, eczema, hives, insect bites, kidney stones, gallstones, jaundice, migraines, and convalescence.
How to Use
It can be used as a herbal tea, as well as a tincture and ointment. A warm infusion of this herb can make an excellent mouthwash, which can be used to get rid of bleeding gums and gingivitis. Vervain tea can help you get rid of cold, fever, congestion, and infections of the respiratory tract. It can also help relieve stress and anxiety, and treat insomnia. As a tincture, it can be used for conditions like digestive problems, jaundice, nervousness, anxiety, and fatigue. As an ointment, it can help treat sores, wounds, burns, hives, and insect bites. Its poultice on the other hand, can be used for sprains and bruises.
So far, this herb has not been reported to cause any serious side effects. It is also not known whether this herb interacts with any medications. But in general, pregnant women are advised to avoid this herb. Before taking any herbs or herbal preparations, it is important to talk to a physician. This can help avoid any adverse effects that can result from their intake.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.