Herb: Vervain


Latin name: Verbena officinalis


Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)



Medicinal use of Vervain:

Vervain, which has tonic and restorative properties, is sometimes used as a domestic herbal remedy. It is useful when taken internally in the treatment of headaches, fevers, nervous exhaustion, depression, gall bladder problems, insufficient lactation etc. It should not be given to pregnant women, though it can be used to assist contractions during labour. Externally, it is used to treat minor injuries, eczema, sores, neuralgia and gum disease. The leaves and flowering stems are analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, stimulant, tonic and vulnerary. The plant is harvested as flowering begins in the summer and dried for later use. Some remarkable results have been obtained when using this plant in the treatment of certain tumours, but further research needs to be carried out before definite claims can be made. The root is astringent, it is used in the treatment of dysentery. This species was ranked 12th in a Chinese survey of 250 potential antifertility plants. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are "Strain", "Stress", "Tension" and "Over-enthusiasm".

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
July to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Waste ground and roadsides, avoiding acid soils and shady positions.

Edible parts of Vervain:

Leaves - parboiled, seasoned and then eaten. The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The flowers are used as a garnish.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 3 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. If you have sufficient seed, it can also be sown in situ in late spring. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Basal cuttings in early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Cultivation of Vervain:

Waste ground and roadsides, avoiding acid soils and shady positions.

Known hazards of Verbena officinalis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.