An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.


Vervain - Verbena officinalis - family: Verbenaceae (Vervain Family).

This perennial plant grows to about three feet high. It has toothed lobed oblong-shaped lower leaves and toothed lobed lance-shaped upper leaves. In the spring, summer and fall it has spikes of small lilac flowers. The flowers are followed by capsules which contain small hard seeds (nutlets). The ancient Egyptians and the ancient Romans considered this plant as sacred. Europeans in the Middle Ages used it as protection against witchcraft and the plague. Traditional use of leaves as one of the ingredients of witches' brews in Europe in the Middle Ages. Traditional European folk use of roots and leaves as a remedy for anxiety, bronchitis, depression, headaches, insomnia, liver problems and rheumatism. Modern European folk use of roots and leaves as a remedy for problems with alcohol. Traditional European folk use of leaves as a poultice for burns, cuts, skin irritations, sprains and wounds. Modern American folk use as a remedy for pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). In Traditional Chinese Medicine the leaves and roots (Ma Bian Cao) have been used as a remedy for fever, flu, malaria, nervous conditions and urinary problems. Note: large doses may cause nausea and vomiting. Note: do not use if pregnant or nursing. Native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. Naturalized in eastern North America. Cultivated as an ornamental in North America.


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Web page last updated on 25 May 2003.