Verbena officinalis, Labiatae. The aerial parts of the plant are used.

The herb should be collected just before the flowers open, usually in the summer. The parts need to be dried quickly.

Functions of vervain

Vervain is a wonderful tonic for the nervous system, calming the nerves and easing tension and stress. Vervain:

  • can be used to relieve anxiety, lift depression and for stress related conditions, such as headaches and migraines as well as nervous exhaustion. It may be used with seizures and hysteria.
  • contain bitters which stimulate the liver and enhance digestion. This makes vervain useful in conditions related to a sluggish liver and gallbladder problems.
  • when taken as a hot infusion acts as a diaphoretic (increasing sweating) and can be used to bring down a fever.
  • can be used as a mouth wash against tooth decay and gum disease. It can also be used for sores and wounds and insect bites when it is in a lotion.
  • increases milk flow production in nursing mothers. It also brings on menstrual flow and uterine contraction so it is best avoided during pregnancy. It can be used during birth to enhance contractions.

Notes on vervain

  • Avoid during pregnancy.
  • For the treatment of depression it may be used with skullcap and lady's slipper.


Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-3 teaspoonsful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day.

Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times per day.


Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.




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