Vervain. 23 uses, benefits, side effects

Vervain: 23 Uses, benefits and side effects of the incredible plant

Vervain is a pretty flowering plant that beautifies your garden and holds a wondrous history, many uses and benefits. This plant blossoms blue or purple flowers that attract butterflies and assist in pollination. The blue vervain is the most talked about verbena officinalis from the verbena family of herbs.

The plant has been used for numerous ailments internally and externally by persons all around the world for ages. Studies have been done showing the effects of blue vervain that are anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial and antibacterial. It is generally recognised as safe as a food by the US Food and Drug Administration and a few side effects have been reported.

Spiritual history of blue vervain

The plant’s healing powers are responsible for its popular history being used in spiritual rituals for centuries. According to HealthyHildegard:

  • vervain was used to treat Christ’s wounds on the cross, which is why it is sometimes called the herb of the cross
  • Egyptians believed vervain first sprung from the tears of the goddess Isis as she mourned the death of the god Osiris
  • Persians also treated vervain as a sacred plant
  • Romans used the vervain plant to bless their altars
  • Greek physician, Hippocrates, is said to have recommended verbena officinalis for fever and plague
  • The ancient Druids of what is now Ireland believed vervain held supernatural powers
  • Worshippers of Thor in Scandinavia similarly used vervain in ceremonies and rituals calling upon its mystical powers

The plant goes by several names that may have been formed due its very interesting history. It is well known as American blue verbena, devil’s medicine, enchanter’s balm, enchanter’s plant, herb of the cross, herb of grace, herb of love, holy herb, Indian hyssop, iron weed, Juno’s tears, mosquito plant, pigeon grass, pigeon weed, simpler’s joy, wild hyssop and wild verbena.

23 Common uses of blue vervain

Vervain. 23 uses, benefits, side effects

People have been using blue vervain for many years to relax their nerves and treat several illnesses. Despite ignorance of a safe dosage and side effects of the plant, old folks continue to pass on its medicinal capabilities to younger generations. While some people use it with skepticism, the medical researchers have chimed in with scientific evidence to ease our uncertainty.

Healthline states that vervain contains over 20 beneficial plant compounds, including iridoid glycosides, flavonoids, and triterpenoids, which may be responsible for its purported benefits. The website also shows the side effects and warnings against the plant. Some of these go against the advice given by herbal advocates today and should be taken into consideration.

Blue vervain flowers, leaves and stems of the plant are generally safe for treating many illnesses once used in small dosages. The body can be treated with the plant when it has inflammation, pain, germs, bacteria and any infectious condition. Drinking quarter cup of the boiled vervain with added water and honey makes a cup of tea that will ease or get rid of many ailments. There are also many verbena products on the market with guidelines for you to follow. Here is a list of common uses, benefits, precautions and side effects of blue vervain.

1. Pregnancy

Research concludes that pregnant women should avoid all vervain-containing products. Pregnant women have been using vervain tea to reduce anxiety, sleep better and relieve aches and pains. They used it without knowing if the plant would harm their unborn babies so in cases where there were issues, no link was made to the herb. Animal studies show that consuming vervain extract during pregnancy may lead to poor weight gain and foetal abnormalities like reduced bone ossification, or hardening.

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2. Breastfeeding

Nursing mothers are cautioned to avoid consuming the plant to ensure the safety of themselves and their babies. In the article Baby Making Advice: Doctors vs Mothers, the author’s grandmother recommended that she drink vervain tea to help with breast milk production, which she found questionable. She states, “The first sip reminded me of my childhood when ‘bush tea’ was the only tea we knew growing up.” She only drank it twice because milk production was not an issue for her.

According to medical studies, it’s unknown if compounds from the plant could excrete into breast milk and have a negative effect on the young child. VeryWellFamily suggests other ways breastfeeding mothers can increase their milk supply. They can ensure that their babies are latched on properly, pump their breasts often, and consume more foods such as almonds, barley, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, fennel, garlic, ginger, green leafy vegetables and oatmeal.

3. Kidney stones

Studies show that using vervain to treat kidney stones can actually hurt the kidneys more than help, especially over the long term. The medicinal use can be traced back to the 18th-century book “Sauer’s Herbal Cure”, where it was said to aid in the treatment of kidney stones. Due to this history, many people have been using the plant to self-medicate themselves for this problem.

VeryWellHealth states that vervain appears to increase urine output, which may, in fact, help prevent the formation of kidney stones. But it does so not by increasing the amount of water and sodium in the urinary tract—the way that most diuretics work—but rather by irritating the kidneys due to dehydration.

There are several other natural remedies that can treat kidney stones successfully. You can drink plenty of water to flush out kidney stones, drink a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil, dilute and consume raw apple cider vinegar, and eat diuretic foods such as coffee, dandelion extract, horsetail, parsley, hibiscus, caraway, green and black tea, and black cumin.

4. Restless sleep or insomnia

Blue vervain is a safe remedy to get some quality sleep. Having a few restless nights can be caused by a sudden change in your lifestyle that makes you uneasy or stressed out. Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that makes it difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep if you do fall asleep. Researchers linked this to the vervain plant’s content of flavonoids and tannins, both of which are known to possess anti-anxiety and sedative properties.

5. Anxiety and convulsions

Since the plant contains anti-anxiety and sedative properties, consuming it will reduce anxiety. It helps you to relax your mind and body to prevent constant worry and spasms. Studies in rats have concluded that the extract may help manage convulsions or seizures in those with neurological diseases such as epilepsy by prolonging their onset time and shortening their duration.

6. Depression

Vervain can be used as an antidepressant. Depression is a severe medical condition that causes a person to be agitated, have insomnia, develop mood disorders, lack concentration, and have a feeling of guilt. Drinking vervain tea is a natural way of managing symptoms of depression similar to using prescribed medication. It helps to balance chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters that affect mood and emotions.

7. Headaches

Properties in the vervain plant are analgesic which ease headaches quickly. A cup of tea or product using the herb can treat pain in the neck and head caused by stress, depression, alcohol use, skipping meals, lack of sleep, and poor posture. If you suffer with migraine, take too much medication or your headache lasts longer than 24 hours, you should consult a medical doctor.

8. Body aches

Use the verbena tea to treat body aches. The herb has compounds that soothe pain caused by strenuous exercise, inflammation and bacteria in the body. Also, its sedative properties assist in relaxing the nerves to give you quality sleep to repair muscle damage, revitalise your body and diminish pain. Drink 4 cups a day at least 4 hours apart of the verbena tea with each cup consisting only quarter cup of the boiled herb.

9. Painful menstruation

Consume verbena products to reduce the pain experienced when your uterine muscle contracts during your period. Excess levels of prostaglandins which are hormone-like substances linked to pain and inflammation cause menstruation cramps to be severe. Since the herb holds properties that have anti-spasm effects, it decreases the levels of prostaglandins and relieves menstrual pain.

10. Digestive dysfunction

As vervain is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, it means that almost any digestive disorder can be treated with the miracle plant. Some include gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, and hiatal hernia. If you experience symptoms such as bloating, constipation, bleeding, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn and pain, ask your doctor if you can drink 4 cups of verbena tea at least 4 hours apart to get rid of the bacteria causing the infection in your body.

11. Upper respiratory tract symptoms

Studies show that vervain is used to treat upper respiratory tract infections as it has antimicrobial effects. The natural remedy is known to treat the cold and flu instead of using medication. The symptoms are nasal congestion, runny nose, nasal discharge, nasal breathing, sneezing, sore or scratchy throat, painful swallowing and coughing. Use verbena products or boil your own mixture using the flowers, leaves and stems to make a tea that will make you feel better. You can drink it while you experience symptoms or before they appear in order to boost your immune.

12. Nerve damage

Vervain can be used to repair nerve damage. Healthline states that studies in rats show that vervain’s glycoside verbenalin — also known as cornin — may significantly improve brain damage after a stroke. This natural remedy should not replace any medication prescribed by a medical doctor to treat nerve damage. If a stroke patient is using any blood thinning medication, a caregiver should also refrain from using verbena products.

13. Heart health

Drinking vervain tea regularly can support heart health. A study in rats determined that treatment with verbenalin reduced heart tissue death and damage from inadequate blood supply. Signs of a weak heart are chest discomfort, nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or stomach pain. If left untreated, the pain spreads to the arm, you feel dizzy or lightheaded and experience throat or jaw pain. You get exhausted easily, snore loudly and sweat a lot. Consult a medical doctor if you experience these signs.

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14. Gum health

The natural astringent activity of vervain is what makes it a good oral rinse for bleeding gums and mouth ulcers. A study suggests that a vervain decoction may benefit the management of chronic gingivitis or gum inflammation. Boil the flowers and leaves of the plant and use the water as a mouthwash regularly to protect your gums and keep a healthy smile. Since this treatment is used for rinsing your mouth, it can be made stronger than the vervain water that you prepare for drinking which is diluted.

15. Diarrhoea

Vervain has been proven to have antidiarrheal activity. One animal study concluded that vervain root extract significantly delayed the volume and frequency of diarrhoea, compared with a control. Since the herb possesses compounds that make it antimicrobial and antibacterial, consuming the miracle plant can get rid of bacteria, virus, parasite and infection that are responsible for loose bowels.

16. Gout

Verbena tea is a common treatment for gout across the world. This is a form of inflammatory arthritis that is very painful and usually affects one joint at a time, often the big toe joint. It is caused by a condition known as hyperuricemia, where there is too much uric acid in the body. Foods to avoid if you have gout include beer, vodka, whiskey, red meat, lamb, pork, liver, kidneys, thymus, pancreas, shrimp, lobster, mussels, anchovies, and sardines. The anti-inflammatory properties of vervain help you to reduce the pain drastically.

17. Jaundice

Treating jaundice with vervain is dependent on the cause of it. It can be used to fight against inflammatory or bacterial causes. However, other reasons require serious medical attention. According to MedicalNewsToday, underlying conditions that may cause jaundice include acute inflammation of the liver, inflammation of the bile duct, obstruction of the bile duct, haemolytic anaemia, Gilbert’s syndrome, and cholestasis. Due to concerns of using the herb when anaemic or using blood thinning medication, you should consult a doctor.

18. Blood sugar

HowtoControlDiabetes states that persons have reported using the vervain plant (leaves and flowers) to make tea, which they drank over a period of time and reduced their blood glucose level. People who have diabetes suffer from high blood sugar or hyperglycemia when they consume too much sugar or carbohydrates, lack physical activity, use non-diabetes medications, or do not take enough glucose-lowering medication. Adding the verbena herb to your diet along with healthy foods and exercise can change your life.

19. Colorectal cancer

VeryWellHealth states that colorectal cancer has a study that suggests vervain polysaccharides may one day be used to help isolate and control tumors in people with colorectal cancer, improving survival. However, more research to this effect is certainly needed. This cancer occurs in the colon or rectum and is also called colon cancer. Symptoms include a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhoea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days, a feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one and rectal bleeding with bright red blood. Persons with severe symptoms should seek medical advice before using vervain to self-medicate.

20. Endometriosis

Research shows that vervain is typically used as a small part of a larger general formula aimed at treating underlying causes of endometriosis. This condition is stimulated by hormones and may be the cause of abnormal functioning of your immune system, retrograde menstruation or heredity factors. The herb may help boost your immune system and reduce symptoms involving pelvic pain. However, signs of irregular menstruation, pain during sexual intercourse, infertility and miscarriage need medical attention.

21. Rheumatoid arthritis

Verbena contains chemicals that reduces inflammation and since rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints, consuming the herb is beneficial for this purpose. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. Since vervain is capable of reducing inflammation in your body, people use it to prevent this from happening.

22. Tumour

Healthline reports that verbena may possess anti-tumour effects. Generally, tumours occur when cells divide and grow excessively in the body. Normally, the body controls cell growth and division. New cells are created to replace older ones or to perform new functions. Cells that are damaged or no longer needed die to make room for healthy replacements. Test-tube and animal studies suggest that vervain’s glycosides, triterpenoids, and essential oils may help inhibit tumour growth and induce the death of cancerous cells.

23. Skin treatment

According to NatureandGarden, topical use of common vervain decoction with measurement 50 grams of plant per litre has been shown to be very effective on skin lesions. Apply the treatment on fractures, crevasses, chapped lips, wounds and insect bites. A compress doused with this decoction also treats sprains, light contusions and bruises.

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Side effects of blue vervain

1. People with anaemia are advised not to use blue vervain because it may prevent iron absorption from meals which is dangerous for a person who already suffers from iron deficiency.

2. Contact dermatitis

3. Negative interaction with blood thinning medication

4. Indigestion and gas

5. Kidney irritation

6. Long-term use unknown

7. Uterine stimulant

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