BLUE VERVAIN

American blue verbena, Holy herb, Mosquito plant

Main Actions

  • Acts to calm depression, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Nervine: Soothes and supports the central nervous system
  • Promotes healing (anti-bacterial and anti-fungal)
  • Reduces swelling and inflammation (anti-inflammatory)

Other Actions

  • Aids with sleeplessness
  • Assists with pain management (analgesic)
  • Promotes healthy digestion and calms diarrhea
  • Provides menstruation support by reducing bloating and pain

Description

Blue Vervain, scientifically known as Verbena hastata, is a flowering plant that belongs to the Verbena family. The plant has either a green or red hairy stalk, with blue-purple petals that develop in clusters on the stalk. Found naturally in worldwide wetlands, or in areas close to water, Egyptian mythology explained that whenever the goddess Isis (goddess of healing and magic) cried, Vervain would grow in the place where her tears fell to earth. Blue vervain is native to the northern United States and Canada, while other members of the Verbena family grow worldwide.

Blue Vervain is a nervine, which is defined as an herbal medicine that is used to nourish and strengthen the central nervous system. One of the many benefits of nervines is that the more you use them, the more effective they become in helping to restore and energize a stressed or anxious nervous system.  Blue vervain is also classified as an adaptogen, specifically targeting anxiety.  This means Blue Vervain can be used to calm anxiety, relieve depression, and counter a sense of feeling overwhelmed.

Traditionally used as an antibiotic and anti-tuberculosis remedy, Blue Vervain has also been used to treat fevers, as a general tonic, as a diuretic (water pill) to reduce swelling, and when combined with chamomile and other herbs, to treat diarrhea in children. The leaves and flowers contain verbascoside, verbenalin, beta-sitosterol, ursolic and oleanolic acids. 

In a recent review, Blue Vervain was listed as having anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, neuroprotective, analgesic, antioxidant and antifungal properties, as well as showing efficacy in the treatment of GI disorders linked with diarrhea and irregular periods in women. Some traditional herbalists employ Blue Vervain for upper respiratory infections and as an expectorant. 

Healing properties can be found in nearly every part of the plant, including the leaves, flowers, and roots.

In the United States, Verbena has been given GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) designation.

REFERENCES

1. Sharma R, Sharma P, Bhardwaj R. Adaptogens: New Age Healing Gems for Physical Wellbeing. American Journal of Multidisciplinary Research & Development (AJMRD). 2021 Oct;3(10):26-35. https://www.ajmrd.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/D3102635.pdf

2. Stansbury J, Saunders PR, Winston D. The Calming Actions of Anemone Pulsatilla, Nepeta, and Rauvolfia. Journal of Restorative Medicine. 2013 Dec 6;2(1):109-13. https://journal.restorativemedicine.org/index.php/journal/article/download/37/61

3. Gould L, Reddy CV and Gomprecht RF: Cardiac effects of chamomile tea. J Clin Pharmacol 11: 475-479, 1973.

4. Grawish ME, Anees MM, Elsabaa HM, Abdel-Raziq MS, Zedan W. Short-term effects of Verbena officinalis Linn decoction on patients suffering from chronic generalized gingivitis: Double-blind randomized controlled multicenter clinical trial. Quintessence Int. 2016;47(6):491-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26824082/

5. Eloziia N, Kumar N, Kothiyal P, Deka P, Nayak BK. A review on antidepressant plants. Journal of Pharmacy Research. 2017 May;11(5):382-96. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bipin-Nayak/publication/317231791_A_Review_on_Antidepressant_Plants/links/592d2470458515e3d476ff77/A-Review-on-Antidepressant-Plants.pdf

6. Tenny, Louise, Today’s Herbal Health, 3rd ed., Woodland Books, Provo, Utah, 1992.

7. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 — Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182 (accessed 11/21)

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