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Verbena officinalis

It is hard to fathom why this inconspicuous herb with its tiny blue flowers set on squarish spikes has attracted such a phenomenal amount of attention throughout the ages - but it has. From the ancient Egyptians to the Greek and Romans and even to the Druids, this herb was revered like few others. It was said to cure everything and for many centuries it was used by every priest, magician and witch. The ancients regarded it as an herb of Isis or Venus, the Great Goddess, mother of the universe, Goddess of magic and the mysteries of life and death. The Romans used it as a cleansing herb to sweep and purify their altars. Messengers wore a protective wreath of Vervain as a sign of truce and truth. It was said to protect against all evil and even ward off the devil himself. That did not stop witches and magicians from using it as a magic wand in just about any spell or ritual. The Druids seemed to associate Vervain with Sirius and according to Pliny the Elder, they ritually harvested the herb in August, when the dogstar is visible, but neither the sun nor the moon could be seen in the sky. In the modern era, panacea herbs like Vervain have often been dismissed, simply because they seemed too good to be true. Thus Vervain is rarely used in herbal medicine today, although Edward Bach, inventor of the Bach flower remedies, brought it back from the brink of oblivion and created a Vervain flower remedy. He recommends it for highly strung individuals who are self-righteous and fanatical about their beliefs and wish to steam-roll the rest of the world with their 'mission'. Vervain flower remedy is used to bring as sense of calm perspective and openness of mind to such people. From all these associations and uses it seems as though Vervain's nature is as a conductor and communicator plant that can clear obstructions and assist the flow of energy in the physical, spiritual and mental spheres.

The list of conditions and uses for Vervain is inexhaustible. However, it can be summed up as an herb that supports the clearing of obstructions e.g. in the kidneys, liver, gallbladder and spleen. It is said to be helpful for liver congestion and jaundice and is even reputed to break up the stone. It is a nervine that calms and relaxes tense nerves and thus alleviates a host of stress related symptoms such as mental exhaustion, migraines, depression and headaches. It is also a useful digestive system relaxant, where stress causes indigestion and cramps. It can be helpful in cases of PMT and during menopause. Externally it can be used to cleanse wounds and putrid ulcers. It is also used as a gargle and mouthwash for infections of the gum and throat. It can be used for convalescence or as a preventative tonic for numerous stress-related complaints.

Vervain is a wonder herb with a very versatile set of magical uses. It clears stagnant energy and can be used for cleansing and consecrating a sacred/ ritual space and to cleanse the auras of the participants. It can be used to conduct and direct magical energy and intentions and also to open the psychic channels. It aids communication with human and spiritual beings. It protects the practitioner against evil forces and manipulative entities.

Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children, or if you are unwell, or taking any medication. If in doubt, please ask a medical herbalist or healthcare practitioner.