Beneficial Uses of the Herb Vervain

Blue Vervain, also known as “Swamp Verbena,” is found commonly throughout North America. Vervain is a small, purple flowering plant with different detoxification and stress-relieving properties. It has been shown to reduce depression and stress, stimulate the liver, lower inflammation, and protect the immune system.  Verbena hastata is a robust, hardy plant, resistant to drought, with a long history of uses in many cultures, stretching back to Roman times. The leaves, flowers, and stems are all used in decoctions, tinctures, and teas. With a potent combination of fast-acting acids and phytochemicals, Vervain is quite popular in herbal holistic healing practices.

Detoxify and cleanse

Vervain is reliably used as a diuretic – that is, it stimulates the production of urine in the kidneys. This process helps eliminate toxins from the body, including excess fat and salt. The diuretic properties also stimulate thirst and a craving for water, thus replenishing your body.  Use of a diuretic helps protect the kidneys and liver, responsible for the elimination of waste, from dangerous substances that may have accumulated there. Vervain may help reduce the severity of a bladder infection or cure it completely.

Alleviates respiratory disorders

Those who suffer from chronic chest congestion or coughs may find relief with Vervain. Conditions such as bronchitis, colds, and sore throat may be treated with a hot Vervain tea, which reduces inflammation in the throat and the airways. It can also clear up nasal tracts and eliminate irritation.  Vervain also works as an expectorant, helping eliminate mucus from the airways and nasal passages. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, this is a welcome relief, as pollen and allergens are expelled from the body with the phlegm from the respiratory tracts, helping them breathe easier.

Reduce situational and general anxiety

Blue Verbena has soothing properties that can help calm nerves and soothe anxiety. It is used to effectively treat nervous disorders, including situational anxiety and General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Vervain can also help with sleeplessness and restlessness, taken in a soothing tea before bedtime.  Stress can cause the release of certain hormones that affect the way we feel – in fact, when under stress for a prolonged period of time, we can become jittery, nervous, and anxious. Vervain steeped along with chamomile tea can help calm unsettled nerves and soothe feelings of anxiety.

Alleviate mild depression

Although Vervain may not be prescribed for clinical depression or diagnosed mood disorders, it has been shown to lift depressive feelings such as Seasonal Depression and general malaise. With its properties to help lift moods and calm racing thoughts, Vervain has commonly been used as a mood-boosting ingredient in teas.  Use of Vervain can stimulate the production of the “happy hormones,” dopamine and serotonin, allowing their release from your neurotransmitters. The stress reducing properties of Vervain can calm a worried mind, helping to lift a depressed mood.

Anti-parasitic properties

Although parasites in our meals aren’t as prevalent in the Western world as other areas, they aren’t completely eliminated. In fact, Vervain is used as an anti-parasitical preparation with meals in many developing cultures. It inhibits the growth of parasites in the gut, as well as prevents parasites from taking up home in your intestines.  Should you find yourself bringing home unwanted souvenirs from travels, Vervain is a chemical-free option for treatment of foodborne parasites. The same expectorant properties that cough sufferers enjoy also apply to the mucus lining of the intestines, flushing out the parasites.

Ease menstruation symptoms

The soothing and anti-inflammatory properties found in Vervain help all areas of the body. For women who suffer from cramps, bloating, and mood swings before and during their period, teas made from Vervain can help ease cramps and tightness in the lower abdomen and back. The diuretic properties of Vervain also help with water retention and bloating, alleviating uncomfortable pressure.  The emotional effects of menstruation are also treatable with Vervain – regulating mood swings and calming tense nerves. Women who suffer emotionally from their PMS symptoms can benefit from the calming properties of Vervain.

Oral health – especially gums

Blue Verbena has a significant amount of tannin, the dry taste of red wine or the mouth-drying feeling after eating walnuts. Tannins have a healing effect on bleeding gums or mouth ulcers. The same diuretic effects that help the conditions actually reduce the production of saliva in the mouth and the amount of bacteria present. This can halt or slow the occurrence of ulcers in the mouth such as canker sores. Bleeding gums indicate poor oral health, but Vervain can help reduce the occurrence when brushing or flossing. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help with swollen, infected gums and the inside of the mouth.

Lactation assistance

Many new mothers struggle with natural breastfeeding. The naturally calming effect of Vervain can help new mothers relax and allow better “let down” when nursing. Vervain also stimulates the production of breast milk. This is important for women who aren’t getting the supply they need. Vervain is safe for nursing mothers, and won’t affect the quality of their milk.

General pain relief

Vervain acts as a general analgesic, relieving pain from joints, including arthritis pain and inflammation. It also provides relief from kidney stones, both with the pain and the passage of the stones. Vervain acts as a numbing agent for painful nerves, tendons, and ligaments around the joints of your body.  The anti-inflammatory properties of Vervain benefit the whole body, providing relief from gout symptoms as well as inflammation and irritation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Possible side effects

There are few side effects from using Vervain, but some people have reported upset stomachs. If Vervain is used in large quantities, such as daily medical supplements, skin rashes may also occur.  Before adding Vervain as an herbal remedy for health conditions, or if you plan to use it to complement your existing medicine regime, speak with your physician first to ensure it won’t interact with your current medications.