Latin: Verbena officinalis, hastata- (blue vervain)
Parts Used: Aerial portion
Taste/Energetics: Very bitter, acrid, drying and cooling
Properties: Anxiolytic, antispasmodic, analgesic, diaphoretic, vulnerary, carminative, emmenagogue, galactagogue
Actions: This is one of the most bitter herbs I know and not one I like to generally include in tea formulas as it is so strong in taste. Its strong and potent in tincture form and often only a small dose of 10-20 drops can be very effective. Vervain primarily acts to relax the nervous system, relieving tension and strain, especially from folks who are very wound up and tight, with headaches, migraine, insomnia, bursts of anger and underlying anxiety. This is often a good choice for type A individuals or those who have gone through quite a bit of stress and trauma. It has a marked positive effect on those who hold their anxious tension in their stomachs and is helpful for folks who have tight, crampy indigestion.
As herbalist Kiva Rose puts it, “Their anxiety, while usually based in fear, mostly manifests as an aggravated, edgy attitude and an over-talkative brain that keeps them from restful sleep, good sex and general satisfaction with themselves or their lives. They may seem initially growly and unhappy, but in many cases it is simply the tremendous pressure of their internal tension that makes them so unapproachable and even haughty. It’s not unusual for their to be some level of alcoholism or addiction issues present.”
Dosage: Pretty challenging to drink as a tea because of bitterness. 2-4 tsp to one pint of water decocted for 40 minutes. Best in tincture form 10 drops to 2 ml as needed up to 3 x/day. Not for long term use.
Contraindications: Can cause an upset stomach, skin irritations, avoid with sedatives, during pregnancy
Vervain monograph by Kiva Rose