Blue Vervain

Genus and Species: Verbena hastata

Family: Verbenaceae

Common Names: Vervain, Blue Vervain

Energetics: Relaxing,

Properties: nervine, tonic, mild sedative, antispasmodic, emetic, febrifuge, diuretic, emetic (in high doses) (McDonad, Easley, and Chalmers 2016). Cholagogue, hepatic, general antispasmodic, diaphoretic, relaxing expectorant (useful for dry, irritating coughs), hypnotic, moderate hypotensive (Hoffman, 2003).

Taste: bitter, acrid

Degree of action: 3rd

Tissue State: constriction, atrophy

Key Uses: Specific for stiff or tight neck and shoulders. For intense, fanatical people who have absurdly high standards for themselves or others, strain to live up to these standards, and have the emotional and mental strength, but not the physical strength (digestion, sexual centers) to live up to their own standards (Wood, 2009). Stiff necked overachievers, hard driving, fanatical, driven to a cause, get burned out, frazzled, and overwhelmed (McDonald, Easley, and Chalmers, 2016). For people who have emotional/bodily tension that’s built up and has nowhere to go (McDonald, Easley, and Chalmers, 2016). Kiva Rose is quoted as saying Blue Vervain is for “when you’re so irate and uptight you could dismember the nearest living creature (McDonald, Easley, and Chalmers, 2016). Tourrette’s syndrome specific (Easley). Combines well with motherwort and pulsatilla for generalized anxiety (McDonald, Easley, and Chalmers, 2016). Good for PMS in women with tension, anger, and intense food cravings during their lutela (2nd half) phase that’s dominated by progesterone (McDonald, Easley, and Chalmers, 2016).
Blue vervain is also helpful for spasmodic nervous disorders including tics, palsy, and Tourette’s syndrome (Easley and Horne, 2016). It can also help with hot flashes (Galentin, 2016).Can be a potentiator (Bastyr, 2003)
Irritability associated with PMS (Romm, 2010) and used in amennorhea associated with stress (Hoffman, 2003). Used in a specific remedy in equal parts with Gentiana lutea, Avena sativa, and Hypericum perforatum for its nervine, relaxant, and hepatic properties (Hoffman, 2003).
Seizure (Hoffman, 2003; Ebadi, 2007).

History: Wood and Bache (Wood, 1849) essentially describes the European vervain (Verbena officinalis) as a superstitious plant, noting that V. hastate is more bitter and said to be emetic, however not used in regular practice.
The root was said to be tonic, emetic, expectorant, and sudorific used for intermittent fever, colds, obstructed menstruation, taken cold as an infusion for debility, anorexia, and convalescence from acute diseases (King, 1852). It was also helpful for scrofula, cisceral obstructions, gravel, and worms (King, 1852).
Harold Ward quotes Coffin as having said “As an emetic, it ranks next to lobelia; it is also one of the strongest sweating medicines in nature. It is good for colds, coughs, and pain in the head…Vervain will relieve and cure those complaints in children which generally accompany teething; it likewise destroys worms. Administered as a tea, it powerfully assists the pains of laborer; as a diuretic it increases the urinary discharge (Ward, 1936).”
Emenagogue and galactagogue (Romm, 2010)
Dorothy Hall

Clinical Uses:
Can help with worms, wounds, sores, and burns (Bastyr, 2003). Digestive tonic to increase secretion of saliva, stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, bile and gallbladder secretion, and intestinal motility (Bastyr, 2003). Diuretic with kidney and lower urinary tract weakness having to do with arthritis or edema (Bastyr, 2003). Moderate lithophilic for uric stones (Bastyr, 2003, 5 Mills S, Bone K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Churchill Livingstone, 2000. p. 155). Uterine tonic to bring on menses when delayed due to pelvic congestion or uterine weakness (Bastyr, 2003). Used as a trophorestorative and tonic in convalescence and debilitating conditions with or without anorexia and chronic fatigue (Bastyr, 2003). Used for anxiety and anger (Bastyr, 2003).
Hormone regulation (Wichtl et al.) with hot water extract of European verbena stimulates luteinizing hormone and FSH secretion (Romm, 2010). Immunomodulatory through inhibition of phagocytosis by human granulocytes (Romm, 2010 Wichtl M: Herbal Drugs and phytopharmaceuticals: A handbook for Practice on a Scientific Bases, 4 ed. Stuttgart, Medpharm, 2004.). Often used in the treatment of endometriosis (Romm, 2010). Bruxism, nervous tics, and anxiety during menopause (Romm, 2010 citing David Winston on historical Eclectic specific conditions). Used in benign breast disorder and as a galactagogue (Romm, 2010).


Verbenalin – possesses anti-tussive activity (Kui C and Tang R, Zhongyao Tongbao, 1985, 10:467.) from Bastyr Materia Medica

Weak infusion: For nervine properties, 1 cup up to 3 times daily Southern decoction: Use leaf or root for a strong lymphatic and diaphoretic remedy, 1 cup as needed.
Weak infusion: For nervine properties, 1 cup up to 3 times daily Southern decoction: Use leaf or root for a strong lymphatic and diaphoretic remedy, 1 cup as needed.
Tincture: Fresh leaf and flowers (1:2, 60% alcohol); dried leaf and flowers (1:5, 40% alcohol) 5-10 drops. If no results are seen, increase to 1-2 ml (0.2 – 0.4 tsp.) up to four times daily. Glycerite: Dried leaf and flowers (1:6); 1-5 ml (0.2 – 1 tsp.) as needed 3-4 times daily (Easley and Horne, 2016).

Warnings: Not to be used during pregnancy: Some research has shown V. hastata to be a synergist to prostaglandin E2, so research should be done into potential to induce abortion (Bastyr, 2003) and also can be an abortifacient via inhibition of human chronic gonadotropin (Romm, 2010).
Anti-thyrotropic (binds to TSH receptors or combines with TSH) (Bastyr, 2003; Romm, 2010).
Haensel R, Kallmann S: Verbascoside: a main constituent of Verbena officinalis. (German), Archiv der Pharmazie (Weinheim) 319: 227-230, 1986.
Works Cited

Bove, M.; Meserole, L.; Alschuler, L.; Heron, S.; Dispasquale, R.; Mitchel, B.; Lahans, T.; Yarnell, E.; Parcell, S.; Russo, S.; Naydis, E.; Johnson, T. (2003). Bastyr Materia Medica. Bastyr University Department of Botanical Medicine

Easley, T., & Horne, S. (2016). The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide. Berkeley, CA: NAB.

Ebadi, M. (2007). Pharmacodynamic Basis of Herbal Medicine: Second Edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Galentin, E. (2016). Navigating the Menopause: Clinical Considerations for Your Herbal Practice. Herbal Academy.

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

McDonald, J., Easley, T., Chalmers, F. (2016). An Integrative Approach to the Structural System Part [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from The Eclectic School of herbal Medicine’s Full Time Clinical Herbalism Program.

King, John MD; Newton, Robert S. MD. (1852). The Eclectic Dispensatory of the United States of America. Cincinnati: H. W. Derby & Co., Publishers.

Romm, A. (2010). Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. St. Louis, Missouri: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

Ward, H. (1936) Herbal Manua: The Medicinal, Toilet, Culinary, and other Uses of 130 of the most Commonly Used Herbs. London, UK: L.N. Fowler & Co. Ltd.

Wood, M. (2009). The Earthwise Herbal A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.