Blue vervain is commonly found in the United States as well as certain parts of Canada. It can be seen on the roadsides, wastelands, fields, and drainage ditches. This plant is believed to possess various health benefits, and has been used by humans through centuries. The plant is also known as American vervain, Indian hyssop, swamp vervain, traveler's joy, wild hyssop, false vervain, purvain, etc. It is said that blue vervain was highly valued by the Native Americans, as they used this plant for culinary as well as medicinal uses. While the roasted seeds were consumed as snacks, the flour extracted from them was used for cooking.
Blue Vervain - The Plant
Blue vervain is a member of the vervain family called Verbenaceae and genus Verbena. This family has some of the popular herbs, like lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora). Blue vervain (Verbena hastata) is used for culinary, medicinal, as well as ornamental purposes. This plant is slender and erect, with a maximum height of around five feet. The greenish red stems are squarish, as they have four sides. The main stem may develop few branches on the upper sides, as the plant grows in height. The stems have fine white hair on them.
The opposite leaves of this plant are narrow and tapering, with pointed tips and serrated edges. In fact, the Latin name of this herb, Verbena hastata, is derived from the shape of these leaves that are like halberd (a medieval pole weapon). These veined leaves may have a maximum length of six inches and a width of around one inch. The petioles of blue vervain leaves are short. The stems terminate in long spikes that produce dense lavender to purplish blue flowers. The flowering period is mid summer, and this is followed by production of reddish brown seeds.
Apart from the use of blue vervain seeds as food, the leaves were also used by the Native Americans to prepare tea. This herbal tea is believed to be useful for boosting liver health, for relief from arthritis symptoms, for reducing fever, and for treating certain digestive problems. Even today, blue vervain is used as a herbal remedy for various ailments. Infusion prepared with its leaves is used for treating kidney stones, urinary tract infections, etc. In some regions, blue vervain leaves are crushed and applied, for relief from headaches and earaches.
Blue vervain is also used as a cure for insomnia, and to relax the nerves. It is believed that this vervain is beneficial for female health, as it is used to alleviate premenstrual syndrome, and to increase sexual desire. It is claimed that this herb is effective for increasing lactation. Some people use it to increase contractions during labor. Blue vervain is used to get rid of intestinal parasites too. This herb is believed to have a detoxifying effect, as it promotes sweating, thereby removing toxins from the body. Even though blue vervain is considered a safe herb, it will be better to avoid using it during pregnancy. Blue vervain side effects include vomiting and diarrhea. Usually, such side effects are linked to high doses.
In short, blue vervain is a herb with multiple uses. As far as its medicinal uses are concerned, this herb is available in various forms, like tincture, powder, herbal tea, capsules, flower essence, etc. If you want to use this herb for treating any ailment, it will be always better to consult a qualified herbal practitioner and act as per his instructions. Make sure to stick to the prescribed dosage and duration of treatment.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.