Vervain Benefits

Latin Name

Verbena officinalis

Also Known As

European vervain, Enchanter's plant, Herb of the Cross, Holy herb, Juno's tears, Pigeon's grass, Pigeonweed, Simpler's joy, Herb of Grace German = Eisenkraut, French = Verveine, Spanish and Italian = Verbena


England, central and southern Europe, North Africa and Asia

Parts Used

The aerial parts

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Vervain is a nervine, and is therefore known to be strengthening to the nervous system. It is useful in conditions of stress and nervous tension, and it has a calming and relaxing effect on the body. It is also indicated for use in the treatment of depression and sadness, particually if this is experienced after a debilitating illness. As a relaxant and anti-spasmodic herb it is useful in asthma, nervous coughing, and insomnia.

It combines well with skullcap and Oats for insomnia and nervous tension. It is also a tonic for the liver and combines well with Rosemary and wormwood, as a treatment for a liver and nervous system that may be harmed from alcohol and drug abuse. A relaxing herb that is useful for exhaustion due to insomnia, and the calming of the nerves.

Typical Use

Vervain tincture 100ml 2-4ml x 3/day.

Folklore and History

Vervain was one of the sacred herbs of the Druids and was called hiera botane, or sacred plant, by the Romans. It is also traditionally used in witchcraft for invoking the directions. In China, the plant is known as ma bian cao, and it is used mainly as a fever remedy for malaria and influenza. The Chinese also use vervain to treat migraine, associated with changes in female sex hormones, such as PMT, menopause, and post natal.


Iridoid glycosides (verbenin, verbenalin, bastatoside), bitter principle, tannin, volatile oil (including citral, geraniol, limonene, verbenone), mucilage, unidentified alkaloid, saponin.


It should be avoided during pregnancy because it is a uterine stimulant, but it may be taken during labour to stimulate contractions.