Botanical name: Verbena officinalis Family: Verbenaceae (verbena family)
Vervain is a herbaceous perennial with mid-green, slightly hairy, lobed, almost diamond shaped leaves. It bears tiny, lilac, 2 lipped flowers with a larger, 5 lobed bottom lip, borne on slender flower spikes. The flowers open from the bottom of the spike first. It rarely has more then 4 flowers open on the spike at any one time so it's quite inconspicuous unless you look for it. Once considered a very sacred herb. The druids supposedly introduced it to the Romans. The Romans so venerated the plant they even held an annual festival in honour of it called Verbenalia. Roman brides also wore the flowers at weddings as it was sacred to the goddess of love Venus. Vervain is native to Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, including the Himalayas, at altitudes of 100-1800 m.
Medicinal uses: Vervain makes an excellent nerve tonic and is used in the treatment of nervous disorders, epilepsy, some respiritory problems such as whooping cough, urinary tract problems, sedetive, detoxification, as a digestive, a cooling wash for mild fever, sore throats some skin complaints like eczema and for bringing out bruising. It can also be used as a refreshing eye tonic and suprisingly it was one of the first commercial hair tonics.
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