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aturalized Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Vervain, Simpler's Joy, European vervain, Herb of Grace, Tharo-phijub (Manipuri) • Nepali: भेक पादी Bhek Paadee, पित्त मारी Pitta Maaree
Botanical name: Verbena officinalis     Family: Verbenaceae (verbena family)

Vervain is a herbaceous perennial thought to originate in Southern Europe through to China but has been widely grown for thousands of years by many cultures. Has mid-green, slightly hairy, lobed, almost diamond shaped leaves. 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. Flowers June-October but may open as early as April. 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.
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.
Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.
Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Singh • Is this flower misidentified? If yes,