Uses

Botanical names:
Verbena officinalis

Parts Used & Where Grown

The most commonly used species is European vervain (Verbena officinalis), though blue vervain (V. hastata) and V. macdougalii, among others, are probably interchangeable. V. officinalis is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa and has spread to North America. Other medicinal species are native to North America. The leaf and flower are used in herbal medicine.

What Are Star Ratings?

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
2 Stars
Colic (Chamomile, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Licorice)
1/2 cup (118 ml) of tea up to three times daily
A soothing tea made from chamomile, vervain, licorice, fennel, and lemon balm has been shown to relieve colic more effectively than placebo.

Carminatives are a class of herbs commonly used for infants with colic. These herbs tend to relax intestinal spasms.

Chamomile is a carminative with long history of use as a calming herb and may be used to ease intestinal cramping in colicky infants. A soothing tea made from chamomile, vervain, licorice, fennel, and lemon balm has been shown to relieve colic more effectively than placebo. In this study, approximately 1/2 cup (150 ml) of tea was given during each colic episode up to a maximum of three times per day.

1 Star
Depression
Refer to label instructions
Vervain is a traditional herb used for depression.

Vervain is a traditional herb for depression; however, there is no research to validate this use.

1 Star
Dysmenorrhea
Refer to label instructions
Vervain is a traditional herb for dysmenorrhea.

Vervain is a traditional herb for dysmenorrhea, however there is no research to validate this use. Tincture has been recommended at an amount of 5-10 ml three times per day.

1 Star
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
Refer to label instructions
Vervain is a digestive stimulant widely used in traditional medicine in North America.

Bitter herbs are thought to stimulate digestive function by increasing saliva production and promoting both stomach acid and digestive enzyme production. As a result, they are particularly used when there is low stomach acid but not in heartburn (where too much stomach acid could initially exacerbate the situation). These herbs literally taste bitter. Some examples of bitter herbs include greater celandine, wormwood, gentian,dandelion, blessed thistle, yarrow, devil's claw, bitter orange, bitter melon, juniper, andrographis, prickly ash, and centaury.. Bitters are generally taken either by mixing 1-3 ml tincture into water and sipping slowly 10-30 minutes before eating, or by making tea, which is also sipped slowly before eating.

Some bitters widely used in traditional medicine in North America include yarrow, yellow dock, goldenseal, Oregon grape, and vervain. Oregon grape's European cousin barberry has also traditionally been used as a bitter. Animal studies indicate that yarrow, barberry, and Oregon grape, in addition to stimulating digestion like other bitters, may relieve spasms in the intestinal tract.

1 Star
Sinusitis (Elder Flower, Gentian Root, Primrose Flowers, Sorrel)
Refer to label instructions
An herbal combination of gentian root, primrose flowers, sorrel herb, elder flowers, and European vervain has been found to help promote mucus drainage from the sinuses.

One of the most popular supportive treatments for both acute and chronic sinusitis in Germany is an herbal combination containing gentian root, primrose flowers, sorrel herb, elder flowers, and European vervain. The combination has been found to be useful in helping to promote mucus drainage ("mucolytic" action) from the sinuses. The combination is typically used together with antibiotics for treating acute sinusitis.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Due to its bitter taste, herbalists used vervain to improve digestion. Vervain was also used to treat people with depression and spastic pains in the gastrointestinal tract, as a mild diaphoretic (to induce sweating and promote mild fevers), and for all manner of female reproductive system problems when associated with melancholy or anxiety.1 Early 20th century Eclectic physicians (doctors who recommended herbal medicines) in the United States felt vervain might be helpful for mild digestive problems.2 Vervain also has a reputation as a traditional remedy for stimulating production of breast milk.3

How It Works

Botanical names:
Verbena officinalis

How It Works

The active constituents of vervain have not been thoroughly demonstrated. Glycosides, such as verbenalin and aucubin, and a volatile oil may all contribute to its activity.4 No human studies have documented the use of this herb for any condition.

How to Use It

A tea of vervain leaves and flowers is prepared by adding 1-2 teaspoons (2-4 grams) to a pint (500 ml) of hot water which is left to steep, covered, for 10-15 minutes.5 Three cups (750 ml) per day are typically recommended by doctors. The taste of the tea is fairly disagreeable, therefore, most people prefer a tincture. Tincture, 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) three times per day, is also suggested.6

Interactions

Botanical names:
Verbena officinalis

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers' package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Verbena officinalis

Side Effects

No adverse effects of vervain have been reported. Vervain should be avoided during pregnancy.7 Although, traditionally, its use was during the last two weeks of pregnancy to facilitate labor. Vervain should be used during pregnancy only under the guidance of a healthcare professional experienced in herbal medicine.

References

1. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 263.

2. Felter HW. Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1922, 693-4.

3. Oliver-Bever BEP. Medicinal Plants in Tropical West Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

4. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 263.

5. British Herbal Medicine Association Scientific Committee. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. West Yorks, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1983.

6. British Herbal Medicine Association Scientific Committee. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. West Yorks, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1983.

7. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A (eds). American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997.