Vervain, is also known as Enchanter’s plant, Erba croce, Erba dei tagli, Herb of grace, Herb of the cross, Juno’s tears, Pigeon’s grass, Pigeonweed, Prostrate verbena, Verbena and Yerba de Santa Anaverbena. It is a slender perennial plant with small, pale lilac flowers borne on leafless spikes. This herb has both culinary and medicinal uses.
It is indigenous to the Mediterranean but has been cultivated widely throughout eastern Europe, North Africa, China, and Japan. Verbena officinalis should not be confused with lemon verbena, another herb used that also has medicinal properties and culinary uses.
Vervain Culinary Uses
- The leaves are edible both raw and cooked.
- Young leaves can be used in salads or parboiled or added to soups and stews.
- Older leaves can be used for making tea.
- Flower heads can be used as a garnish, to flavor salt.
- The seeds can be roasted and used on baked goods or ground and added to flour.
Vervain Medicinal Benefits
It is one of the 38 flowering plants used in a homeopathic tincture called Bach Flower Remedy, variations of which are still sold today. Among its purported benefits, it may help in the treatment of:
- General aches and pain
- Digestive dysfunction
- Upper respiratory tract symptoms
- Urinary tract infections
- Depression and anxiety
- The plant is cold tender and seedlings will not survive under cold conditions.
- Seeds need to be cold stratified, before sowing.
- After cold stratification, sow the seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks before planting them out.
- Alternatively you can direct sow the seeds in autumn without prior cold stratification or you can cold stratify the seeds first and then direct sow outdoors after the last frost of Spring.
- Use a well-draining, moist potting mix if starting seed indoors.
- Place a few seeds in each compartment.
- For seed germination to take place, darkness is required, therefore cover the seeds with some soil.
- Germination can take as little as 20 days or up to a month or more.
- Once germination takes place, wait until the first set of true leaves appears before thinning the plants out.
Information is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment offered by healthcare professionals.