Vervain - Useful Herb for Chapped Skin


Verbena officinalis Verbenaceae Also called Verbena, Simpler's joy, Turkey grass.

A herbaceous perennial, found by roadsides and in sunny pastures in Europe and parts of Asia, vervain grows to a height of 30-70cm. Magical powers were attributed to it by the ancient Germans and Celts, and it was used in Druid ceremonies. Pairs of lobed, oval leaves grow opposite each other along the erect, branched stems. Long, slender spikes if pale lilac flowers hang from the top of the plant in July and early August. Sometimes known as verbena, the plant should not be confused with lemon verbena (Aloysia triphilla).

Parts used

  • Leaves, stems, flowers
  • The aerial parts are picked in July, when the flowers are in bloom.
  • Vervain must be dried promptly to preserve the power of its active compounds. It is used mostly to prepare infusions and tinctures.


Vervain flowers and stems contain iridoid glycosides, including verbenalin and aucubin, which are known to be both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic.

Medicinal uses

Vervain has been used for centuries for a variety of infections, but the ability of its extracts to soothe, heal and relax has only recently been demonstrated by researchers in India. The plant will treat conditions such as sunburn, nappy rash and cracked or chapped skin, and, taken internally, is known to relieve muscle cramps and the symptoms of colds and influenza. It is especially noted for its calming effect on the uterus, providing relief from menstrual cramps. It has also proved effective in combating nervous tension and fatigue and digestive problems, as well as acting as a diuretic.

New studies indicate that vervain helps boost immunity and certain hormonal secretions, including those involved in breast-milk production.


  • Vervain preparations should not be taken during pregnancy.
  • It is not advisable to use vervain when taking any drugs to raise or lower blood pressure.


Vervain can be grown from seed. Plant in any moist well-drained soil in spring or autumn, in a sunny spot.


For internal use

TO TREAT nervous tension, cramps, fatigue, influenza INFUSION Put 2g of dried plant into a cup of boiling water and infuse for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1 cup three times a day. TINCTURE (1:1 in 40% alcohol) Take 30-50 drops in a glass of water, three times a day.

For external use

TO TREAT rashes, sunburn, cracked and chapped skin COMPRESS Add a handful of dried plant to 150ml of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes. Apply on a soaked cloth, two or three times a day.



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