Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

Posted by Sara Carlson on

Blue vervain (Verbena hastata) is a tall, slender, and elegant self sowing perennial that can be found growing wild in zones 3-7 in moist or wet places usually shores, meadows thickets as well as dry abandoned places. In a  garden habitat she is really versatile and grows pretty much everywhere.  Deb Soule has noticed vervain doesn't like to be in beds however.

She can grow to 3 or 4 feet and is supported by a stiff square stem with hairy opposite lance shaped leaves. A cluster of pointed spires form at the top of the plant where small purple blooms will form in a circle around the spire. Only one ring of small purple flowers is open at a time, and usually they start blooming from the bottom up.


The flowering tops are used to make tinctures, the dried leaves can be used in infused oils for salves and balms that will help heal up skin ulcers and wounds from things like psoriasis, eczema, scrapes, scratches, etc. Blue vervain can be found in teas but some do not enjoy the flavor as she is very bitter.

Blue vervain is a wonderful herb to use when you are stressed out, a work-a-holic, become obsessive, holding tension in shoulders and neck, and generally just need to calm down. She helps sort out your thoughts so you can process them one at a time instead of a jumbled mess.


According to Maria Noël Groves in her book Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies she talks about how since there are so many uses for vervain you may even think people are talking about different plants. She mentions how "Blue vervain is a bitter liver and digestive tonic, eases metabolic wobbles (i.e., emotional lability associated with being "hangry" or having low blood sugar), and helps support the immune system during oncoming or acute infections, primarily as a fever-thwarting diaphoretic."

As a liver tonic it has been said that Blue vervain can help the liver process the blood quicker ultimately making it a great blood purifier.

Blue vervain also works well in homemade mouthwash for treating infected gums, and sore mouths and throats.

She has been said to be great for women who get hormonal migranes from the start of the menopausal process.

The tincturing experience with blue vervain is quite spectacular, even using only the green leaves or a few of the purple flowers will result in a beautifully dark almost black tincture that is potent an causes you mouth to pucker.

When dosing blue vervain tincture a dose of 3-5 drops 1-3 times daily as needed is usually enough but up to 60 drops may be used to reach desired effect. Larger doses may make your stomach upset or cause vomiting. 

A harvest of blue vervain seeds.

Blue vervain is a safe herb, even for children however, in the book The Modern Herbal Dispensatory, by Thomas Easley and Steven Horne it is noted that "large doses may stimulate a miscarriage in pregnant women, although in normal doses blue vervain was used traditionally to protect against miscarriage." So please keep that in mind when working with large doses of this ally.


Vervain has a rich history and hold many names like holywort, Juno's tears, enchanter's plant, and turkey grass. The name vervain originates from the Celtic word “ferfaen, from fer (to drive away), and faen (a stone)”, hinting at its most common folk use. The Druids honored this plant so much it was called "the Herb (Yn Lus),” and the “Chief Herb (Yn Ard Lus).”

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