By far, not the most beautiful or fragrant of herbs, but certainly the most magical of all herbs in Europe, the Middle East, and China. Sacred to the Druids, vervain was used for purifying sacred spaces among the groves of oak trees and in spells, potions for divination, crop fertility, and protection from evil spells and lightning. Other names for vervain are: Devil’s bane, enchantment plant, herb of Venus and tears of Isis. For it is the Mighty Queen Isis who urges her followers to use this herb and remember who they are. And who are we? Gods and Goddesses in our own right, having forgotten only for a moment our true selves. Divine beings, who have set aside our divinity to experience the Earth walk.
Vervain is native to Europe, Asia and Africa, and spread to North America somewhere around the 17th century. Vervain is a slender, perennial herb growing to a height of 4 feet, it thrives in full sun and dry, rocky soil. The leaves have a rough texture with serrated edges. In the fall, it bears pale lavender flowers whose tubular shape makes them a favorite of the hummingbird. Sow the seeds thickly on dry soil. Germination is slow, so be patient. Harvest the green tops just before the plants begin to flower. Air dry the tops on a clean window screen or paper towels. Once the tops are dry, store them in glass jars. Use them within a year.
Medicinally, vervain has a calming effect on the nervous system and a tea or infusion made from the leaves will help with mild depression. The Iroquois people of North America brewed a simple broth from the green tops and drank it for fatigue. We will never know the wealth of herbal knowledge lost to us from the Indian tribes. For long ago, they lived close to spirit and served the Earth Mother in reverence.
For the safe and appropriate use of vervain teas and tinctures, consult with your health care professional. Do not handle vervain or consume it if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Good to know- Devil’s bane is derived from the Celtic ferfaen, from fer to “drive away” and faen, “to stone.” To stone the Devil and drive him away.
Blessed be, sweet ones.
~ Meadow Walker