Vervain

 

Vervain doesn’t look like much; it’s that tall straggly weed with tiny purple flowers that springs up in your flowerbeds at this time of year.  Dr.Bach, perhaps influenced by its name, decided that the flower remedy he prepared from it was good for ‘over-enthusiasm and fanatical beliefs,’ but this is very far from the action of the herb itself. 

 

Vervain (Verbena officinalis) has been prized since pre-Roman times.  The taste is bitter, which means it stimulates the liver and is a gentle laxative.  It helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, so for anyone trying to cut out chocolate or reform their diet, it is a true friend.  In fact, it’s a useful herb if you’re dealing with any kind of addictive or compulsive behaviour, because it also strengthens the nervous system, helping to even out mood swings, calm anxiety and lift depression.  In its own modest way, it is just as powerful as the more famous adaptogens like Siberian ginseng or Ashwagandha, and it grows freely in our own back gardens.  It works especially well if you combine it with a warming circulatory herb like Limeflowers, or a digestive like Lemon Balm.  For most western herbalists, it ranks high in the herbal top ten, and yet it will never attract research funding or become a superstar.  It’s a prime example of what herbal medicine is really all about.

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