Verbena officinalis

Verbena, vervain

A perennial plant with white, pink or lilac flowers. Found growing in temperate climates often in hedgerows and on wasteland.

The aerial parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes. In folk medicine it was used as a diuretic to alleviate rheumatic complaints and to promote milk production in new mothers. It was taken as a tonic for melancholia, stress, anxiety, headaches, coughs, colds and seizures and was commonly used to aid convalescence after a fever.

Scientific studies have shown some elements of the plant have anti-inflammatory properties whilst others suggest verbena might influence the actions of hormones, explaining its traditional use to stimulate milk production. Further research suggests that the plant may have sedative properties and might help to protect nerve cells. It contains antiviral properties that aid the immune system, explaining the traditional uses of verbena in the treatment of coughs and colds as well as for convalescence following a fever.