Verbena

Verbena, also called as vervain, is a semi woody biennial flowering plant. It belongs to the family of verbenaceae. Verbena is one among about 250 varieties of the species of the same family.

Origin

The plant has its origin in America and Asia. It is a drought resistant plant that grows in average type of soil. The plant can with stand sun’s heat very well. The plant grows in white, pink, purple and blue colors. It is used as an herbal medicine and also for ornamental value.

It is believed by Christians that the herb was used to cure the wounds of Jesus, after his removal from the cross. Romans considered the plant as sacred and holy.

The plant is grown in gardens for their beauty and also attracts number of birds. The plant can be grown either by transplantation or by sowing seeds. But the seeds take a month’s time to germinate whereas growing by transplantation can be quick.

Uses of Verbena

The parts of the plant used are leaves, stems, flowers, roots and shoots. The herb tastes bitter and is astringent by nature.

Health benefits of Verbena                   

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Verbena provides a lot of health benefits.

  • It is used as a tranquilizing agent and as an anti-depressant. The herb is used for relief from seizures and hysteria.
  • Verbena cures all respiratory tract disorders including whooping cough, angina (pain in the chest) and asthma. The herb has anti-inflammatory properties. It is an expectorant which reduces the formation of mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tract.
  • Consumption of the herb cures bloating, flatulence and cramps.
  • It reduces metabolic and digestive disorders on account of which it cures diarrhea.
  • As the herb is anti-parasitic, it prevents growth of parasites in the intestine. Moreover jaundice and urinary tract disorders are also cured. Since the herb is diuretic it eliminates unwanted toxins, salt and fat from the body through urine.

Treatment of various diseases

  • The herb is used in the treatment of gout, arthritis, liver and kidney disorders, nervous disorders and gallbladder problems. Consumption of the herbal tea calms down the central nervous system and keep the body relaxed. It is applied for reducing joint pains
  • While rejuvenating the nervous system, the herb relieves lethargy and nervous tension.

For better sexual health

  • The herb is an aphrodisiac which enhances sexual desire.
  • It is very useful for women in treating irregular menstrual cycle and other discomforts during and after menstruation. It also treats symptoms of menopause.
  • This herb increases the production of milk in lactating mothers.
  • The herb is used after delivery of the child to contract the uterus and before delivery to reduce labor pain.
  • The analgesic property of the herb reduces headache and abdominal pain associated with menstruation. The herb is a natural antispasmodic with potential to cure menstrual cramps.
  • Since the herb can cause abortion, it is used to restore the menstrual cycle after pregnancy period is over.
  • Application of verbena topically cures skin disorders like itching, bruises, abscesses and burns in addition to healing wounds.
  • Its ointment cures skin infections, insect bites and other skin related disorders when applied on the skin. It may be mentioned here that the herb was traditionally used to cure snake bites.
  • Sore throat and symptoms of common cold are cured by verbena.
  • In combination with other herbs it is used in treatment of sinusitis.
  • Chewing the roots of the plant strengthens the gum and teeth. Being astringent due to presence of tannins it is used as a mouthwash by which it cures mouth ulcers and also tonsils.

 How to consume

The herb is used in the form of tea, tonic, tincture and infusion.

The easy and best way of using the herb is in the form of tea as the preparation is quick and simple. By just boiling in water for about ten minutes and then extracting the green and fresh leaves or dried herb the tea is prepared. Either pure honey or grass fed milk can be added for taste. If preparation of fresh tea every day is not possible it can be prepared in one go and refrigerated for a week.

Warning

About 2 to 4gm of the herb can be consumed per day. Over dosage can cause nausea or vomiting.

The herb is generally safe for consumption barring certain exemptions. Pregnant women should strictly avoid consumption as it has the potential to cause abort or menstruation and such reactions have been evidenced by records. Children below the age of two years should not be given oral doses as a precaution against possible side effects even though side effects are not indicated by its consumption in adults.

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.