Blue vervain health benefits: for malaria and parasitic worms

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Originally published on Herbal Medicine from Your Garden

Blue vervain is more than twice the height of the European common vervain

Blue vervain is more than twice the height of the European common vervain

Blue vervain or American blue vervain, Verbena hastata, is closely related to the common (European) vervain, which is also sometimes called blue vervain. Other names by which it is known include swamp verbena, American vervain, false vervain, Indian hyssop, purvain and traveler’s joy; it shares the names simpler’s joy, wild hyssop and vervain with the common vervain. It is not related to hyssop or lemon verbena.

Blue vervain is a native of North America, whereas common vervain is a native of Europe. It reaches a height of 4’6″ (1.5m), more than twice the height of common vervain, and a spread of 2 feet (60cm). It requires moist, well drained soil and will not grow in shade.

Blue vervain is not quite as useful as common vervain, but it does have one unique property, which is that it is “antiperiodic“, which means it can be used to treat diseases like malaria. I don’t recall covering any other herb that can be used for this illness so far (though I may be wrong), and it’s true that currently this disease doesn’t often occur in the West, but with global warming it seems that this is only a matter of time. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea to start growing this plant now, so that it will be well established in case of need!

Other uses for this herb are as an expectorant for coughs (taken warm), a tranquillizer, an emetic (to induce vomiting), a treatment for internal parasites, and externally as a wound herb. Don’t take too much at one time, or the emetic property will probably kick in. For all these purposes make a standard infusion using 2 tablespoonfuls of chopped root to 570 ml (2.5 US cups, 1 UK pint) of boiling water, and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes, then strain and take 75ml (1/3 US cup, 3 fl oz) up to 3 times a day. It can also be used as a tonic, for which the dose is 2-3 tsp up to 6 times a day.

As with all herbal remedies, to avoid adulteration by foreign chemicals, you should grow blue vervain organically. To find out more about growing organic herbs visit the Gardenzone.

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