January Spotlight - Blue Vervain
We love blue vervain for so many reasons! During our first season of farming, she supported us through our most stressful moments, helping to reduce the overwhelming sense of anxiety that comes with not only starting a business, but a farm as well. We call upon her for support during our luteal phase to help with irritability and cramping.
A true gift of midsummer is seeing her tall spires waving in the breeze, walking amongst her purple flowers buzzing with pollinators.
Haven't worked with blue vervain before? Below is a little guide to introduce you to this bitter + beautiful herbal ally and some of our favorite ways to work with her!
Latin name: Verbena hastata
Plant family: Verbenaceae
Parts used: all aerial parts
Native to all of the US and parts of Canada
antispasmodic, bitter, febrifuge, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, sedative
Cooling, relaxing, drying
Planting + harvest notes
Self seeding perennial
Recommended one month cold stratification before seeding to help germination
In zone 5b we start our blue vervain seedlings in mid-April and plant them out by end of May-early June
Harvest leaves and flowers when plant begins to bloom
Can get multiple cuttings in one season
Has affinities for the musculoskeletal, nervous, digestive, reproductive systems as well as the neck + shoulders
Affinity for type A, uptight personalities
Extremely bitter taste indicates its antispasmodic nature as well as its support to liver
Decreases mental tension by softening musculoskeletal system that is suffering from stress + anxiety
Can aid in softening shoulder + neck tension that leads to stiff shoulders, neck + TMJ, tension headaches
Aids in pre-menstrual symptoms including cramps + irritability
Can aid in inducing sweating to break a fever
Best if taken on a more long term basis to feel effects
Extremely large doses may cause nausea + vomiting
Large doses may stimulate miscarriage
According to USDA, blue vervain can interfere with blood pressure medication and hormone therapy
Always consult with your healthcare professional before taking
Working with Blue Vervain
Tincture (folk method) - chop fresh aerial parts and pack into jar, pour alcohol or glycerin over herb enough to keep submerged. Once submerged, push the plant matter down to release any air bubbles that may be caught before putting the lid on. Label + store in cool, dark place and shake daily to infuse with positive energy Strain after 4-6 weeks + compost plant matter
Add to digestive bitters, nervine and/or PMS tincture blends
Oil infusion - Place dried leaves in jar and cover with oil of your choice
Set jar on sunny spot on windowsill for two weeks and shake throughout this time
Strain, label + store jar in a cool, dark place
Salve or balm - After straining infused blue vervain oil, you can take it to the next step and make a salve!
Warm infused oil on a double boiler over very low heat and add in beeswax - we recommend 5-6 parts oil to 1 part wax but you can adjust depending on the consistency you are going for
Stir consistently until beeswax is completely melted into oil
As you remove the top bowl from the double boiler, wipe any water that remains on the bottom of the bowl to prevent it dripping into salve
*This is time sensitive as you don’t want your balm to begin setting before you’ve poured it
Pour into your preferred jar or tin, let cool, then put lid on and store in cool, dark place!
Use oil or salve on neck + shoulders to help reduce tension and support relaxed muscles!
Herbal Academy, Recipes + Monographs, Intermediate Herbal Course
Rosemary Gladstar, Medicinal Herbs - A Beginner's Guide
__________________________________________________________________________*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.