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Religious and Magical Uses of Vervain

Vervain is a perennial herb native to the Old World that has a historical connection to religion. In the past, it was a popular addition to the typical garden, and has a reputation for being used for healing purposes. In this article, you will learn more about vervain, its uses, and historical facts.

Today, vervain is grown in gardens for ornamental purposes, as well as for medicinal uses. If you are unable to grow your own, health and natural food stores often stock vervain in a dried form. In gardens, vervain decorates spaces with small white to purple flowers that grow on delicate spikes. The leaves of the herb are described as hairy and saw-toothed. The plant is suggested for zones 1 through 8. Vervain possesses a sweet scent and appealing fragrance, which made it a popular addition to sachets that people used to discourage insect pest stings and bites.

Vervain has a historical connection to Christ. The plant was seen as being holy. Some people would call the plant ‘devil’s bane’ because it was through that wearing vervain or using it played a role in keeping evil spirits away. Others saw vervain as an effective method of deterring vampires.

It is said that if vervain is gathered during a new moon, you can place it under your pillow at bedtime to encourage a love interest to come closer to you. If you don’t have your eyes set on anyone in particular, the herb is thought to help you focus on love and attracting a suitable match.

The herb has a history of being used in rituals, as well as in medical treatments. If someone wished to conjure up a spirit, they would drink vervain tea as a tonic to encourage relaxation during the process.

In medicinal circles, the herb was used to promote digestion. Others would use vervain to treat nausea, colic, diarrhea, and other issues associated with the intestines. When made into a wash for the mouth, the herb had a reputation for freshening bad breath and reduces bacteria in the oral cavity. When added to a bath, the plant was known to treat minor skin conditions, such as itchy skin and irritation. However, it is important to note that pregnant women should not use vervain, as it has been linked to causing miscarriages within the first trimester.  

Growing Vervain

If you have vervain in your garden, make sure to keep it in full sun and in well drained, limey soil. Some people find success in growing the herb in containers. A disadvantage to planting the herb is that it tends to look slightly weedy and unkempt. If you cut the stems of the plant when the flowers have matured, you can dry the herb for later use. Store dried vervain in a cool, dry, dark place so that it can retain its potency.