Herbal KnowledgeFeb 2, 2022

Pharm Education: Blue Vervain

Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) is a perennial in the Verbenaceae, or Verbena, family. While this particular species is native to the northern US and Canada, the herb is found around the world and has a rich history of use. Also known as Simpler’s Joy and Enchanter’s Plant, Blue Vervain grows up to 5 feet in height and produces small blue flowers. In the wild it is most often found in moist prairies and meadows, around springs and stream banks, and in low, open woodlands.


The history and folklore of Blue Vervain

The name Verbena means “altar plant,” and it was used as an altar herb by the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. Altars were sprinkled with Vervain water, and Vervain twigs were bundled and used to sweep altars. That gives you a good sense of the high regard in which this plant was held. In ancient Egyptian mythology, Vervain was sacred to the goddess Isis, and it is said that whenever she cried, Vervain would grow where her tears hit the ground.

During the Middle Ages, Vervain was carried for good luck, and keeping it in your home was said to protect against lightning. Vervain was revered by the Druids, who gathered the herb before sunrise using an iron tool. They then poured honey into the ground to replace the plant. Vervain was also carried during peace negotiations in ancient Rome, and it was said that if enemies shared a tea made from this plant, they would become friends.

Blue Vervain and herbalism

Here at Herb Pharm, we use Blue Vervain flowering tops in our extracts. They are collected and dried before they are sent to our processing facility for extraction. It is very bitter, which is a taste that we know helps to support the health of the digestive system.* A strikingly beautiful yet simple herb that is beloved by butterflies and bees, it makes a welcome addition to any herb garden and is one of our favorite, lesser-known herbs that we grow on the farms.


Herb at a glance

Botanical name: Verbena hastata
Common name(s): Blue Vervain, Simpler’s Joy and Enchanter’s Plant
Plant Family: Verbenaceae
Native habitat: northern US and Canada
Parts used: flowering top
Botanical description: plant reaches 5 feet in height, with oppositely arranged, long lanceolate leaves on square stems, branched at the top with spikes of small blue flowers
Use(s): optional well-being*
Flavor profile: very bitter, aromatic and slightly mint