Useful information

Verbena officinalis - healing Tears of Isis

A bit of history

 

This plant has a rich history, many legends are associated with it. The Latin name of the plant has a Celtic origin, which, however, is not surprising, given the reverent attitude of the Celtic Druids to vervain. And, for example, the German name is a literal translation of the name of the plant, which was given to him by Dioscorides (sideros - iron), although there is practically no iron in the plant. According to German doctors, it was the best remedy for wounds with iron weapons, and it was added in iron smelting.

The ancient Egyptians called it "Tears of Isis"; bunches of plants were burned at the celebrations dedicated to this goddess. In addition, it was used as a wound healing agent for wounds and cuts. Already in Indo-Germanic ceremonies, verbena was used to clean sacrificial stones or the surface of an altar.

In ancient Greece, she was associated with the goddess of the dawn of Eos. Ancient doctors used it for epilepsy, fever, skin diseases. Pliny attributed it to the most famous flora of the Roman Empire. Bunches of this herb were placed on the altar in the temples of the god Jupiter. The Romans burned bunches of grass for the renovation of premises, as well as for the treatment of many diseases.

In ancient times, remedies made from verbena were often used to treat snakebites and diarrhea. At the same time, verbena root was chewed in order to strengthen its teeth and gums. In addition, the roots were added as an ingredient in all kinds of lovingly bewitching drinks.

Interestingly, the verbena herb served for various purposes - a love potion for medieval witches and at the same time a means to fight witches, used to remove spoilage.

In the Middle Ages, it was a tool for spells and witchcraft, but not only. Hildegard Bingen wrote in her writings that verbena helps with many diseases, and Paracelsus, given his craving for mysticism, also could not ignore this plant.

Verbena, as a popular medicinal plant, was brought from Europe to North America by the Puritans. These herbs are now common in North America among numerous American vervains.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was an important remedy in the treatment of headaches, eye inflammation, jaundice and cough. But at present, the information is rather contradictory: from complete denial of medicinal properties, to the most enthusiastic reviews.

Botanical description and habitat

 

Verbena officinalis (Verbena officinalis) - perennial herb of the vervain family. As a rule, it is a perennial but short-lived herbaceous plant with a height of 25 to 70 cm. The stems are rigid, tetrahedral, erect and branchy almost from the base to the very top. Leaves are opposite, dark green, shiny, sessile, ovate-oblong or oblong; the lower ones are pinnately cut, the middle ones are three-cut, the upper ones are notched-crenate or whole-edged. The leaves are rough to the touch, obovate or oblong ovate, coarsely toothed or even strongly dissected.

Verbena officinalis (Verbena officinalis)

Blooms from May to September. The flowers are collected in an inflorescence that resembles a rare spike, and the botanists call the scientific word thyrsus. The flowers are small, zygomorphic, from white to red. The stamens are collected in pairs - two long and two short. Fruits are small, brown, ripen between July and October.

Most often, verbena is found in deciduous forests of the temperate and partly subtropical belt. Verbena loves sunny, sheltered places with moderately fertile and slightly acidic, sandy or clayey soil and requires good moisture throughout the season. It is a fairly hardy plant and grows well on roads and landfills. As an invasive plant, it has spread widely throughout the world and is found in human dwellings.Interestingly, during archaeological excavations of ancient castles and cities in Europe, you can almost always find vervain nearby.

In the wild, the plant is found in the south of European Russia and the Caucasus. But they are also familiar with it in Western Europe, North Africa, Japan and China. It grows on forest edges, meadows, clearings, in gullies, on the sea shores, like a weed in gardens, vegetable gardens, along roads, on boundaries. It rises in the mountains up to an altitude of 1200 m above sea level.

 

Medicinal raw materials

 

Leaves and grass collected during flowering are used for medicinal purposes. Raw materials are dried outdoors in the shade, under awnings, in attics, and if in a dryer, then at a temperature not higher than + 40 ° C.

 

Active ingredients

 

Verbena contains iridoids (verbenalin - 0.15%, gastatoside - 0.08%), associated flavones, including 6-hydroxyapigenin and 6-hydroxyluteolin, derivatives of hydroxycinnamic acids (verbascoside - 0.8%), a small amount of mucus, salicylic acid and traces of essential oil, small amounts of triterpene saponins and β-sitosterol.

Interestingly, on the Internet, vervain is often confused with the essential oil plant lemon verbena from America, but this is a completely different plant with a strong lemon scent, even belonging to another botanical genus Lippia (Lippia). Real verbena is practically odorless and contains many bitter substances.

Despite numerous modern pharmacological studies, it has not been possible to find out which of the substances in the plant determines a particular property. Therefore, verbena preparations are now being used more and more in traditional medicine. But at the same time, it is an essential part of standard anti-cold remedies.

 

Application in official and traditional medicine

 

Nowadays it is very popular in French and Chinese medicine, less in German and mostly among homeopaths in our country. Homeopathy uses fresh aerial plant parts collected during flowering. Used for hemorrhages and cerebral disorders.

Verbena officinalis (Verbena officinalis)

The plant has a tonic effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, improves digestion and assimilation of food. It is believed that the plant has an antidepressant effect, relieves stress and has a restorative effect on the central nervous system during prolonged stress and nervous exhaustion. She is a good general tonic for many chronic diseases. In folk medicine, verbena was used for almost all diseases: inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, for colds and gastrointestinal diseases, as a diuretic.

A secretolytic, anti-inflammatory, antitussive action is mentioned, which, according to researchers, is based on the iridoid glycoside verbenaline. The immunomodulatory effect of verbena extracts (inhibiting phagocytosis on granulocytes), as well as antibacterial and antiviral properties have been established. There is a weak decongestant and analgesic effect. It is part of the Sinupret preparation.

For cardiovascular diseases, it is recommended for cardiac arrhythmias, nervousness, hyperthyroidism, which is often accompanied by an increased heart rate. It has a calming, slightly antidepressant effect.

In all countries, verbena is considered a female plant, in particular, it was used in oriental medicine for female frigidity. However, there is evidence that in experiments on aquarium fish, guppies, the androgenic effect of verbena was revealed. It normalizes the cycle. In addition, the property of vervain is known to activate the contraction of the muscles of the uterus during childbirth. But from here comes its contraindication - use during pregnancy.

The diuretic effect makes the plant useful for excreting fluids as well as treating gout. The herb contains significant amounts of tannins, making it an effective astringent, useful for rinsing the mouth, for treating bleeding gums and mouth ulcers.In addition, lotions or ointments made from verbena are a valuable medicine for insect bites and skin conditions.

In traditional Chinese medicine (Mabiancao) in the form of aboveground parts, dried in the sun, it is used for female diseases, carbuncles, painful cough, swelling. Chinese medicine uses it for migraines caused by premenstrual syndrome. In folk medicine, verbena is used as a tonic for general weakness, anemia. The preparations of this plant are recommended for amenorrhea in young women of asthenic constitution.

Infusions and decoctions of herbs in Russian and Bulgarian folk medicine are a general tonic. Verbena preparations are effective for depletion of the body, anemia and as a depurative agent for industrial intoxication or exposure to ionizing radiation.

 

Home use

 

Infusion of leaves used for the diseases listed above. Prepare it as follows: pour 1 teaspoon of crushed raw materials with 1 glass of boiling water, leave for 10 minutes, drain. Drink sips throughout the day.

In Germany, the following dosage of the plant is recommended: 1.5 g 3-4 times a day, infused in 150 ml of water. Or tincture 3 times a day, 30-40 drops.

Verbena officinalis (Verbena officinalis)

For external use the infusion is prepared more concentrated, that is, take 1 tablespoon per 1 cup of boiling water. It is used for poorly healing wounds, ulcers, fistulas, trophic ulcers, thrombophlebitis in the form of lotions and compresses, rinse your mouth for stomatitis and gingivitis.

French herbalists recommend adding the leaf powder to the tooth powder when brushing your teeth. In their opinion, this will prevent the development of gum disease.

 

Contraindications However, if the recommended dose is exceeded, frustration and diarrhea may occur. In addition, the plant stimulates the smooth muscles of the uterus and is therefore contraindicated in pregnancy.

 

Other application

 

In the Caucasus, verbena roots are sometimes used for pickling and pickling cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage.

In the south of France in the Le Pey-en-Velay region called Verveine de velay it is used to prepare a distillate (strong alcoholic beverage), which is used as an aperitif. In addition, in France, verbena is added to everyday gatherings and teas, and in Arab countries, tea is prepared from it in a mixture with mint.

 

 

Growing on the site

 

The soil for growing verbena should be well-permeable and not very heavy, and the place should be sunny. Seeds are sown in late autumn before winter or early spring. The seeding depth is about 1 cm, the distance between the sand grouses is 50-60 cm. Plant care consists in watering and loosening. They tolerate transplanting well, so they can be "moved around the site" not only in spring.

 

In the Non-Chernozem Zone, plants often fall out in winter, but they begin to renew themselves from loose seeds. Therefore, if this happens, do not rush to dig up the site, wait for the emergence of verbena shoots and transplant them to the chosen place.

Seed germination does not last long, so it is better not to store them for a long time.

Plants recover well after cutting the raw materials, so they are decorative for almost the entire season. You can place verbena in a mixborder or in a separate group.

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