Known as the favorite herb to make spells, due to its great use in ancient times in rituals and for its magical properties. The verbena, with tiny flowers in mostly blue tones, whose height can extend up to about 80 cm, is very easy to find in spaces without cultivation and at the edges of the roads. Today verbena is marketed in powder, infusion and extract. Thanks to its multiple health benefits, it is used in various areas of medicine.
It is precisely about verbena that we will delve into its properties, in addition to its particular characteristics, contraindications and possible side effects, the way of cultivation and extraction. We even give you some simple recipes to prepare verbena and alleviate some ailments.
Learn to prepare fantastic remedies with the leaves of this wonderful plant that nature has given us, it is not too complicated to do from the comfort of your home. Learn all about verbena and enjoy the healing benefits of this ancient plant, you will understand the reasons why the Romans and Greeks used it regularly.
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What is verbena?
Herbaceous plant that depending on the species can be biennial, perennial or annual. Verbena belongs to the group of Verbenaceae, which is a natural plant in areas with a temperate climate, specifically in Australia, North America and Europe. At least we can find about 250 species of verbena, in this extensive group we can highlight the Verbena brasiliensis, Verbena hastata, Verbena officinalis, Verbena corymbosa, Verbena bonariensis and Verbena supina.
Verbena is known under the following common names: Field Verbena, Yapo, White Verbena, Yerba de los spechizos, Wirwina, Yapa, among others.
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Origin of verbena
Verbena is a native plant from South America, this semi-woody plant does not reach much height, has a profuse flowering and high resistance. It is an excellent herbaceous plant to create beds and borders due to its size.
This plant has spread to Asia, Africa and of course Europe. We can find the verbena growing spontaneously in rubble lands, roadsides, moors, abandoned places and protected at all times from the wind.
History of the verbena
If we talk about the history of the verbena, according to folk legends the wounds of Jesus after the crucifixion were closed with this plant. This plant was widely celebrated in the past and was the main protagonist in religious events. For example, it was associated with mistletoe by the Celts, the Druids relied on the verbena to predict future events.
The verbena was used by the Romans to vaporize purifying water and clean altars at times of sacrifices.
Heralds used to carry a branch of this herbaceous plant during war as a sign of peace before the enemy. Even newly married couples entrusted their happiness by bringing a bouquet of verbena to the altar under a cloak.
In addition, it is said that this plant is part of the Rosicrucian fraternity, those who see its flower will have fortune in love and it blooms on Good Friday.
The daughters of the druids were crowned using crowns of this plant, when they began in the art of magic. The fortune tellers and magicians of the Middle Ages gave it great prominence, they used it in their own elixirs or filters to enchant and enliven the love passions close to being paid. The old verbena bushes were hung on the doors of houses to prevent or dispel diseases, get rid of geniuses full of evil and cast spells.
Verbena is commonly used in protective spells and love potions. The plant has even been used as its own amulet. Sprinkling with an infusion of verbena scares away evil spirits. Helps calm emotions and acts as a peacemaker . It is highly healing and protective, as well as being burned to remove unrequited love.
At present, all the exaggerated magical virtues of the verbena have been surpassed. That is why the verbena plant is recognized more for its multiple medicinal and therapeutic properties with high efficiency . Verbena is an expectorant, febrifuge, antispasmodic, sedative, antineuralgic, antirheumatic plant, widely used to treat migraines and headaches.
In addition to being stomachic and digestive, helping to calm gastric pains, it is anti-anemic and purifying. Today it is recognized for its stimulating property of metabolic exchanges, among other uses and benefits.
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Verbena is a plant that has flowers with both sexes (monoecious), it has an irregular shape, but with a specific number of petals in each of its flowers. Verbena shoots normally grow in bushy clusters, the structure of which is quite similar to that of a spike. The structures are full of showy and tiny flowers with a white or purple hue, generally.
It can measure between 50 cm to 100 cm in height at most. A large number of branches can be seen where their rough, elongated leaves stand out, arranged in a contrasting way, varying this shape according to the height where they have grown. The upper and lower leaves are slightly petiolate, roughly denticulate; on the other hand, the intermediate lobed and divided ones.
Verbena flowers are quite small and tube-shaped, they appear in dicasiums that conquer butterflies. We can see different colors, among which are red, pale pink, white, mauve and purple . The diameter of only 5 cm in its flowers does not detract from its attractiveness against bees.
In places with cold climates, verbena is cultivated as an annual plant, although the life cycle in hot climates does not live long (barely 4 years). Verbena requires weekly watering and nutrients, it has high resistance to drought. Too much humidity can cause the plant fungal diseases.
As for the verbena fruit, we can say that it is capsule-shaped, the verbena seeds can be found inside this fruit. In general, 4 seeds are obtained for each fruit.
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Scientific name of verbena
The scientific name for verbena is “Verbena Littoralis HBK”.
Chemical composition of verbena
The plant is composed of glycosides, mucilages, saponin, caffeic acid, silicic acid, bitter principles, tannins and essential oil (terpenes, geraniol, terpenic alcohols and citral).
Active ingredient of verbena
Verbena as a medicinal herb is used completely dried, more than the entire flower and to a lesser extent the root of the plant. Its main asset is a heteroside known by the name of Verbenalósido, which stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system and produces verbenaline, verbenalol, hastatoside and verbenanine by hydrolysis.
The cultivation of verbena can be done through its seeds, although it is also possible that it reproduces by the separation of young stems in the spring, in winter by the division of the verbena and in autumn by root shoots. It is a plant that they recommend planting on slopes.
The cultivation can be done without major complications in different climates. Thanks to its ornamental characteristics, it is an excellent plant to have in gardens. Provided that the plant finds abundant moisture, verbena can grow naturally on the edge of roads or in uncultivated places, since it does not demand too much care and requirements for its cultivation.
Verbena perfectly resists cold climates , that is why it can be grown in areas where there is a temperature above -5 degrees Celsius in the cold season.
The cultivation of the seeds is advisable to do it in pots, in this way you can provide the necessary care in the stage of development of the verbena.
As for its cultivation by sowing the cuttings, you will only need to cut a twig of about 20 cm and plant it in the final soil or in a pot. During the early weeks of fall is the best time to plant verbena cuttings.
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Uses and benefits of verbena
Before beginning to delve into the uses and benefits of this plant, we must emphasize that the most used parts of the verbena are its root and the flowered plant. You can use it without any problem for external treatments in oils and poultices or internally as herbal tea and infusions . Now is the time to learn about the cosmetic, medicinal and hair uses of verbena. A wonderful and beneficial plant.
Verbena cosmetic uses
In North Africa, southern and central Europe, as well as South America, the use of verbena is quite common for its antiseptic, detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, verbena is perfect for treating acne, as well as strengthening connective tissue.
You can prepare a healthy lemon verbena tonic in a simple way for your face: if you have a dry skin with just a few lemon peels, a handful of verbena in ½ liter of boiled water. Mix and let it sit for 15 minutes. Place 3 tablespoons of whole milk powder in a bowl, little by little begin to pour the verbena tea into a smooth paste.
Finally, place the mixture in a closed glass container. Ready, you can now enjoy a nice and healthy cleanser at night during the week. Keep the container in the refrigerator to preserve its properties.
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Medicinal uses of verbena
Verbena is a plant that should not be missing in your home, you can use it to prepare natural remedies and treat some of the following conditions described.
- Headache or headaches: you only need to extract the most of its leaves from the leaves of the plant to prepare an infusion and soothe headaches. You will have the same effect if you decide to use the vervain crushed, you simply apply it to the forehead and temples.
- Sleep disorders: the sedative properties of verbena, gives excellent results to people who suffer from insomnia.
- Ulcers: You can place crushed fresh leaves as a poultice on the affected area.
- Anxiety disorders: verbena is excellent for improving cases of anxiety and nervousness. Verbena leaves and herbal teas are excellent for this type of disorder.
- Cuts and wounds: verbena flowers and leaves are rich in healing properties and to a lesser extent have antibacterial benefits, which is why it is widely used to treat superficial wounds and cuts. The way in which the plant is used for wounds is through washing with infusions of verbena flowers and the leaves externally .
- Stomach problems: verbena has digestive and antispasmodic properties, this makes it a wonderful option for stimulating the digestive tract. Therefore, it is very useful for the treatment of poor digestion and constipation. Thanks to the spasmodic properties of verbena, the use of verbena is suggested for the treatment of digestive colic. Verbena infusions represent the best way for these purposes.
- Diuretic: verbena has diuretic effects, helping to eliminate toxins from the body through urine, in turn preventing fluid retention by the body. Hence its use in infusions to purify the liver, biliary patients or patients with kidney stones to assist in their expulsion and reduction.
- Menstrual pain : ingesting natural preparations made with the flowers of the plant is a good remedy to reduce the pain generated during the menstrual period. The intake of verbena infusions is highly recommended in women with painful and complicated periods.
- Reduce fever: the verbena plant is widely used to reduce fever (natural antipyretic). Applying wet compresses in the infusion water of the leaves will make you sweat the fever, significantly lowering your body temperature quickly.
- Sciatic nerve pain: you can reduce the acute pain that affects the leg or lower back due to the impingement of the sciatic nerve. You just have to prepare some poultices with the verbena leaves and place them in the area affected by acute pain, in addition to being able to take advantage of the anti-inflammatory powers of verbena.
- Cramps: Verbena is used regularly to relieve cramps.
- Conjunctivitis: We could not forget how beneficial verbena is in relieving conjunctivitis. The infusions are excellent, you must place a cloth moistened in the infusion in the area affected by conjunctivitis. In addition, it is an effective dermal protector of this area affected by conjunctivitis.
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Uses of verbena on hair
Verbena is excellent for alleviating hair loss, it helps to revitalize damaged and overly dry hair. That is why verbena is widely used to stimulate hair development in areas where it had been lost. You can prepare the verbena infusion, you only need to place 1 liter of hot water, verbena leaves, mix and let it rest for 15 minutes. It is necessary to apply the infusion a few hours before washing your hair, so that the infusion can act on your scalp.
You can also choose to directly place the leaves into the blender, add a little conditioner, turn the blender on. After 15 minutes, you can use the deep treatment, then you should rinse and comb regularly. The leftover mixture and the infusion, you can store them for future use in the fridge.
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How is verbena oil extracted?
- Verbena oil can be extracted through a distillation process . We are going to separate the volatile substance through heat.
- You will need to improvise an alembic at home. Before continuing, we must clarify that you will only get a hydrolate which is a compound with traces of oil and distilled water, it is not pure verbena oil.
- To make the alembic at home we are going to need some elements: a strainer, a deep container with its lid, as well as a small container.
- The necessary ingredients are the parts of the plant and water. Additionally, get several dark glass jars to store your verbena oil.
- Place the verbena in the large container, place the strainer on top and the smaller container in the strainer.
- Next, you must place the lid of the main container upside down.
- This you should take it to the kitchen, keep it on low heat until it boils.
- On the lid upside down, it will impact the water to evaporate and it will end up falling into the smallest container.
- You can put some ice on the inverted lid, this will prevent the steam from escaping and the procedure will be faster.
- As the ice melts, take another bit and apply it again to the inverted lid.
- Lastly, turn off the stove and remove the lid.
- Now you must carefully remove the smallest container, inside this the hydrosol has been achieved.
- If you want to get the pure verbena oil from distillation, you need to separate the oil from the hydrolate .
- In this step you will need a decanter, through this the verbena oil will float and you can extract it. You will need at least 100 g of the plant to achieve 1ml of verbena oil.
- Place the result of the mixture in dark glass jars, this will help to preserve the properties of the verbena oil.
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Pregnancy and vervain
Although plants do not provide multiple medicinal benefits, these can also cause damage to our body just like any medicine. Hence the importance of knowing the advantages and disadvantages, uses and negative effects for each particular case. Verbena, a seemingly harmless plant, quite common and with multiple properties, can become a real risk if ingested during pregnancy, since verbena, like myrrh or aloe, can cause strong uterine contractions and even deliveries before birth. weather.
Not only can it cause contractions in the uterus due to the toxic effect, it can also generate bleeding, advance labor and there is a high probability of being abortive during the first weeks of gestation. Verbena is within the group of herbaceous plants that should be avoided during pregnancy.
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Can it be used while breastfeeding? Why?
Although verbena has a low risk and according to some important studies it is a plant with little probability of any damage during lactation, it is best to consult the treating doctor and pediatrician, before ingesting any infusion of verbena or the application of poultice compresses Remember that the newborn does not have a yet developed digestive system and could cause some damage.
Verbena and allergies
We know that the skin represents the largest organ in our body, which serves as protection against various elements that can affect our health. Despite this, the skin sometimes becomes quite sensitive in certain people, who present health complications such as itching or irritation due to high temperatures, friction with clothing, allergens, irritants and emotional stress.
When this occurs, the person generally suffers from a dermatitis that normally manifests as a scaly pink rash, which is accompanied by an unpleasant itch, there are even more extreme cases where the skin fills with painful cracks and becomes thicker in various zones. This is where verbena is used to treat this type of skin condition, the plant can be mixed with other types of plants to achieve a remedy that helps alleviate the symptoms of dermatitis.
To prepare a remedy you will need equal parts of verbena, thyme, rosemary, serpol, sage and basil. Boil a container with a cup of water, pour a tablespoon of the verbena mixed with the rest of the plants. You can have a cup in the morning and another at night.
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Verbena infusions, what is it for?
We already know that the verbena plant is quite beneficial for health, especially the infusion of verbena; which has benefits and properties to relieve fever and treat the liver.
- Verbena infusions have antispasmodic, sedative, analgesic, diaphoretic, analgesic, emmenagogue and expectorant properties.
- They are very useful to treat feverish symptoms.
- It helps in inflammation of the gallbladder and liver.
- Excellent sedative in people suffering from stress, melancholy and depression .
- Verbena infusions serve as a mouthwash in the prevention of cavities.
How to prepare a verbena infusion?
Preparing a verbena infusion is very simple: we will need a cup of water and two tablespoons of dry verbena. Place the cup of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. At the moment of boiling, you must add the verbena and let the mixture boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat after 3 minutes, let the mixture rest and do not forget to cover it. Finally, you must strain the mixture and you can now enjoy a healthy infusion of verbena.
Verbena and aromatherapy
Captured by Dr. Edward Bach, the flower essence is known as Vervaln. Through the verbena the work of healing is done to obtain pure love. With regard to the physical aspect, it has a generalized action on inflammations such as rheumatism, arthritis, neuralgia, gout, gallstones, fever, sores, wounds and gallstones.
Verbena is usually indicated for those cases related to mental rigidity , for people who rarely change their mind, people with fixed ideas, people with great self-confidence in their personal strengths, for the bossy, the rigorous, the stubborn, idealists , arrogant, intolerant and presumptuous.
It helps to calm those people who have a great capacity for concentration in moments of obtaining an end, also for people worried that others are well, but they are too hard.
Verbena in gastronomy
For people who do not know, verbena is not only used for medicinal purposes. Even the freshest leaves are used as a garnish in chicken or fish dishes, green salads, herb sauces and stews . Normally the best flowers, roots and their leaves are used. Depending on the indication, the recipe usually varies. We select the most popular recipes to alleviate some ailments, so you can choose the one that best suits your personal requirements.
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Recipes with verbena
- Verbena with white wine: In a cup of white wine you are going to place a tablespoon of verbena in boiled water. This mixture will give you excellent results in digestive ailments by taking it 3 times a day.
- Verbena recipe with different leaves: another recipe for digestion with good results, you can do it as follows: mix in 1 liter of boiling water 10 g of verbena, the same amount of green anise, lemon balm and orange leaves. Leave on the fire for a few minutes. Remove and let this preparation rest for 5 minutes. Now you must strain, take this preparation after the main meals.
- Anise, pennyroyal, chamomile and verbena: mix pennyroyal, anise, chamomile and verbena in equal parts. Take a tablespoon of this mixture and place it in a bowl of boiling water. Let it sit for 10 minutes. It is excellent for digestion, drink 3 times a day, after each meal.
- Verbena for rheumatic pains: relieve rheumatic pains by boiling several verbena leaves in wine vinegar, then apply to the affected area as a poultice.
- Verbena leaves as a healing: place a handful of leaves on a wound to speed up the healing process.
- Recipe for fever: boil verbena leaves (15 g) in a liter of water for ten minutes. Then remove from the kitchen and let it sit. Take this infusion during the day.
- Recipe to calm headaches: you just have to apply the crushed verbena plant on the forehead and temples.
- Recipe for halitosis with verbena: place two tablespoons of the leaves of the plant in a cup of boiling water. Remove and let it cool, remember to cover it. With this mixture you can gargle twice a day.
- Tonic with verbena: place verbena flowers with Santa Rosa grass (peony) seed in a cup of boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, then remove from the heat and let it rest. You can take this restorative twice a day.
- Recipe for lumbago: pour 2 tablespoons of verbena into a cup of boiling water, boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the kitchen and finally you must add vinegar (1 teaspoon). The preparation will serve to soak a cloth, then you can apply it on the affected area.
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Contraindications and risks of verbena
One of the main contraindications of vervain is during the pregnancy stage. Children under the age of 12 should also not consume verbena. People with hypothyroidism should avoid ingesting verbena.
Whatever the case, regardless of any of the above cases, the consumption of this medicinal plant like others of the same type, its use is contraindicated for two continuous weeks. After this period has elapsed, it is essential to take a break for about two weeks; with regard to the verbena, the rest should be extended for a longer time.
Do not forget that you should consult your medical professional before starting to ingest verbena. This plant can cause damage to our body, remember that each body is different and what is good for one person may not be for another.
When verbena is taken in excess it can cause vomiting, but if the ingested doses are normal there are no known side effects.
This plant does not have poisonous components, but the possible toxicity could probably be generated by ingesting doses higher than those indicated by the doctor. Verbena oil is convulsive and neurotoxic because it contains verbenaline, which can cause seizures and nerve paralysis.
- Creeping species whose cultivation is simple, because it freezes it is used as a seasonal herb.
- It is used in gardening to cover the ground.
- It occupies a certain space in a couple of weeks.
- It is best to place 3 to 5 verbena plants per square meter. Although they can also be placed in rockeries or flowerpots, they look very beautiful.
- Verbena plants have a range of colors which bloom during the summer and late spring.
- Verbena supports all kinds of soils, although for it to develop better it needs to be planted in soils with good drainage and rich in organic matter. This helps prevent disease and pest attacks.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.