This herb holds itself tall and straight, on a long narrow stem. If you were to flick it with your finger, the plant would bounce back without a flinch. There’s a tension in its stature.
When I was at Herb School, I learnt that blue vervain was useful for those who hold stress in their neck and shoulders, and might possibly suffer from TMJ, or the painful affects of teeth grinding. It wasn’t until I started to make medicine with the fresh plant myself, that I realized what a powerful sedative it was too. Just holding some of the crushed leaves in my hand could literally have me yawning in seconds and blinking languidly. If you are familiar with the herb and know a patch where it grows, make a point, next Summer of watching how bees behave after collecting its nectar…They start to act a little sleepy!
Building personal relationships with a herb is one of the thrills of being a herbalist and medicine maker. It also helps me remember something special about each plant, because they all have something to offer, its all about finding the right unique blend for each person.
Some of the ways I like to use blue vervain are burning the stems as a smudge or using the leaves in a herbal vinegar to apply topically at the base of the neck. My favorite way to use the herb though, is in a herbal bath. Simple to do, just take 1/2 a cup of dried herb and steep in a 1/2 gallon jar of boiled water for at least 4 hours. Strain the liquid and add to your bath before bed. Its cooling bitterness pulls tension out of head and shoulders and grounds you right into the earth.
Just make sure that you don’t fall asleep in the bath!