Verbena, Vervain, Veneris Herba, Herba Sacra, Holy Wort, Druid’s Weed, Enchanter’s Plant, Juno’s Tears, Brittanica, Pigeon’s Grass, Pigeonwood, Simpler’s Joy, Ma Bian Cao
FAVORITE USE(S): To induce powerful, prophetic dreams and to relieve stress , anxiety and insomnia
FAVORITE TIME(S): Just before going to bed
Verbena, also known as vervain, is a plant which has been used by peoples the world over since antiquity for a variety of purposes. It was, and still is, much esteemed in European herbalism. In ancient Rome, priests apparently used vervain to sweep and purify altars to the god Jupiter. They also used it in rituals for promoting love and peace. French druids were said to have used vervain for divination, and the Zoroastrians apparently rubbed the leaves over their body to cure all ailments and to attain their desired goals. Vervain was also apparently one of the ingredients in witch’s flying ointments, and it was worn as an amulet by ancient Germans to promote peace and to prevent evil.
I first came across vervain when I was studying Native American dreaming herbs. I discovered that the Pawnee use vervain as a powerful dream teacher, and due to this, it is often referred to as the North American Calea zacatechichi.
Vervain is said to have a very balancing effect on the body system and hormones, and is used to treat headaches and insomnia and as a tonic for the heart and liver. Based on these things, and the potential dream enhancing effects, I started taking an extract in capsule form every night before bed. For about a week I didn’t notice any particularly dramatic effects on my dreams. However, after a week or so of taking vervain every night, I started to have very intense vivid dreams that felt extremely prophetic in nature. I even had a few dreams which later manifested themselves in reality within a few days. After this, I was fully convinced of vervain’s power as a dreaming herb.
Vervain has long been said to increase awareness, both while awake and during sleep, dramatically. I have noticed since I started working with vervain that my mind feels more open and I am more likely to be aware of everything around me than I was before. This is true both while I am asleep and while I am awake. Vervain is also very helpful in inducing sleep when I am suffering from the occasional insomnia. I do find that the longer I take vervain, the more powerful the effects become. Since it so good for health, I would recommend most anyone to use vervain as a daily supplement, whether they are looking to do dream work or not. It is very balancing and calming, and generally supports a positive mood and good health. However, it can act as an abortifacient, and so pregnant women should avoid it at all costs.
HOW TO PREPARE/RECIPE: The easiest way to take vervain is to obtain dried extract in capsule form. This can be taken every night before bed to balance and strengthen the body and to enhance dreaming. If you are looking for a more immediately powerful effect, try placing about 2 grams of fresh or dried vervain herbage in 1 cup of boiling water and steeping for five minutes. This will produce a fairly pronounced effect. Vervain herbage may also be smoked, although I find that it is more powerful when combined with other dreaming herbs in a smoking blend than on its own. The effects of vervain are particularly interesting when combined with passion flower herbage.