Vervain (Verbena Officinalis, also known as Herb of Grace, Herbe Sacrée, Verbena, Holy Wort, Pigeon's Grass, and Herba Veneris) was the altar-plant of the ancient druids, for the druids had the greatest veneration for the plant, and before gathering it they offered a sacrifice to the soil. They also held bunches of Vervain between their hands during their devotions. When the Romans sent messengers of peace to other nations they adorned their apparel with sprays of Vervain. Images of Venus Victrix were often crowned with wreaths of Vervain and Myrtle. Vervain was called "tears of Isis" by the Egyptians. The Romans credited powers of rekindling the flames of dying love to the plant, and gave it the name Herba Veneris (plant of Venus). During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, it became an instrumental component in the rites of witches and sorcerers. In Latin, the name means "sacred herb" and it was used for hundreds of years as a purification herb for altars in homes and temples, for it was considered an herb of magic. It was also the symbol for death. The name Vervain is derived from the Celtic "ferfaen", from fer (to drive away) and "faen" (a stone), as the plant was used for affections of the bladder in olden times.
Vervain is a countermagick herb, an aphrodisiacal herb, an herb of fertility, protection, consecration, immortality, purification, love, and a visionary herb ruled by Venus. Its invocatory can be Diana, Hermes, or Medea. Vervain may be used to enhance the dreaming process, especially if working a Dream Quest. Use it to expand your divinatory skills. Vervain may be used to consecrate and empower any of your ritual tools, altar stones, wands, chalices or thuribles. Vervain makes a wonderful aspurger. Vervain is associated with the metallic element of Mercury, storing a small glass vial of this heavy liquid will help keep the Magick of your Vervain strong. Vervain is used with Opals and Agates. By working with this herb we can come to better understand the mysteries of immortality. Vervain has been used for a very long time to protect people against negative emotions. It is an excellent herb to include in spells and charms which protect the practitioner against the negative from both inner and outside forces. Vervain is used in home blessings as well. Many love spells and romantic formulas include Vervain because of its reputation of being able to empower any Magick. Gather Vervain at Midsummer with the previous year's dried Vervain tossed into the Midsummer fire. Vervain is most potent if fresh cut and worn when performing, for it increases the practitioner's skill and inspires the artistry.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Vervain is used as an astringent, antispasmodic and fever-reducing agent. Vervain is an effective nervine useful for tension and nervous exhaustion. Vervain is not only effective against depression, but also strongly supports the detoxifying function of the liver. Chinese research has linked the plant with dilation of arteries in the brain, a likely explanation of its usefulness in treating migraines. **WC** Caution: Vervain used improperly can result in paralysis. It effects the parasympathetic nervous system, stimulating the uterus, and should not be used during pregnancy.