Verbena plant for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Verbena is an anti-stress plant, useful for digestion and to protect the skin. Find out about the therapeutic and cosmetic beneficial properties of verbena, how to take it and what are the contraindications.

Verbena ( Verbena officinalis ) is a plant belonging to the  Verbenaceae family. Well known for its anti-stress action, it is also useful for promoting digestion, protecting the skin and against muscle inflammation. Let’s find out better.

Properties of verbena

The properties of verbena are manifold.  

  • It is an excellent anti-stress agent, irreplaceable in case of agitation and depression.
  • The essential oils extracted through the infusions are capable of disintegrating the oral cavity and nasal cavities.
  • It protects and cares for the skin while also helping to heal.
  • Helps the joints (especially in case of rheumatism and neck pain).
  • Fights muscle inflammation.
  • It is also able to act as a good digestive, especially in case of stomach ailments or blockages.
  • Helps lower fever.
  • It soothes muscle aches.
  • Protects the liver thanks to aucubin.
  • The mullein contained in it is a powerful antimicrobial.
  • Promotes lactation.

How to use

Internal : in the form of herbal tea, decoction and infusion, in drops (concentrated extracts and oils) to be diluted or spread in the environment thanks to a diffuser. It is also one of the Bach flowers used in flower therapy.

External : cosmetic creams and ointments to be applied on the skin in areas subject to irritation, abrasions, wounds, inflammations. Verbena essential oil can be applied to the skin before massages, near sore joints, on sore muscles. The leaves can be used to make compresses .

Contraindications of verbena

Taken in the appropriate dosages, verbena does not present any noteworthy contraindications.

The use of its essential oils must obviously be carried out with conscience: essential oils, rich in terpenes, can irritate sensitive organisms, especially the skin and mucous membranes. Generally it is not recommended for use in case of thyroid problems.

Description of the plant

Verbena looks like a perennial plant , up to half a meter high and, in exceptional cases, even 3 or 4 meters, with a rigid, rather woody, quadrangular stem .

The furrowed leaves, oblong, lanceolate, with a slight down to cover.

The flowering of the typical beautiful violet and fuchsia flowers occurs in late summer and continues until late autumn.

There are many species and, for ornamental purposes, many hybrids. The one usually referred to with the simple name of verbena is Verbena officinalis.

Habitat of the verbena

The Verbena genus is native to an area ranging from the lower Mediterranean to northern Europe passing through western Asia, although over time the plant has also taken root in North America.

Verbena has a high ability to adapt quickly to new environments, it is not difficult to cultivate, even if it loves to grow in the wild in meadows, fields, uncultivated and abandoned places, dry banks of rivers and ditches, edges of forests and woods, near the ruins and abandoned houses, in the pastures.

It loves full sun and slightly humid and non-clayey soils, fears frost, strong winds and heavy rains. It needs humus-rich soils.


The use of vervain for herbal purposes dates back to ancient times and leads to the magic, myth and religion of many peoples. Considered sacred by both the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, it had an important role in many sacred ceremonies and is found in some rites even among Native American populations.

In the lower Middle Ages, it was connected to some mysteries of the Christian religion and used as a remedy against witches’ spells.

More recently it has been introduced among the famous Bach flowers (Vervain). It is widely used to improve dream activity and to draw inspiration.

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