Published March 5, 2018 Blue Vervain is an herb I’ve been working with the past few weeks – both for myself and a close friend who is going through a serious bout of stress and tension. She has always dealt with some level of anxiety chronically, but lately it’s been manifesting physically with neck tightness and tingling like her “nerves are fried.” That is where the “nerve tonic” vervain comes in to slowly nourish and calm the nerves that have become so overstimulated and sensitive due to daily stress. WHAT IS BLUE VERVAIN? Vervain is a North American herb that acts as a nervine (nourishing to the nerves), neuro-trophorestorative (delivers nutrition to the nerves and restores neuron function), antispasmodic, diuretic and digestive stimulant. BENEFITS AND USES: NERVOUS SYSTEM TONIC – Herbalist Matthew Wood states it is a “relaxing nervine for highly driven individuals who are overworked, rest-deprived and unwilling [to slow down].” JAW TIGHTNESS – Vervain has a unique affinity for tension above the neck and shoulders, making it ideal for face and jaw tightness. PANIC ATTACKS – Because it is a nerve tonic that soothes and rebuilds over time rather than a fast-acting herb, blue vervain is used daily over several months time to help prevent panic attacks. CHRONIC ANXIETY – Helps alleviate constant worry and the muscle tension that so often accompanies mental tension. IMPATIENCE WITH THE SELF OR OTHERS – If you’re a perfectionist with a tight jaw, this is for you! My teacher indicates vervain for “those who are unreasonably high demanding of themselves and others” and herbalist Dorothy Hall likes it for “people who make lists.” OBSERVATIONS: Whenever my class tries a new herb, we take it together as a group for the first time. We all observed our bodies “soften”, especially above the shoulders. My jaw is often tight (which I noticed is related to my need for control and perfection), and I felt it release on its own within 5 minutes of drinking the tea. I now brew a cup before my voice lessons since my teacher is always pestering me to “drop my jaw!” Haha. HOW TO TAKE IT: You can buy dried blue vervain (shown in the photo above; it kinda looks like hay) from Amazon or any herb store. To brew it as a tea, cover 1 teaspoon dried herb with boiled water and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. I do have to warn you: blue vervain is one of the most bitter herbs known to man (which is part of why it works – the bitter flavor relaxes your vagus nerve which soothes your nervous system). Because of this, those with a sensitive palette would probably not want to go the tea route and would rather get it over with in tincture form. If you’d prefer to take it as a tincture, this one is a good brand. Tinctures are easier when it comes to herbs that don’t taste very good, because you can squirt some in a bit of juice and throw it down the hatch! Alternatively, if you want emotional benefits only from this herb (rather than the physical benefits from the active plant chemicals), go with a blue vervain flower essence, which really has no taste at all!