This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
COMMON NAMES. Wild Hyssop, Simpler's Joy.
MEDICINAL PART. The root and herb.
Description. -- Vervain is an erect, tall, elegant, and perennial plant, with a four-angled stem three or four feet high, having opposite branches. The leaves are petiolate, serrate, acuminate, and hastate. The flower is a small purplish blue one, sessile, and arranged in long spikes. Seeds, four.
History. -- Vervain is indigenous to the United States, and grows along roadsides, and in dry, grassy fields, flowering from June to September. It is also found in England, growing among hedges, by the way-side, and other waste grounds, flowering in July, and the seeds ripening soon after.
Properties and Uses. -- Vervain is tonic, expectorant, sudorific, and antispasmodic. It is serviceable in mismenstruation. It is an antidote to poke-poisoning. It expels worms, and is a capital agent for the cure of all diseases of the spleen and liver. If given in intermittent fever, in a warm infusion or powder, it never fails to effect a cure. In all cases of cold and obstinate menstruation it is a most complete and advantageous sudorific. When the circulation of the blood is weak and languid, it will increase it and restore it to its proper operation. The infusion, taken cold, forms a good tonic in cases of constitutional debility, and during convalescence from acute disease. Its value has been found to be great in scrofula, visceral obstructions, and stone and gravel. It will correct diseases of the stomach, help coughs, wheezing, and shortness of breath, etc., but its virtues are more wonderful still in the effect they produce upon epilepsy, or falling sickness, and fits.
This great -- very great -- medicinal value of this plant was brought to my attention by an accidental knowledge of the good it had effected in a long-standing case of epilepsy. Its effects in that case were of the most remarkable character, and I was, therefore, led to study most carefully and minutely its medicinal peculiarities. I found, after close investigation and elaborate experiment, that, prepared in a certain way, and compounded with boneset, water-pepper, chamomile blossoms, and the best of whiskey, it has no equal for the cure of fits, or falling sickness, or anything like fits; also for indigestion, dyspepsia, and liver complaints of every grade. A more valuable plant is not found within the whole range of the herbal pharmacopoeia. See "Restorative Assimilant," page 469.
The following application is singularly effective in promoting the absorption of the blood, effusion in bruises, and allaying the attendant pain: Take of Vervain, Senna, and White Pepper, of each equal parts; make a cataplasm or plaster by mixing with white of eggs.
It is also most valuable as a cure for diarrhoea, stomachic and enteric pains, bowel complaints, and a superexcellent tonic.
I first brought the notice of physicians to this plant about twelve years ago, previous to which it was unknown as a remedy, but which is now used by very many physicians, whose reports of its virtues in various medical journals, published works, and to me by correspondence, are as flattering as my own.
Dose. -- Of the powdered root, from one to two scruples; the dose of the infusion is from two to four wine-glassfuls three or four times a day, if an emetic is desired.