Verbena hastata / Blue vervain

Verbena hastata is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in). 
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile. 
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Seed - cooked. The seed can be roasted and ground into a powder or used whole as a piñole. Pleasantly bitter, some of this bitterness can be removed by leeching the flour. The leaves are used as a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses
Antiperiodic;  Diaphoretic;  Emetic;  Expectorant;  Tonic;  Vermifuge;  Vulnerary.
The leaves and roots are antiperiodic, diaphoretic, emetic, expectorant, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. The roots are more active than the leaves. The plant is used in the treatment of stomach aches, gravel, worms and scrofula. An infusion of the roots, leaves or seeds has been used in the early stages of fevers. A snuff made from the dried flowers has been used to treat nose bleeds.

Digestive Problems
Blue vervain is used by Native Americans for treating dysentery, stomach cramps and poor digestion, and one of the few research studies performed on the medicinal actions of blue vervain supported these traditional uses. Findings published in "The Journal of Medicinal Plants Research" in 2010 demonstrated that blue vervain extract had a significant clinical action that reduced the symptoms of conditions such as diarrhea and dysentry.

Infections
The leaves, roots and seeds of blue vervain have been used for treating a wide variety of infectious conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia, scrofula, coughs, colds and malaria. Extracts of the plant contain rich amounts of chemicals called tannins, which aid the drying up of excess mucous and congestion. According to an article published in "A Grower's Guide" by Kansas State University in 2004, blue vervain helps to reduce symptoms of the common cold by helping to suppress coughs and fever.

Women's Health
Blue vervain is a reputed galactagogue agent, capable of increasing the lactation of breast milk. Women who wish to increase the flow of their breast milk can combine blue vervain tea with nutritional support to stimulate improved lactation. Avoid taking during pregnancy as very little evidence exists to demonstrate the safety of blue vervain with pregnant women and fetuses.

Topical uses
Blue vervain can be made into a poultice and applied to wounds, sores, hemorrhoids and ulcers. Due to the high concentration of tannins in the extract, blue vervain will exert an astringent action on tissues to stop bleeding and possibly kill bacteria. Blue vervain has also been used in folk medicine for treating snake bites.

References
Cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity of the leaf methanolic extract of Verbena hastata. Edewor, T. I1* and Usman, L. A2
The phytochemical screening of the methanolic and dichloromethane extracts of Vebena hastata showed the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids and glycosides but these were absent in the n-hexane extract. The methanolic extract exhibited antimicrobial activity against Salmonella typii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae (minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) 0.3 ± 0.1 mg/ml) was inactive against Proteus mirabilis, Bacillus subtilis, Proteus vulgaris and Escherichia coli. It was also inactive against Candida albicans which implies that it cannot be used for the treatment of fungal infections. It was potent against brine shrimps with LD50 value of 55.7 ppm which indicates that the extract has the ability to exert a wide range of pharmacological effects. These results support the use of the leaves in the treatment of ailments such as bronchial infections.
 
Ethanolic leaf extract of Verbena hastata produces antidiarrhoeal and gastrointestinal motility slowing effects in albino rats
G. C. Akuodor1*, M. Idris-Usman1, T. C. Ugwu1, J. L. Akpan2, L. A. Irogbeyi3, T. C. Iwuanyanwu1 and U. A. Osunkwo2
The antidiarrhoeal effects of ethanol leaf extract of Verbena hastata were evaluated in rat .Studies were investigated on castor oil- induced diarrhoea and gastrointestinal motility activity in rat. The extract (200 and 400 mg/kg) elicited a greater anti-motility than 5 mg/kg atropine (P < 0.05) and significantly (P < 0.05) protected rats against castor oil- induced diarrhoea. The frequency of defaecation as well as the wetness of faecal droppings was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced. The oral LD50 of the extract was found to be greater than 5000mg/kg in mice. The result obtained shows that the ethanol leaf extract of V. hastata may contain some biologically active principles that are active against diarrhoea and this may be the basis for management of gastrointestinal disorders.

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