Verbena officinalis / IJzerhard


In vele oude culturen was IJzerhard, Verbena officinalis, niet alleen een geneeskrachtige maar ook een heilige plant, die bij allerlei rituelen een rol speelde. Zo werd Verbena bij de Perzen bij de zonneverering gebruikt. Bij de Egyptenaren was het kruid aan Isis gewijd en de Druïden droegen het als amulet bij zich tijdens de godsspraak.

De oude naam Hiera botane, heilig kruid werd dus niet voor niks gegeven aan Verbena, het was ook gewijd aan Venus, de godin van de liefde en werd door Romeinse bruiden als gelukskrans gedragen.Dus het was zowel heilig kruid als liefdeskruid.
Natuurlijk vinden we Verbena ook weer terug bij de Griekse geneesheer Dioscorides. Hij adviseert het bij drie- en vierdaagse koortsen, tandpijn, losse tanden en verzweringen en bij geelzucht vlgs Nijlandt.

Plinius en Verbenaca
Plinius de Oudere zegt dat met verbenaca verschillende planten worden aangeduid ‘ een tweetal op vochtig terrein groeiende planten: het wijfje met veel, en het mannetje met weinig bladeren, deze bladeren waren kleiner, smaller en dieper ingesneden dan die van de eik, de bloem is blauwachtig en de wortel lang en dun‘. Mogelijk werd hier niet Verbena officinalis maar wel Verbena suppina, Liggend ijzerhard bedoeld. Plinius zegt ‘inzonderheid over verbenaca kramen de magiers allerlei onzin uit. Wie zich ermede inwrijft, verkrijgt wat hij wenst, raakt de koorts kwijt, knoopt vriendschapsbanden aan en geneest van elke ziekte.’ Ook het plukken van deze plant moest met rituelen gepaard gaan. Zo moest zij ‘omstreeks de opgang der hondsster worden ingezameld, zo dat zon noch maan het zien’. Ondanks zijn kritiek adviseert hij Verbena toch bij de behandeling van veel inwendige ziekten zoals; blaasstenen, jicht, koorts, vallende ziekte, geelzucht, buikloop, kloven en ontstekingen in het algemeen. Hij schrijft in zijn Historia Naturalis: ‘Nulla tamen Romanae nobilitatis plus habet quam hiera botanae, aliqui peristereon, nostri verbenacam vocant’. Geen enkele plant heeft bij de Romeinen meer aanzien dan dit heilig kruid...

Apuleus geciteerd door Nijlandt zegt dat het goed is ‘voor oude wonden en voor pijn in de lever’. Ook Aetius vermeldt het voor ‘verstoptheid van de lever en de milt’ maar eveneens ‘voor het graveel en vallende ziekte’. Volgens Brunfelsius is ‘IJzerkruydt warm en droog van aard, bitter van smaak en een weinig samentrekkende van krachten’.

Dodoens en IJzerhard
Rembert Dodoens is altijd weer een goede bron voor de benaming van de planten.Dat ierste gheslacht van Verbena heet in Griecx Peristereon ende van sommighen Peristereon orthios. In Latijn Verbenaca columbina, columbaris, Herba Sanguinalis, Crista Gallinaceae, Exupera, ende van sommighen Feria oft Ferraria, Trixago, Verbena recta, ende Columbina recta. In die Apoteke Verbena. In Hoochduytsch Verbene, Eysenkraut, Eyserhart en Eiserich. In Neerduytsch Verbene ysercruyt en yserhert. In Franchois Vervaine. Hij schrijft verder in zijn kruidenboek van 1554 dat een aftreksel van het kruid een goed middel is bij ontstekingen van de mond en het tandvlees, bij tandzweren en het vastzetten van de tanden. Verbena met olie en rozen vermengd zou als kompres op het hoofd alle hoofdpijnen genezen. Deze olie zou ook de kraampijnen van aanstaande moeders verlichten. De bladeren met azijn vermengd zouden zweren en vuile verzwerende wonden genezen, vermengd met honing geneest hij alle open wonden en helpt oude wonden sluiten. Dat klinkt dan ‘Dese Verbena met olie van Roosen ende azijn vermenght oft in olie ghesoden ende op thooht ghelijck een plaester gheleyt, gheneest die pijne ende weedom des hoofs. Tselve doet oock een cransken van Verbena om thooft ghedraghen als Archigenes scrijft’

De tijdgenoot Lobelius loopt in zijn kruidenboek niet hoog op met de plant. Hij schrijft dat hij niet gelooft dat het recht opgroeiende IJzerhard beter zou zijn dan bijvoorbeeld Betonie, Rozemarijn en andere planten van die soort.

Culpeper (1826) schreef" Dit is een kruid van Venus is uitstekend om de baarmoeder te versterken en alle koude kwalen er van te genezen. Het helpt bij geelzucht, waterzucht en jicht en verbetert de ziekten van de maag, lever en milt, helpt bij hoest, zwaar ademen, kortademigheid enzovoort.

Verbena: mogelijk hormonaal en op de luchtwegen werkzaam
Opvallend bij die overvloed aan therapeutische toepassingen in het verleden is toch wel het vele verwijzen naar mogelijke hormonale werkingen: Venuskruid, baarmoeder versterken, kraampijnen, zogvormend, werd gedragen door Romeinse bruiden als gelukskrans.....maar ook de werking op de luchtwegen springt er uit. Ik ben er dan ook vast van overtuigd dat IJzerhard, niet alleen voor de Romeinen maar ook voor onze tijd, een goed geneeskrachtig kruid kan zijn, alleen moet het nog beter wetenschappelijk onderbouwd worden. Waar wachten de wetenschappers op om ook deze plant verder te onderzoeken!

Namen van Verbena officinalis
[LIST]Nederlands: Duivekruid, Fleuruskruid, IJzerkruid, Iserhart, Iserhert, Kerckkruyd, Pleuriskruid, Strooikruid.
Engels: Enchanter’s Plant, Herba Sacra, Herb of Grace, Herb of Enchantment, Herb of the Cross, Holy Herb, Juno’s Tears, Pigeon’s Grass Simplers Joy, Verbena. Het Engelse Vervain is afgeleid van het Keltische “fer” afdrijven en “faen” steen om zijn mogelijke gruisverwijderende werking
Duits: Altarkraut, Dinskraut, Stahlkraut, Druidenkraut, Eisenhart, Eisenherz, Gegenkraut, Richardskraut, Sagenkraut, Taubenkraut,Wundkraut, Wunschkraut, Traumkraut, Teufelswurz, Venusader[/LIST]



Quintessence Int. 2016 Jan 28. doi: 10.3290/j.qi.a35521.
Short-term effects of Verbena officinalis Linn decoction on patients suffering from chronic generalized gingivitis: Double-blind randomized controlled multicenter clinical trial. Grawish ME, Anees MM, Elsabaa HM, Abdel-Raziq MS, Zedan W.
Abstract
OBJECTIVE:
To evaluate the clinical efficacy of Verbena officinalis Linn decoction for patients with chronic generalized gingivitis in a double-blind randomized controlled multicenter clinical trial.
METHOD AND MATERIALS:
The patients in the test group and the control group were instructed to brush and floss. Additionally, the patients in the test group were asked to rinse their mouths with a V officinalis L decoction. The primary clinical outcome was the Gingival Index (GI). The GI and Plaque Index (PI) were measured at baseline (day 0), day 14, and day 28.
RESULTS:
Two hundred and sixty patients participated (control group = 130, and test group = 130). The clinical features of both the test and control groups were improved progressively throughout the time durations of day 0, day 14, and day 28 represented by highly significant decreases in both GI and PI (P < .001). The Mann-Whitney test revealed significant differences between the control and test groups for GI and PI at the 14-day examination and the 28-day examination (P < .001). At the beginning of the clinical trial, nonsignificant clinical differences were found following the statistical analyses of both GI (P = .981) and PI (P = .920) between the test and control groups.
CONCLUSIONS:
The tested V officinalis L decoction demonstrated efficacy in reducing tested indices and thus has a promising ameliorative effect for treating patients with chronic generalized gingivitis.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE:
V officinalis L decoction has good clinical results with no adverse effects.



Vervain is a modest little plant, a member of the verbena family, found growing wild in Britain, central and southern Europe and Asia along roadsides and lanes and on waste ground. It is a hardy perennial with pretty but small lilac-coloured flowers on slender spikes and is cultivated extensively in France and other European countries where vervain tea is very popular.
Vervain is an excellent tonic to the nervous system, used to calm the nerves, lift depression and support the body during stress. It can be thought of in most stress-related symptoms, such as headaches, indigestion, insomnia, high blood pressure, aches and pains and nervous exhaustion. Vervain also benefits the digestion, enhancing appetite and improving absorption. Taken hot it brings down fevers and taken cool it has a diuretic and detoxifying action. It enhances milk supply in feeding mothers and regulates periods.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine vervain is widely used for clearing away heat and toxins, promoting blood circulation and removing stasis, for promoting diuresis and clearing dampness. In America, relatives of Verbena officinalis are used – Verbena sticta, wild blue vervain for upset stomachs and Verbena hastata, also with a blue flower, for coughs, urinary stones and gravel, worms, bruises and skin problems. The latter had tonic properties and was used for nervous problems and epilepsy.
From an Ayurvedic perspective vervain is an excellent medhya herb, reducing high pitta & excess kapha in manovahasrotas. It eases mental & emotional problems including anxiety, tension, irritability & low self-esteem associated with disturbance of sadhaka pitta. It also relieves pitta type headaches & migraines, inflammatory eye conditions. By clearing heat & congestion from the mutravahasrotas, vervain is useful in urinary tract problems. It clears ama & excess pitta & kapha from rasa & rakta dhatus, relieving fevers, infections, catarrh, skin problems & purifying breast milk.

History/Folklore/Traditional Uses:
“Bring your garlands, and with reverence place
The Vervain on the Altar”
‘TCH’ from Mrs Leyel
Despite the inconspicuous nature of its little lilac-blue flowers, vervain was the foremost magical herb of antiquity. It was considered sacred, a wizard’s herb, used for divination, casting spells and a vital ingredient of magic potions. The Druids cleansed their altars with an infusion of vervain before offering sacrifices. It was important for spells, divination, magic medicine and for amulets to protect against witchcraft and evil. The Druids held it in as high esteem as mistletoe and probably introduced it to the Romans who used it to crown ambassadors and similar dignitaries. The Romans made it into bundles for ritual cleansing and to sweep the altars to the gods, and in honour of this sacred plant they held an annual festival called “Verbenalia”.
With the coming of Christianity, vervain continued to be held sacred. It was said to have been discovered on Mount Calvary at the foot of the cross, and used to staunch the bleeding from Christ’s wounds. It was called the Holy herb and was crossed and blessed when gathered. In the Middle Ages sorcerers and magicians endowed it with miraculous properties – it was believed to heal every wound received in battle and bring immortality to heroes.
At the end of the 16th century the Italian physician and botanist Matthiolus wrote, ‘sorcerers lose their senses at the mention of the herb. For they say that those who are rubbed with it will obtain all they ask, and that it will cure fevers, and cause a person to love another, and, in short, that it cures all illness and more besides’. Clearly it was seen as a panacea for all ills, and was used • around this time for jaundice, kidney disease, the plague, heart disease, toothache, difficult pregnancies and childbirth.
Culpeper said it was excellent for strengthening the womb, and that being hot and dry, it would open all obstructions, cleansing and healing. Other apothecaries prescribed it for jaundice, kidney disease, difficulty in pregnancy, heart disease and the plague. Culpeper also said that vervain was ruled by Venus, and in fact the Romans had dedicated it to the goddess Venus, calling it Veneris Herba, herb of Venus. They believed it could reignite the fires of a dying love and worked as an aphrodisiac. It was thus picked by Roman brides to wear at their weddings. It was dedicated also to Isis, the goddess of birth. At New Year the Romans would exchange lucky nosegays of vervain and they also made infusions to sprinkle in banqueting halls to make their guests merrier. Later in the Middle Ages it entered into the preparation of most love philtres. A child who wore a sprig of vervain was said to be well-behaved, lively, good humoured and a lover of knowledge.
Not only was vervain a sacred magical herb, and a herb for love, but also it was a herb of protection. Chaplets of vervain were worn by Roman heralds-at-arms carrying messages of war, to give them immunity from the enemy. The herald was called a verbenarius, and vervain was believed to ensure a peaceful settlement and used as a flag of truce between warring factions. The physicians of Myddfai recommended warriors when fighting to wear vervain to protect them.

Modern Medicinal Uses

Nervous System:
Vervain makes a good tonic/medhya rasyana to the nervous system, calming the nerves and easing tension and increasing resistance to stress. In the past it was famous as a remedy for nervous disorders, to stop nightmares and for epilepsy. It can be taken to relieve anxiety, to lift depression and for stress-related problems such as headaches, migraines, cramps, nervous coughs, asthma, insomnia, high blood pressure, ME and nervous exhaustion. It is particularly good for pitta people who push themselves too hard, workaholics, driven people who then have a tendency to burn themselves out and suffer from nervous exhaustion or migraines. Its analgesic action is helpful in headaches and neuralgia.

Digestive System:
A digestive herb, vervain enhances appetite, digestion and absorption. It is particularly good for stress related digestive problems, cooling heat and excess pitta in the stomach and small intestine, relieving heartburn and acidity. The bitters help regulate ranjaka pitta in the liver, making it a useful tonic for problems related to a sluggish liver, including constipation, lethargy, depression, headaches and irritability. It has been used for liver disorders and gallstones, and to speed recovery and increase energy during convalescence.

Reproductive System:
Vervain has an affinity for artavavaha srotas. It is an effective uterine sedative and tonic, and can be used to regulate periods, and to ease painful periods. It is used for cramping with bearing down pain, back & thigh pain, (in acute doses), endometriosis, threatened/repeated miscarriage, to prepare for labour. It is also a good herb to take during childbirth to regulate contractions. It helps prevent uterine irritability, over-strong contractions, false labour pains & after-pains.
Because it brings on menstruation and stimulates uterine contractions is best avoided in pregnancy. As a galactagogue, it enhances milk supply in feeding mothers and clears excess ama, pitta and kapha from the milk. Its cooling and astringent properties can help prevent excessive menstrual flow and hot flushes during the menopause. It makes a good remedy for menstrual migraines, and can be used for benign prostatic hypertrophy as an antispasmodic.

Circulatory System:
Vervain’s calming effect on the nervous system and on sadhaka pitta particularly can be helpful in bringing down blood pressure and stopping nervous palpitations. Its antispasmodic action can be helpful in stopping leg cramps, while as an antioxidant it helps to prevent free radical damage to the arteries, help prevent the build-up of cholesterol and protect against cardiovascular disease. It has an affinity for rasa and rakta dhatu. Taken in hot infusion it acts as a diaphoretic, increasing sweating, helping to clear toxins and bring down fevers.

Musculo- Skeletal System:
Vervain has an antispasmodic and relaxant action which can be used for muscle tension, pain and spasm, particularly when they are related to excess stress and lack of rest and relaxation.

Respiratory System:
Vervain can be thought of when stress appears to contribute to nervous exhaustion and depleted immunity. Taken as a hot tea vervain will reduce and help clear fevers, colds and catarrhal congestion.

Urinary System:
In cool infusion vervain has a diuretic effect and is used in oedema, cystitis, irritable bladder and kidney stones and gravel. By aiding elimination of toxins and excess uric acid via the kidneys, vervain acts to detoxify and this can be helpful in the treatment of arthritis and gout.

External Uses:
The tannins in vervain make it a useful astringent when used as a mouthwash for bleeding gums and mouth ulcers, and as a gargle for sore throats and tonsillitis. As a skin lotion it helps heal sores and wounds, ulcers, burns and insect bites.

Contra-Indications:
Avoid in pregnancy. May cause contact dermatitis.
Herb/Drug Interactions: Take away from mineral supplements. Avoid with anticoagulants & Warfarin

Growing and Harvesting:
Vervain has pretty but small lilac-coloured flowers on slender spikes and can be grown in pots or in clumps in the herb garden. It looks attractive grown by marshmallow and white echinacea. It will grow easily on most soils and likes full sun to partial shade. Propagate by sowing seeds in spring/autumn on the surface of well-drained soil in full sun. Press in or water in the seeds. Grows 1 – 3′ (30 – 90cm) and flowers July – Sept. Self-seeds easily. Harvest leaves and flowers just as the flowers come out.

Flower Essence:
Vervain is a Bach Flower Remedy for charismatic people with huge resources of energy, which can be a great inspiration to others. They can be full of enthusiasm and idealism and by radiating their enormous energy they have a great capacity for leading and healing others. Vervain people tend to espouse themselves to causes, or get involved in charitable works and welfare organisations. Their commitment to their work or ideals can lead them to sacrifice all their energy and time to further their cause. It can take over their lives and they are unable to rest or relax, feeling the need to win those around them to their viewpoint and expend all their energy in the process. They have enormous willpower and often being revolutionaries at heart are prepared to suffer for their convictions. They have great courage and are not afraid to speak out although this, overzealous attitude can actually be detrimental to their cause. Such people are often seen as overbearing, over-intense, even fanatical. They rarely deviate from their firm principles, convinced as they are of the rightness and urgency of their cause.
In this condition, vervain people overuse their energy resources, being constantly on the job, and never giving in to messages from their body or inner selves to rest. This can lead eventually to nervous exhaustion. They live on their nerves and become so keyed up they cannot relax even if they want to. Their tense, nervous natures often lead to digestive problems. As they are often intolerant and angry they become progressively more depleted. This may inevitably culminate in a nervous breakdown.
Vervain helps these people to use their huge resources of energy in a more natural way. Dr Bach said, ‘Vervain teaches us that it is by being rather than doing that great things are accomplished’. It engenders a calm and open attitude to the ideas of others, and allows their exuberance to be an inspiration to others. It helps towards a more balanced and harmonious life, treading the Middle Path.

Recipes:
Cooling Stomach tea
1 part Meadowsweet
1 part Marshmallow leaves (& flowers)
1 part Lemon balm
1 part chamomile
½ part Vervain
Place herbs together in a teapot and pour over boiling water. Leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Mix 1 dessertspoonful of aloe vera juice per cup of tea and take a cupful 3-4 times daily before meals.
Marshmallow is a wonderfully soothing remedy for irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract. Meadowsweet is the most renowned herbal antacid while vervain and chamomile are cooling and calming, excellent for stress related digestive disorders. The combination also has antimicrobial properties helping to combat infection such as helicobacter pylori that could be causing the problem.

Calming Tea
On a busy and stressful day, we might feel the need to sip a calming tea or soak in a relaxing bath to release muscle tension and calm our anxious thoughts. This combination of relaxing herbs tastes and smell delicious, relaxes muscles, calms the nerves and will help soothe your troubles away!
Place equal parts of skullcap, chamomile, vervain, lemon balm, holy basil in a teapot. Pour over boiling water and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3-6 cupfuls a day

Relaxing Bath
Pour a double strength infusion into a relaxing bath or use the fresh herbs tied in a bag and hang over the bath taps. Place one or two handfuls of the herbs in a piece of muslin or cotton. Tie a string around the top to close the opening and hang it from the hot tap of the bath. Make sure that the strings of the bag are long enough so that the bag soaks in the bath water once the bath is filled. Soak for 15-30 minutes for best effects.
Foot Bath for Tiredness and Exhaustion
Rosemary, vervain, skullcap, gotu kola, borage
Place equal parts of skullcap, chamomile, vervain, lemon balm, holy basil in a large teapot (50 gms per 500mls of water). Pour over boiling water and leave to infuse for about half an hour. Pour into a bowl large enough for your feet, check the temperature is right and then soak your feet for 10-15 minutes. These invigorating herbs will give you renewed energy if you are feeling tired, low or need to wake yourself up.

Modern Research:
Modern pharmacological studies of the alcohol extract and decoction showed that it has anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities, exciting uterine smooth muscle, immunity reinforcement, and nerve protection effects (Lai SW, Yu MS, Yuen WH, Chang R. Novel neuroprotective effects of the aqueous extracts fromVerbena officinalis L. Neoro Pharmacol. 2006;50:641–50. PubMed) and (Jin WJ, Zhang ZD. The advance on the research of Verbena officinalis L. Lishizhen Med Mater Med Res. 2007;18:693–4).
The alcohol extract had significant anti-inflammatory activity the same as that of piroxicam and somewhat less analgesic activity than that of methyl salicylate; these effects were concerned with iridoid glycosides 9Calvo MI. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of the topical preparation of Verbena officinalisL. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;107:380–2. PubMed)
Phenylpropanoid glycosides in vervain have a significant neuroprotection activity and contribution to the nervous system and the immune system (Xiong Q, Tezuka Y, Kaneko T, Li H, Tran LQ, Hase K, et al. Inhibition of nitric oxide by phenylethanoids in activated macrophages. Eur J Pharmacol. 2000;400:137–44. PubMed)

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