A Interesting Letter....

Well I finally was able to start my seeds. The rains ceased for about two days and I was able to get the seeds started in potting soil...lol. I have about 50 pots going...oh my.  This morning I realized I received a letter from Richter's...inside was a package of Vervain Seeds aka Verbena Officinalis and a bill for $2.25. Hmmmmmmmm. I've made no such order... But I do think it's possible the universe is speaking to me. Maybe I need the seeds for a particular reason..for magic, or medicine.??? Let's see what Vervain is all about?
Common name: Common Vervain
Latin name: Verbena officinalis
Other names: Common Verbena, Herb of Grace, Herb of the Cross, Holy Herb, Herb Venus, Simpler's Joy
Family: Verbenaceae
Habitat: Common Vervain is native to Europe. Nowadays, the plant is widely naturalized all over the globe. It grows on waste places and prefers moist, well-drained soils.
Description: Verbena is a perennial plant growing up to 90cm in height. It has a woody stalk and pale green, hairy stems. Leaves are green, soft and hairy, with the lower ones being obovate, deeply divided and stalked and the upper ones being lanceolate, slender and toothed. Flowers are very small and blue in color. They appear on a long, slender spike. Fruit is a cylindrical nutlet.
Parts used: Leaves, flowering heads, stems.
Useful components: Alkaloid, bitters, glycosides, tannins, volatile oil.
Medicinal use: Common Vervain is considered to be a very powerful relaxant, diaphoretic antispasmodic and emenagogue. It can be used in the treatment of depression, melancholia, asthma, migraines, insomnia and nervous cough. It can be very helpful in different cases of liver conditions, jaundice and gallstones. It is also considered to be an effective remedy for infected gums, tooth decay, halitosis and tonsillitis. Used as a poultice, Common Vervain can be applied to insect bites, sprains and bruises. As an ointment, it acts as a beneficial remedy against eczema, wounds, weeping sores and painful neuralgia.
Safety: Some herbs react to medication.. Consult your doctor before using...

More on Vervain...Including the Magic.......
Habitat and Description: Vervain is often described as small, compact, and weedy in appearance, which I suppose could be considered accurate but is hardly flattering to such a pretty, delicate plant. It is usually fairly low growing, with pinnate, lobed leaves that usually only grow up to perhaps 8 inches up the stem. The flower stem grows much higher above the leaves, and could be compared to faery wands, with tiny lavender flowers growing up the stem, starting at the base and ending at the tip of the flower stem. The plant is perennial, prefers to live in fairly well drained soil and will grow into a dense cluster of mid green leaves, with the flower stems rising high above the main plant. It is found throughout Europe, both wild and cultivated in herb gardens.
Parts Used: Dried herb – above ground parts.
Constituents: The plant contains iridoids such as verbenin, verbenalin, verbascoside, eucovoside and hastatoside, volatile oils containing verbenone, citral, geraniol and limonene, trierpenes such as ursolic and oleanolic acids, flavonoids, saponins and mucilage.Â
Planetary Influence: Venus (possibly also the moon given the deities the herb is associated with)
Associated Deities and Heroes: Aphrodite, Aradia, Cerridwen, Diana, Galahad, Horus, Isis, Jupiter, Mars, Ra, Thor, Venus, Zeus. Juno can also be considered as a deity associated with Vervain. In my opinion other witch Goddesses such as Arianrhod, Hecate and Ishtar could also conceivably be considered as associated with Vervain given the herb’s long history of use as an enchantress’s herb. By extension, Circe and Morgana could also be considered. Hermes and Medea are also associated with Vervain.
Festival: There isn’t a great deal of information on which festivals the herb is associated with, but general concensus seems to associate the plant with Midsummer and also with Samhain – not at all surprising given the herb’s association both with the druids and with divination and the underworld.
Constitution: It is generally agreed that the herb’s constitution is hot and dry.
Actions and Indications: Vervain has a wide range of useful actions.
Our old friend Culpeper believed that it was useful in the treatment of any problems with the uterus, and that the herb was hot and dry, making it useful in the removal of obstructions. He comments that it can be used to treat dropsy, jaundice and gout, and that it is anthelmintic. He also mentions that it can be used to treat any problems concerning the stomach, spleen and liver, and that it can also be used to treat coughs, wheezing and related respiratory problems, as well as to treat ailments of the urinary tract. He also mentions that it is styptic, can be used to treat problems with the eyes, and can be used to treat headaches ‘it eases the inveterate pains and ache of the head, and is good for those that are frantic.’ Disappointingly, he does not have any pithy comments to make about the plant!
Echoing Culpeper’s comments about the plant being useful in the removal of obstructions, it is sometimes used to treat kidney disorders, in particular urinary calculi and gravel.
Medicinally, I use it as a fantastic nervine to treat those with digestive complaints related strongly to the nerves. For thin, pale young women who tend to over worry about everything and have badly affected digestive systems as a result – especially when the anxiety causes nausea, vomitting and appetite loss. The plant is an antispasmodic and balancing nervine, particularly good for the liver and kidneys, as well as being gently sedative and diaphoretic. It can be used to treat nervous exhaustion for those who have worked far too hard, for far too long – great for those working towards important deadlines or trying to finish degrees (I used it quite a bit in my third year, when I was literally running on empty and still had a dissertation and two essays to finish!) The herb is bitter to the taste and stimulates the appetite, as well as being expectorant – helping the body to remove excess mucous. As it is astringent, it can be used in the treatment of respiratory related illness such as coughs, colds, asthma and inflammatory conditions of the respiratory tract such as bronchitis.
Apparently it can be used to treat ME and some forms of depression when combined with Chamomile or Oats. This is because it has an overall tonic effect on the parasympathetic nervous system – I suspect it is particularly good for ME when this has arisen due to a person being put under undue amounts of pressure for a long while. This seems to culminate in coming down with a virus or influenza, which knocks the person off their feet for a while and results in total collapse physically for a long time afterwards. The plant combines well with other nervines such as Skullcap, Valerian and Mistletoe, although personally I would use caution when combining it with Valerian – being a plant ruled by Mercury, Valerian can have unpredictable effects on some people, causing mania and bizarre dreams. I’ve noticed this particularly happens in choleric and sanguine people, as the plant is already heating as it is and seems to play badly with others when introduced into the body of someone who already tends towards being overheated and overstimulated.
Vervain is a great herb in the treatment of depression and melancholia, especially when this is after long term, debilitating illness. It can be used to ease hysteria, anxiety and seizures, and is a useful addition to medicine used to treat liver related illnesses.
In medicine I use it for liver related issues causing poor and sluggish digestion, and to ground people who are lightweight, thin, pale and rather flighty or melancholic. It comes across as a lovely, robust plant with a bright, cheerful, rather no nonsense attitude – and I tend to use it in more material doses as a result.
Spiritual and Energetic Uses: The herb is used on the solar plexus and throat chakras for victims of violence or acute trauma, and those who have been through an accident or other incident that has caused a sudden, deep shock to the psyche. The herb prevents the entrance of unhelpful influences on the solar plexus chakra, and allows grief to manifest healthily when used for the throat chakra. It allows the user to take things one day at a time, giving time and space for healing. The herb can be used to strengthen, centre and calm the emotions, and can be used to bring balance to fragmented people – it could perhaps be used for people attempting to deal with emotional problems such as disassociation caused by traumatic situations such as abuse or the memory of abuse. If used for this purpose, I would probably combine it with Marshmallow to reassure, Rosemary to bring clarity and Meadowsweet to gently dissolve walls and allow a person to better contact his or her emotions in a way that is bearable and will not swamp them.
The flower remedy is used for charismatic people with large resources of energy, who lead and heal others through their great enthusiasm and idealism. The tendency is for these people to expend more energy than they can afford in the pursuit of their goal, which takes over their lives and leaves them unable to relax. The typical vervain person is courageous but can also be rigid and inflexible. This leads them to overuse their energy resources in pursuit of their goals, which in time can lead to a nervous breakdown. Vervain helps people fitting this characteristic to use their energy in a more balanced way, bringing a calm, open attitude to the ideas of others and allowing them to live a more calm, balanced and harmonious life.
Magical Uses: There are a wide variety of uses for the plant in magical workings, including for love, protection, purification, peace, money, youth, chastity, sleep and healing. It is a common ingredient in love potions and protective spells, and any part of the plant can be carried as a personal amulet. The infusion can be used to drive off evil spirits and malignant forces when sprinkled around the home, and the dried herb can also be used in incenses used for exorcisms. It can also be used in purification sachets and baths. The dried herb scattered around the home brings peace and calms the emotions. The herb can also be buried in the garden or put in the house to bring wealth – I’d be inclined to grow it in the garden rather than bury bits of it, as alongside Rosemary and Rowan, it has a protective influence. The herb can be used to bring dreamless sleep. The juice of the plant smeared on the skin will bring the gifts of prophecy and wish fulfillment, will turn enemies into friends, attract lovers and bring protection against all enchantments. Interestingly, whilst some authors are of the opinion that the herb is used to enhance the dreaming process, others believe that it stops a person dreaming at all. I suppose this is all down to personal opinion and what the bearer of the plant needs at any given moment. Vervain can be used to consecrate magical tools, and is included in an ancient recipe for a draught of immortality. The herb is associated with poets, singers and bards, and grants inspiration and increased skill – not greatly surprising given that the plant is sacred to the Druids, famous for their bards, ovates and wisemen and women. The plant could perhaps be associated with awen, the divine spark of inspiration.
Some other uses for the plant include using it to bring the wearer or user under the influence of Diana, a personification of the Moon Goddess. When used for this purpose, the plant should either be worn or used as an infusion added to a hot bath. If the hands are washed in the infusion, legend says that it is possible to engender love in anyone you touch with your hands. The plant is also used in a charm to bring youth and beauty, as well as to bring tranquil dreams – perhaps this better explains the comments by several authors concerning the plant’s ability to bring dreams. Instead of engendering dreams, it gentles the more severe ones and grants clarity so that the dreamer is better able to make sense of their dreams in the morning?
Last of all, the plant can be placed in the cradle of a baby to encourage joy and intelligence to the new born. As such, it would perhaps make an excellent birth blessing gift.
Folklore: Folklore mentions an interesting cure for cancerous growths employed by Marcellus of Bordeaux, who was the court physician to Theodosius 1st, whereby a root of vervain was cut in half, with one half hung around the patient’s neck and hanging the other half in the smoke of a fire. Apparently as the root shrivels, so will the tumour – this carried the interesting method of ensuring payment as if the patient proved to be reluctant to pay, the root could be thrown into water and as it swelled back up, so would the tumour! The herb was a widespread safeguard against infection, and was hung around the necks of children to this end. The plant’s alternate names of ‘pigeon grass’ and ‘pigeon meat’ comes from the belief that pigeons and doves eat vervain to improve their eyesight.
The name ‘vervain’ ‘comes from the celtic word ‘ferfaen’, ‘fer’ meaning to drive away and ‘faen’ meaning a stone. Some authors believe that this describes the plant’s ability to dissolve urinary calculi. The herb was beloved of the druids, being a main ingredient in their lustral water, as well as being used in the casting of spells and rituals, and for divinatory purposes. Vervain was used by the Romans as a ritual cleansing plant, and was made into brooms to sweep the altars. It was so beloved by the Romans that it had its own festival day of Verbenalia. It was used in love potions by Roman women. Interestingly, the plant could be used to both cast spells and ward a person against spells cast on them.


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