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Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)



Verbena








The Verbena, or Common Vervain, is a very familiar herb on waste
ground throughout England, limited to no soil, and growing at the
entrance into towns and villages, always within a quarter of a mile
of a house, and hence called formerly the Simpler's joy. Of old,
much credit for curative virtues attached itself to this plant, though
it is without odour, and has no taste other than that of slight
astringency. But a reputation clings to the vervain because it used to
be held sacred, as Holy Herb, and was employed in sacrificial
rites, being worn also around the neck as an amulet. It was called
Tears of Isis Tears of Juno Persephonion and Demetria. The
juice was given as a remedy for the plague. Vervain grew on
Calvary: and Gerard says the devil did reveal it as a secret, and
divine medicine.

It is a slender plant with but few leaves, and spikes of small lilac
flowers, when wild; but its cultivated varieties, developed by the
gardener, are showy plants, remarkable for their brilliant colours.

The name Frogfoot has been applied to the Vervain because its leaf
somewhat resembles in outline the foot of that creature. Old writers
called the plant Verbinaca and Peristerium:--

Frossis fot men call it,
For his levys are like the frossy's fet.

[587] The practice of wearing it round the neck became changed
from a religious observance to a medicinal proceeding, for which
reason it was ordered that the plant should be bruised before
being appended to the person; and thus it gained a name for curing
inveterate headaches. Presently also it was applied to other parts as a
cataplasm.

Nevertheless, the Vervain has fallen of late years into disfavour as a
British Herbal Simple, though a pamphlet has recently appeared,
written by a Mr. Morley, who strongly advises the revived use of
the herb for benefiting scrofulous disease. Therein it is ordered that
the root of Vervain shall be tied with a yard of white satin ribband
round the neck of the patient until he recovers. Also an infusion and
an ointment are to be prepared from the leaves of the plant.

The expressed juice of Verbena will act as a febrifuge; and the
infusion by its astringency makes a good lotion for weak and
inflamed eyes, also for indolent ulcers, and as a gargle for a relaxed
sore throat. The Druids gathered it with as much reverence as they
paid to the Mistletoe. It was dedicated to Isis, the goddess of birth,
and formed a famous ingredient in love philtres. Pliny saith: They
report that if the dining chamber be sprinkled with water in which
the herb Verbena has been steeped, the guests will be the merrier.

Geoffrey St. Hilaire and Pasteur praise the Vervain highly as
beneficial against ailments of the hair, the fresh juice being
especially used.

Other names of the plant are Juno's tears, Mercury's moist blood,
Pigeons' grass, and Columbine--the two latter being assigned
because pigeons show a partiality for the herb.

Verbena plants were named Sagmina of old, because [588] cut up
by the Praetor in the Capitol. When borne by an Ambassador
Verbena rendered his person inviolable. All herbs used in sacred
rites were probably known as Verbena. They were reported as of
singular force against the tertian and quartan agues; but one must
observe Mother Bombie's rules--to take just so many knots, or
sprigs, and no more, lest it fallout that it do you no good, if you
catch no harm by it.





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Previous: Valerian



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