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Vervain for sinusitis

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 272 views

The old medicinal plant verbena is used today primarily as a component of a herbal combination preparation against inflamed paranasal sinuses. However, folk medicine knows other areas of application. Read more about the effects of verbena and how to use it correctly!

What is the effect of Verbena?

Vervain is not classified as a traditional medicine. Vervain (Verbena officinalis) played an important role as a medicinal plant in earlier centuries. Today, however, it is only occasionally used therapeutically – in combination with other medicinal plants as a preparation for inflammation of the paranasal sinuses (sinusitis).

Verbenalin, a representative of the so-called iridoids, is considered to be primarily responsible for the healing powers of the plant. It promotes the production of thin mucus, so it has secretolytic properties.

Other ingredients are caffeic acid derivatives (such as verbascoside), traces of flavonoids and small amounts of essential oil, mucilage and bitter substances. The verbascoside has shown antibacterial abilities in studies. In addition, verbena extracts are said to have anti-inflammatory, antitussive and diuretic effects.

Folk medicine uses the medicinal plant for other health problems. These include, for example

  • Digestive disorders such as mild stomach upset and diarrhea
  • rheumatic diseases
  • menopausal symptoms
  • irregular menstruation
  • Ulcers and poorly healing wounds

Verbena officinalis is also used as a means of promoting milk secretion in breastfeeding women. The effectiveness of the plant in these areas has not been scientifically proven. Vervain is also used in folk medicine as a calming agent for the psyche. There are some indications from animal studies that support this effect. The cause is probably the flavonoids and tannins in verbena, which have an anxiolytic effect. However, these indications have not yet been substantiated by human studies.

The effectiveness and side effects of using verbena alone have not been sufficiently proven, which is why it is not recommended in this form. It is better to use combination preparations.

How is verbena used?

There are various uses of verbena. We introduce them to you.

Vervain as a home remedy

The dried, aerial parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes. This includes the leaves, stems and flowers, i.e. the herb. A tea is sometimes prepared from this, for example for mild indigestion:

Adults take a heaping teaspoon (1.5 grams) of dried herb and pour a cup of boiling water over it . After ten minutes you can strain off the plant parts. You can drink a cup of verbena tea up to three times a day.

In addition, folk medicine recommends the external use of verbena, for example for compresses in wounds or embrocations for rheumatic complaints. It is best to prepare an extract of five to ten grams of verbena in one liter of water.

Note: There is no scientific evidence of effectiveness for these applications.

Home remedies have their limits. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time, do not improve or even get worse despite treatment, you should always consult a doctor.

Verbena in aromatherapy

The essential oil of verbena is primarily used as a room fragrance – for refreshment and to improve concentration, for example in the case of nervous exhaustion and concentration problems. This is possible with an aroma lamp, for example.

In aromatherapy, verbena oil is sometimes used for embrocations. The anti-inflammatory effect of the oil is used for rheumatoid arthritis or its calming properties for stress, anxiety and insomnia – in low doses.

However, verbena oil is very expensive. Therefore, cheaper essential oils that are just as effective or even more effective are often used instead. There are also often mixtures with lemongrass oil. For example, “Vervain Grasse” consists of only ten percent verbena oil. The remaining 90 percent is lemongrass oil. This mixture then does not have the effects described above.

Unless otherwise stated, the recipes apply to healthy adults. In children, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, the elderly and people with certain underlying diseases (such as asthma, epilepsy), the dosage often has to be reduced or some essential oils have to be dispensed with altogether. You should therefore first discuss the use of essential oils in such patient groups with an aromatherapist – with a doctor or alternative practitioner with appropriate additional training.

Finished preparations with Verbena

Verbena is mainly used as a component of a herbal preparation against inflamed paranasal sinuses – together with other medicinal plants such as gentian root, cowslip blossoms and elderflowers. Verbena is sometimes a component of ready-made tea blends, such as nursing teas. For the exact application and dosage, please read the package insert or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

What side effects can vervain cause?

The combination preparation against sinusitis can in rare cases trigger gastrointestinal problems. In addition, there are no known side effects of verbena alone.

What you should consider when using verbena

  • Vervain has not yet been adequately studied to clarify possible side effects with long-term use or during pregnancy.
  • Verbena may induce labor in pregnant women. Expectant mothers should therefore only use the plant (including the essential oil) after consulting their doctor and only if they wish to go into labour.
  • There is also no knowledge of possible contraindications – i.e. circumstances (such as certain diseases) that speak against the use of the medicinal plant.
  • Interactions with the birth control pill are not known.
  • In general, the following applies to essential oils: Use only 100 percent natural essential oils – preferably those that have been obtained from organically grown plants or from wild collections.
  • Before using verbena oil (and other essential oils), you should always check its compatibility with the crook of your arm test: Put a drop of the essential oil in the crook of your arm and gently rub it in. If the affected area of ​​skin turns red in the following hours, starts to itch and maybe even form pustules, you cannot tolerate the oil. You shouldn’t use it then!

How to get verbena products

You can obtain dried verbena and corresponding preparations from your pharmacy or drugstore. Please refer to the respective package inserts for information on correct use or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

What is Verbena?

Vervain (Verbena officinalis) is a member of the vervain family (Verbenaceae). It was originally native to the Mediterranean region. Today it is distributed worldwide in temperate zones, mostly as part of weeds along roadsides, on landfill sites, dams and walls.

The plant has a square stem and grows up to 60 centimeters high. It is often woody in the lower part and branched in the upper area. The leaves are deeply incised to pinnate. Vervain produces pale lilac flowers from July to September. Small, brown split fruits develop from them, which easily disintegrate into four nuts.

The commercially available verbena comes from wild collections in south-eastern Europe. True verbena is non-toxic.

The traditional Greek mountain tea, which is made from Greek verbena (Sideritis scardica; mint family, Lamiaceae), is only distantly related to vervain. It contains other active ingredients.

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