Health Benefits of Blue Vervain:
There are many health benefits that have been associated with vervain, mainly because it exhibits the following properties:
• Analgesic — This herb helps alleviate headaches, migraines and abdominal cramps linked to menstruation.
• Anti-inflammatory — Complementing the plant’s analgesic properties, vervain may help reduce swelling and inflammation.
• Anti-spasmodic — Vervain may assist in healing muscle spasms.
• Astringent — Tannins in vervain may help ease skin infections,as well as bleeding gums, halitosis, mouth ulcers and tonsillitis.
• Diuretic — Vervain may help with diarrhea relief, and may encourage release of urine and water from the body.
• Antiparasitic — Vervain can help kill, expel and prevent growth of intestinal worms and other parasites
Common Uses of Blue Vervain:
Vervain leaves and flowers are often collected during mid- to late summer when the plant is in full bloom. These can be incorporated into an infusion, tincture, poultice or ointment, which can then be used to help address these conditions:
Scrofula (a form of tuberculosis)
According to Mark Pedersen, a research chemist who specializes in herbal chemistry, Boneset is one of the most versatile plants on Earth. He believes that no one phytochemical is responsible for the action of Boneset, rather it is the symbiosis of all of the plants constituents that produce its remarkable effects. His research shows that in virtually every instance where there is inflammation or infection, Boneset has proven itself most effective.
Boneset has been shown to contain antiviral properties and strengthens the immune system by enhancing the secretion of interferon. Interferon belongs to the large class of proteins known as cytokines – molecules used for communication between cells to trigger the protective defences of the immune system that help eradicate pathogens. Interferons are named for their ability to “interfere” with viral replication by protecting cells from virus infections. Other studies have found Boneset effective against minor viral and bacterial infections by stimulating the white blood cells.
Studies indicate that Boneset’s immunostimulating properties are due to the presence of sesquiterpene lactones and polysaccharides in the plant.
Whilst a high temperature or fever is a natural healing process in the body, over a certain temperature it can become dangerous and even life threatening. A powerful diaphoretic, the most famous use of Boneset is as a fever reducer. Best taken in a hot infusion, Boneset promotes a therapeutic sweat in fevers. It contains flavonoids and essential oils that stimulate the peripheral circulation and by encouraging sweating, it forces the body to not only cool down but to also release several harmful toxins through the skin.
The immunostimulating and fever reducing properties of Boneset make this herb perfect to alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu. Boneset is also an excellent expectorant, able to loosen phlegm and reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract.
Research shows that the sequiterpene lactones found in Boneset stimulate deficient digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate bile flow in the liver. It also has a mild laxative effect, allowing waste to move through the body more easily. In larger doses it can expel parasites; however it is recommended to consult a herbalist before using this herb in large doses.
Water Pepper Uses in Folk Medicine:
Water pepper became known early on for its poignant, peppery taste and has been used as a spice and medicine since ancient times. As an herbal medicine, it was considered an effective cure for a variety of ailments, including a toothache, epilepsy, gangrene, rheumatism, and gout.
Pedanius Dioscorides (1st century AD) and Galen of Pergamon (131-201 AD) recommended the herb as a laxative, while Paracelsus (1490-1541), a Swiss-German philosopher, physician, and botanist, believed it had styptic properties and that it could also be used as a remedy for upset stomach and jaundice.