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Herbs, By Witchipedia

Vervain: Folklore, Healing & Magical Properties

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

There are 80 different species in the verbena family, but the one that interests the magic is the European one, called Officinalis. Let’s take a look at Vervain Magical Properties.

Recent News

At the beginning of January 2023, Magickal Spot partnered with and acquired an incredible website, founded by Dawn Black. Dawn created Witchipedia in 2006 as an online reference and collection of magical and spiritual information and resources for Witches, Pagans, Heathens, and anyone on a magical spiritual path.

Since our websites merged, some of our articles also had to merge.

Below you’ll find Dawn’s thoughts on this topic as well.


Vervain, a revered herb with a rich history, holds special magical properties, making it a sought-after talisman and love magnet.

Its symbolic significance extends to peace and protection, often used in rituals and as altar décor.

Vervain’s healing virtues are equally noteworthy, offering remedies for various ailments.

For those new to working with vervain, a few powerful tips can help harness its potential.

It is a perennial plant with delicate leaves and small blossoms.

It has a square stem, with toothed leaves and flowers arranged like a thorn, it is used for divination, and clairvoyance. The plant calms the melancholy, warms and excites the hearts, and its sign of belonging is Aries and the planet Venus.

Culture/TraditionFolklore and Cultural Significance
Ancient GreeceUsed in religious rituals, associated with the goddess Hera, and believed to have protective and purifying properties.
CelticConsidered a sacred herb, believed to have healing powers and used in divination practices.
DruidicRevered as a magical plant, associated with spiritual growth, protection, and attracting positive energy.
Native AmericanUsed in ceremonies and rituals for purification, healing, and spiritual connection.
EuropeanAssociated with love, protection against evil spirits, and used in love charms and potions.
Table 1: Vervain Folklore and Cultural Significance

Vervain was one of the most well-known and widespread magical plants in ancient time.

Some derive its name from Venus thus highlighting the aphrodisiac properties, confirmed by Hippocrates (5th century BC) who recommends the decoction of vervain to cure the sterility of women.

Also, Galen (2nd century AD) suggested vervain to “strengthen the member.”

Others, on the other hand, associate the term with the etymological “verber” whip, because its bundled branches served as a whip in ritual and propitiatory ceremonies.


Over time many names were given to this plant, including the devil’s claw. It was also burned to evoke spirits, to increase the prophetic and magical faculties.

In medieval times, people called it the magician’s herb.

Special Vervain Magical Properties Explained

Magickal PropertyDescription
ProtectionUsed in protective spells and rituals to ward off negative energies and evil influences.
PurificationBelieved to cleanse and purify spaces, objects, and individuals from negative energies.
LoveUsed in love charms, potions, and rituals to attract love, enhance relationships, and harmony.
DivinationAssociated with psychic abilities, prophetic dreams, and enhancing intuition.
EmpowermentKnown for increasing personal power, confidence, and spiritual strength.
Spiritual ConnectionUsed in rituals and ceremonies to deepen spiritual connections and aid in meditation.
Table 2: Magickal Properties of Vervain

As a Talisman

Vervain was used as a talisman, and in ancient times the girls who were about to get married would wear vervain as a bunch of flowers, to have a great wedding night.

Read more about Love Talismans here.

As a Love Magnet

In the past, the vervain (Verbena Officinalis) was considered very effective in love and sexual relationships.

It was said that to conquer the heart of the desired person, it was enough to touch it after rubbing the hands with the juice of this plant.

Here’s how:

We take a vervain plant, shred it, rub the proceeds on a left hand, and mark a cross on the forehead with it.

Then we proceed to mark a cross on the loved one, reciting this formula:

“Catos, let your desire be agreed with mine, like that of St. Joseph with Mary, in the name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit so be it”.

The Romans even called it “Herba Veneris” and believed it could rekindle even the most dormant passions.

The banquet halls of the emperor Nero had ivory inlaid ceilings, the panels of which flowed to drop a rain of vervain and other perfumes, to increase the guests’ sensual and sexual satisfaction.

A Symbol of Peace

As a symbol of peace, it was placed in the sacred areas by the Latin priests, the Feiali, when negotiations were underway with both allies and enemies.


As an element of protection from the evil eye and the demons, they were cultivated at home, as Pedro Hispano himself, a doctor and future Pope John XXI (XIII century) remember.

Peter of Spain

A Great Tool for Rituals

Even the Salem witches used a vervain-based mixture to attract interested people.

The legendary Nostradamus suggested collecting vervain in the solstitial night, to prepare a talisman to carry out “good journeys.”


In the Bible of Magic, we find his ritual:

“For good journeys, take a branch of elder and get a stick from it after Pentecost.

Remove the marrow and, after closing one end, insert two wolf’s eyes into the other, tongue and dog’s heart, three lizards, three swallow hearts.

Fill with saltpeter and with seven vervain leaves collected on the night of Saint John, and a stone of different colors.

Close the hole with an ivory knob made from an elephant tusk that is no more than a year old, and finally, the stick is ready.

With it will be possible to undertake every journey without danger; you will avoid bad encounters, the bite of vipers, dogs, and wild beasts “.

Honestly a bit horrible as a formula for a peaceful journey!

Altar Décor

The Druids used it to decorate the altars and added it to their lustral water.

The ancient German warriors called it “iron grass” and attributed the ability to remove negative influences to this little plant.

They sprinkled their swords with its juice, as protection from evil spirits.

Healing and Divine Virtues

An ancient Christian legend tells how this plant had sprung up on Mount Calvary, so the vervain was considered divine.

When picked up, a spell was formulated:

“You are holy, vervain, how you grow on the earth,
because at the beginning on Calvary you were found,
you healed the Redeemer and closed his bleeding wounds,
in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit I take you”.

With these words, vervain was picked, for its magnificent healing virtues, and since then it also took the name of Sacred grass.

In the liturgy of the feast dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, the vervain was used for the blessing of churches.

On that occasion, the ritual of the consecration of herbs developed so that their healing properties were protected from the evil one and the powers of darkness.

A Few Powerful Tips to Get Started with Vervain

Vervain is traditionally used in protection spells and exorcising incenses.

Another way to benefit from its purifying and cleansing properties is to perform ritual baths with the plant or its essential oil, apart from eliminating negative energies from our body, it will help us sleep more relaxed and prevent bad dreams.

Vervain has been considered, since ancient times, a sacred plant for its magickal and medical properties and for this reason it is used, for example, to remove negative energies from the domestic environment, to prepare love filters and to cure many discomforts.

It can also be used in the tub’s water for an energizing and refreshing bath.

Dawn’s Thoughts on Vervain

Vervain or Verbena (Verbena spp) is an herbaceous, sometimes woody perennial with opposite, narrow, oval-shaped, toothed leaves and small, five-petaled flowers that are usually blue to purple in color but may be pink or white.

These flowers appear in dense spikes in late spring to summer. Various varieties of vervain grow wild throughout the United States and Europe. Vervain has no fragrance.

  • Verbena officinalis – Native to Europe. Also known as Verbena, Herba Sacre, herba veneris, herb of the cross
  • Verbena hastata – Native to North America. Also known as American vervain, False vervain, Indian hyssop, Purvain, Simpler’s joy, Traveler’s joy, Blue Vervain, Wild hyssop

History and Folklore

It is said the vervain was used to staunch the wounds of Christ on the cross at cavalry and this is where its healing powers come from.

The word vervain comes from the Celtic term ferfaen meaning “to drive away stones” as it was believed to be a helpful treatment for kidney stones.


This is a good plant for a wildlife garden because both bees and butterflies find it attractive.

Vervain likes a sunny spot and is not picky about soil provided it does not allow standing water. Plant the seeds in the spring with a very light covering. They may take a few weeks to germinate but will come back year after year.

Harvesting & Storage

The magic of vervain is said to be the strongest when it is gathered after sunset or before dawn on the dark of the moon.

A libation of milk or honey should be left after gathering the plant. Leaves should be harvested before the flowers are open. The root may be dug up after the plant dies back in the fall.

The herb is best used fresh but may be hung to dry in a dark, well-ventilated place.

Magical Attributes

Vervain resonates with the energy of Gemini, the planet Venus and the element Water. It is considered feminine in nature.

Vervain is associated with Cerridwen, Isis, Thor, Jupiter. It can also be used in Midsummer celebrations.

Some believe vervain combined with any other herbs in magical work to enhance the action of these herbs.

ElementEarth and Water
Planetary AssociationVenus and Saturn
Zodiac SignLibra and Capricorn
DeityHera, Venus, Cerridwen, and Mars
Magical PropertiesProtection, purification, love, divination, empowerment, spiritual connection, healing
Table 3: Vervain Correspondences in Magick

The vervain plant may be bruised and worn about the neck to protect from headaches and snakebites.

This charm is also said to bring help to you when you need it, no matter how dire your situation. A fresh sprig carried on your person helps protect from baneful magick spells cast against you.

Vervain may be planted or placed around your property to protect it from damage by bad weather.

Vervain may be used in rituals to Thor or Jupiter. It may be burned as an offering or infused into water and sprinkled on the altar for purification.

In Hellenic rituals, the plants may be bundled and used to sweep the alter or ritual area or dipped into sacred water to asperge the altar or ritual area.

It can also be used in a wash to rid an area or person of negative energies and may be combined with dill for this purpose.

Vervain may be used in love spells to rekindle a dying love. It may also be woven into bridal wreaths or carried in bridal bouquets to ensure love to the couple.

Drinking a tea made of vervain is said to ward off vampires.

A vervain plant buried in the garden will bring abundant crops.

The leaves may be burned to attract wealth.

Healing Attributes

Verbena hastata is recommended for healing. Vervain tea is bitter but relaxing. It is a good nerve tonic and may help with mild insomnia. It is also useful for people suffering from work-related stress.

Healing PropertyDescription
RelaxationKnown for its calming and soothing effects, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Digestive AidUsed to alleviate digestive issues such as indigestion, bloating, and stomach cramps.
Headache ReliefBelieved to help relieve headaches and migraines when used as a topical application.
Sleep AidUsed to promote restful sleep, alleviate insomnia, and improve overall sleep quality.
Anti-inflammatoryKnown for its anti-inflammatory properties, useful in reducing inflammation and pain.
Immune BoosterContains antioxidants that support the immune system and protect against infections.
Table 4: Healing Properties of Vervain

Women who are experiencing problems with menstruation due to stress may also find some relief from taking vervain tea.

This tea may also help with bladder problems and acts as a diuretic. It can help with gall bladder issues and stimulates the liver.

Excessive use of vervain tea may lead to nausea.

Culinary Use

Vervain flowers may be placed in a dish with salt for several days to flavor the salt and add its unique energy to foods seasoned with the salt. Strain out the verbena flowers before using the salt.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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