By Larissa Cox
The Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, loved this herb! Vervain was considered sacred, magical and a "cure-all" by many cultures throughout the ages. Used by Medieval, British/European, Greek, Italian, Chinese and the Native American Indian healers for centuries.
Vervain has a tonic, nerve restoring and lifting quality, combined with its ability to improve liver and digestive function, makes it well suited to those, human or horse, who are convalescing from chronic illness. Many horse owners top dress this herb on their horses who are on stall rest. As a nervine relaxant and antispasmodic, it can assist horses who are tense and sensitive by relaxing the gut, peripheral nerves and muscles, allowing them to perform without "burning up" their energy through anxiety. Used both internally as a feed supplement and externally as a poultice, it can also relieve itchiness in those horses whose tension is expressed through overly reactive skin.
In addition, vervain is a diaphoretic supplement (promotes perspiration) and is valuable in managing fevers. It's antispasmodic effects also applies to coughs, asthma and headaches. In addition, it is galactogogue - encouraging lactation!
Again, as with any supplement program, your veterinarian should be contacted. Vervain should not be administered to pregnant mares without first consulting a qualified equine herbalist or your veterinarian as research has shown that verbain can stimulate uterine contractions.