Introduction of Ma Bian Cao:European Verbena Herb or Herba Verbenae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb European Verbena Herb, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Verbena officinalis L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb European Verbena Herb, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Herba Verbenae(European Verbena Herb).

dried herb segments of Herba Verbenae Pin Yin Name: Mǎ Biān Cǎo.
 English Name: European Verbena Herb.
 Latin Name: Herba Verbenae.
 Property and flavor: cool, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The herb Herba Verbenae is the dried aerial part of Verbena officinalis L., used (1).to activate the blood and promote menstrual flow for the treatment of amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, (2).as an antimalarial agent for treating malarial splenomegaly, and (3).to counteract toxins for treating boils and other types of suppurative inflammation. The herb is commonly known as Herba Verbenae, European Verbena Herb, Mǎ Biān Cǎo.

 Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Herba Verbenae as the whole herb of the Verbenaceae family plant species (1).Verbena officinalis L. It is a plant of the Verbena Linn genus, Verbenaceae family (Verbena, Vervain family) of the Lamiales order. Thiscommonly used species is introduced:

(1).Verbena officinalis L.

 flowering plants of Verbena officinalis L. with many small white flowers Botanical description: Verbena officinalis L is a plant of the Verbenaceae family (Verbena, Vervain family) and Verbena Linn genus, it is commonly known as Tù Zi Cǎo (means rabbit grass). A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 30~120 cm high. The stem is quadrate, there are hirsutes on nodes and branches. Leaves are opposite; Leaf blades are oval (egg-shaped), obovate to oblong-lanceolate, 2~8 cm long, 1~5 cm wide, the margin of basal leaves are coarsely serrate and incised; cauline leaves are mostly three-parted, the margin of lobes is irregularly serrated, both surfaces are covered with hirsute.

 Spica is apical and axillary, fine and weak, up to 25 cm long; flowers are small, dense in the early period, and turn sparse in the fruiting phase; each flower has 1 bract, has coarse hairs; Calyx is fistuliform (tubelike), membraneous, has 5 ridges, 5-teeth; corolla is mauve (lilac) to blue, corolla tube is straight or curved, apex is 5-lobed, lobes are oblong; 4 stamens, inserted in the middle of corolla tube, filaments are short.

 The fruit is oblong, about 2 mm long, wrapped in persistent calyx, and 4-lobed when it is mature. Its flowering period is from June to August, the fruiting period is from July to September.

 flowering plant of Verbena officinalis L with a small flower spike Ecological Environment: Verbena officinalis L grows on hillsides or mountain slopes, on roadsides, stream sides, or forest edges. It is distributed in the middle south, west-south, northwest areas, and the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, China. Common Vervain is found growing by roadsides and in sunny pastures. The plant is widely distributed to temperate regions and tropical regions globally.

 many purple flowers of Verbena officinalis L. History story of Verbena officinalis: The name Vervain is derived from the Celtic ferfaen, from fer (to drive away) and faen (a stone), as the plant was much used for affections of the bladder, especially calculus. Another derivation is given by some authors from Herba veneris, because of the aphrodisiac property attributed to it by the Ancients. Priests used it for sacrifices, hence the name Herba Sacra. The name Verbena was the classical Roman name for 'altar-plants' in general, and this species in particular. The Druids (Druid, member of the learned class among the ancient Celts. They acted as priests, teachers, and judges.). included it in their lustral water, and magicians and sorcerers employed it largely. It was used in various rites and incantations, and by ambassadors in making leagues. Bruised, it was worn around the neck as a charm against headaches, and also against snake and other venomous bites, as well as for general good luck. It was thought to be good for the sight. Its virtues in all these directions may be due to the legend of its discovery on the Mount of Calvary, where it staunched the wounds of the crucified Saviour. Hence, it is crossed and blessed with a commemorative verse when it is gathered. It must be picked before flowering and dried promptly.

 This plant was a favorite of the Druids, who gathered vervain when the Dog Star, Sirius, was on the rise, in the dark of the Moon. The Druids utilized vervain in divination, consecration, and ritual cleansing of sacred spaces. They made a magical drink called the Cauldron of Cerridwen (a shapeshifter) that some say included rowan berries, seawater, lesser celandine, flixweed, and vervain, which brought the drinker creative energy for bardic song and prophecy; a drink made from vervain is still said to help poets in their work. Vervain is still used to make a drink for initiating into Druidic paths. It is pleasant smelling and can be drunk as tea or burned as incense. In its connection with the Underworld, it is said the herb can be added to a cup of wine drunk on Samhain to aid in contact with the Beloved Dead.

 In Christianity, verbena is regarded as a Sacred Flower and is often used to decorate the altar of religious consciousness. In addition, in the past, when people thought that diseases were cursed by witches, they were often inserted in front of patients' beds to break the spell. In ancient Europe, it was regarded as a precious sacred grass and was given a symbol of peace in religious celebrations. In literary and artistic works, the herb was described as having a restraining effect on vampires(In popular legend, a vampire is a creature, also known as vampyre, Vampires have been featured in folklore and fiction of various cultures for hundreds of years, predominantly in Europe, although belief in them has waned in modern times. Vampire superstition thrived in the Middle Ages, especially as the plague decimated entire towns.).

 Collection: The herb is collected just before the flowers starts to bloom, usually in July, or from June to August, to remove clay and mud, and dried quickly in the sun!

 Growth characteristics: The plant Verbena officinalis L., prefers a dry, sunny environment. Its requirement in the soil is not strict. Its propagation by seed, can be sown in the spring and autumn rainy season.

 dried herb segments of European Verbena Herb Characters of herbs: The whole herb has roots. The rhizome is cylindrical. Stems are square, 0.2~0.4 cm in diameter; The surface is celadon (sage-green) to yellow-green, coarse and rough, with longitudinal grooves; The texture of the herb is hard, easily broken, the fracture surface is fibrous, with white pith in the center or the center is hollow. Leaves are opposite, sage-green (grayish-green) or yellowish-brown, mostly are wizened and broken, piliferous; the intact leaf blades are oval (egg-shaped) to oblong, pinnately divided, or 3-parted. The spike is thin and long, florets are densely and closely arranged, some have visible yellow-brown petals, and some have already formed fruit ears. The fruit is wrapped in celadon persistent calyx, and nutlets are sallow (grayish yellow), about 0.2 cm long, longitudinal ridges on the back surface are visible under a magnifying glass. The herb has a slight odor, it tastes slightly bitter, or slightly puckery. The herb of a better grade is green, with flower spikes, and no impurities.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect; ②.antitussive effect; ③.uterine effect; ④.promote milk secretion in mammals.

 Medicinal efficacy: Activate blood circulation, dissipate blood stasis, restoring menstrual flow, clear heat, detoxify, alleviate water retention, detumescence (reduce swelling), removing jaundice, preventing attack or recurrence of malaria. It is indicated for abdominal mass and accumulation, dysmenorrhea (abdominal mass after menstruation), menischesis due to blood stasis, fever caused by exogenous pathogens, cold and fever, jaundice with damp-heat pathogen, jaundice, sore throat, pharyngitis (throat obstruction), gingival malnutrition (ulcerative gingivitis), swelling and aching of gum, edema, dysuria (difficulty in micturition), carbuncle, sore ulcer and swelling, dysentery, malaria, diphtheria, gonorrhea, traumatic injury, etc.

 The flowering stems are used medicinally. Their constituents include the glycoside verbenalin and verbenin, tannins, an essential oil, mucilage, saponins, and mineral compounds. These substances give Vervain astringent, diuretic, stomachic, tonic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, vulnerary, mild sedative, and hypnotic properties. It is used internally in an infusion for various disorders associated with the stomach, liver, and kidneys. It is also excellent for stimulating the metabolism, for treating general nervous exhaustion, insomnia, and migraine. Externally the herb Vervain is used in gargles and compresses and bath preparations for skin disorders. A tincture prepared from the fresh plant is used in homeopathy.

 Verbena has a refreshing and pleasant aroma, can be used as a raw material for cosmetics and perfumes, and is often used to make tea, making it one of the popular herb tea. At the same time, it is also a kind of food with rich nutritional value, which can promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis.

 Administration of Herba Verbenae (Mǎ Biān Cǎo): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Herba Verbenae (Mǎ Biān Cǎo)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:5~10 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 0.5~1 liang (about 15~30 grams), fresh herb extract juice 1~2 liang (about 30~60 grams), or prepare to pill, powder. Externally:mashed and apply stick, or wash with water decoction; ③.Internally:water decoction, 15~30 grams, fresh herb 30~60 grams;or prepared to pill, powder. Externally:proper amount, mashed and apply stick;or wash with water decoction.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions:the herb Herba Verbenae should be used cautiously during pregnancy.




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