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).

Herba Verbenae:herb photo 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.

 Verbena officinalis L.:flowering plants Botanical description: Verbenaceae, perennial herb, plant height is 30~120 cm. The stem is square, festivals and a hard hair on the branch. Oval leaves, ovate to inverted long egg lanceolate, 2~8 cm long, 1~5 cm wide, the base leaves usually have a rough serrated edge and missing engraved; leaf stems are mostly three deep clefts, the edge lobe is serrated, two covered with hard hair. Spica top health and grow from armpit, slim and weak, up to 25 cm long; spent small, early-intensive, the results alienated each flower with 1 bract, thick hairs; tubular calyx, membrane, five prisms, with five teeth; Corolla is lavender to blue, corolla tube is straight or curved, 5 tip cracks, long circular segment; 4 stamens, grows in the middle of the corolla tube, the filament is short. Fruit-round, about 2 mm, E packets in places, mature after four cracks. The flowering period is from June to August, the fruiting period is from July to September.

 Verbena officinalis L.:flowering plant Common Vervain is found growing by roadsides and in sunny pastures. It is a perennial plant bearing many small, pale lilac flowers. The leaves are opposite and cut into toothed lobes. The plant has no perfume and is slightly bitter and astringent in taste. 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, and 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 included it in their lustral water, 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 Old World native 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 a tea or burned as an 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.

 Verbena officinalis L.:purple flowers A perennial herb with a square, upright, stiff stem, loosely branched towards the top and sparsely leafy. The opposite, dull-green leaves are pinnately divided into oblong lobes, often with rounded teeth, the terminal lobe is the largest; the upper leaves are smaller and less divided. The small, slightly two-lipped, pale-lilac flowers are arranged in long terminal spikes. The corolla tube is almost twice as long as the calyx. The fruit consists of four reddish-brown nutlets. All parts of the plant are roughly hairy.

 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.

 Collection: The herb is collected just before the flowers starts to bloom, usually in July, and dried quickly!

 Growth characteristics: The plant Verbena officinalis prefers a dry, sunny environment. Strict requirements on the soil. Propagation by seed, can be sown in the spring and autumn rainy season.

 European Verbena Herb:herb photo Characters of herbs: The whole herb is with roots. The rhizome is cylindrical. Stems are square, with a diameter of 0.2~0.4 cm; The surface is gray-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 hollow, opposite leaves, grayish-green or brown-yellow, many shriveled and broken, hairy; Leaf blade is ovate to oblong, pinnately divided or 3-parted. The spike is thin and long, florets are closely arranged, some are yellow-brown petals, and some have already formed clusters. The fruit is wrapped in gray-green persistent calyx, and the nutlet is gray-yellow, about 0.2 cm long, with longitudinal ridges on the back under a magnifying glass. The herb has a slight odor, it tastes slightly bitter. The herb of 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.

 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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