Vervain details

Latin Name: Verbena officinalis

Group: The first twelve essences

Emotional Group: Over-care for the welfare of others

Failing: Intense

Personality: Fervent

Virtue: Tolerance

Method: Sun


Those with fixed principles and ideas, which they are confident are right, and which they very rarely change. [Bach: Twelve Healers and Other Remedies 1936]


We should strive to be so gentle, so quiet, so patiently helpful that we move among our fellow men more as a breath of air or a ray of sunshine: ever ready to help them when they ask: but never forcing them to our own views. [Bach]

State of Being

The strong-willed. Those who are intense of mind, who tend to over-exert themselves mentally and physically. They refuse to be beaten and will carry on long after others would have given in. They go their own way. They have fixed ideas and are very certain that they know right. They may be obstinate in refusing treatment until compelled. They may be carried away by their enthusiasm and cause themselves much strain. In all things tend to be too serious and tense. Life is a very arduous thing for them. They have their own strong views and sometimes wish to bring others to their point of view and are intolerant of the opinions of others. They do not like to listen to advice. They are often people with big ideals and ambitions for the good of humanity. [Bach]



Vervain is in Rest combination.



Vervain grows on bare, dry ground where grass is sparse. Hedges and roadside verges are the most likely sites although the chemical sprays that were used on verges some years ago destroyed many plants. Now it is found on recently cleared ground where competition is not strong.

Vervain is rather local, growing mostly in southern England, especially on chalk.

Vervain - Form and Function

Vervain types are said to be strong willed and just as Dr Rudolf Steiner observed that the human will is in the limbs so in the plant world we may say that the will is represented by the stalk and the stem. So the will in Vervain is strong and directed, they know what they want to do. Compare Scleranthus to see a contrast. In Vervain the stalk, while pliable and soft at first becomes dry and woody. It is ribbed and more or less square in section, having flat sides. This tough, ridged material is very strong and speaks of whipcord and sinew, the stringy quality of determination. It is in contrast to the fleshy stems of Impatiens where the water element is dominant and the stems collapse almost immediately when they are damaged.

The flowers express the way that Vervain comes to the simplicity and elegance of doing things ‘gently without strain and stress’. Pale mauve and five-petalled, like the Water Violet Vervain flowers are as understated as the foliage is overgrown. Here the plant almost laughs at itself for producing so little after so much effort. Like the oak tree the smallest flowers come from the greatest strength. Looking at the mature plant in flower we can see the subtle gesture of the Vervain as the little stars of light that create a picture of the electric impulses of the brain, tiny explosions of energy that combine to create concept and purpose.