ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Vervain? - Vampire Diaries Reference

Updated on November 13, 2013

We are constantly hearing about vervain on The Vampire Diaries. The humans need it to keep themselves from being compelled (Jedi mind tricks) by the vampires. The “good” vampires need it to help control the “bad” vampires. The vampires use it between themselves for revenge and for their oddball games…and what the heck is it?! I’m sure I was not the only one who was wondering if it was just something invented by the writers. To be perfectly honest when the vervain was introduced in Season 1 of The Vampire Diaries it kind of looked like Zach Salvatore was growing pot in his basement. Actually, vervain does in fact exist and is a perfectly common herb.

1796 detailed drawing of common vervain from a book by Johann Georg and Jacob Sturm
1796 detailed drawing of common vervain from a book by Johann Georg and Jacob Sturm | Source

Vervain/Verbena

If you research vervain online you will most likely come up with results for verbena. Verbena is the official name for a genus of plants which includes more than 200 different species. This includes Mint Vervain, Swamp Verbena, and of course Lemon Verbena. The vervain discussed in The Vampire Diaries, however, is verbena officinalis. This species is the most common and is therefore often known as Common Vervain. The plant, although native to Europe, also grows in other places. It is a rather sparse looking plant that has white to light purple flowers and tends to grow up to about three feet high.

Vervain has a part in the history of nearly every culture. In ancient religions it was a symbol of purity and was often used at weddings. It was also considered a sign of peace and was used, much like the olive branch, during diplomatic relations in Ancient Rome. There is a legend in Christianity that vervain was used to clean the wounds of Jesus Christ after he was brought down from the cross. For centuries vervain was considered a holy herb or the “herb of the cross”. It was used for protection, like holy water, and was thought to protect people from the power of witches. Although it is culturally recognized that vervain was used against witches, there is nothing known about its use against vampires. The idea that it could disable or even kill them was created by L.J. Smith and the other writers of The Vampire Diaries.

In the past, vervain officinalis was often made into scented oil, though it was also considered cheap perfume as most people preferred the more expensive scent of aloysia citrodora or Lemon Verbena. The fact that common vervain was used as a perfume, however, does explain why Elena originally thought her defensive necklace was rose scented. You will recall that Stefan avoided answering directly by saying it was an ancient herb that would protect her.

Early 20th century drawing of an Aconitum plant by Carl Axel Magnus Lindman
Early 20th century drawing of an Aconitum plant by Carl Axel Magnus Lindman | Source

Vervain vs. Wolfsbane

Vervain should not be confused with wolfsbane. Not only are these two separate herbs but they are also part of two separate genera. In fact, wolfsbane is discussed later on in The Vampire Diaries and is used only to control the werewolf hybrids. The idea that wolfsbane could be used as a defense against “normal” vampires is due to a rather weird error in the 1931 Bela Lugosi Dracula. For some reason in this movie Van Helsing gives out wolfsbane as a defense against the vampires rather than using garlic. I might as well also add that there was nothing about wolfsbane in Bram Stoker’s novel.

Wolfsbane is part of the extremely poisonous genus of plants known as aconitum. These plants were used across the ages for poisoning both people and animals, and in particular wolves. The wolfsbane used, at least in folklore, for repelling werewolves is most likely aconitum lycontonum.

Vervain, on the other hand, is edible. However, it can sometimes be toxic and therefore should be used only under the care of a qualified professional. The most common medicinal form of vervain is the Bach Flower Remedy made from verbena officinalis. It is typically given to patients who have started to run on mania to the point they rarely sleep or begin to do major harm to themselves. Ergo, doesn’t have much to do with being a vampire, eh?

© 2013 LastRoseofSummer2

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)