English Name: verbena, European vervain
Literal Translation: “horse whip herb”
Pharmaceutical Name: Herba Verbenae
Medica Category: Blood-Invigorating and Stasis-Removing Herbs
Properties: Ma Bian Cao enters the Liver and Spleen channels; it is bitter in nature and cool in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Ma Bian Cao is the dried, aerial parts of European verbena (or common vervain– Verbena officianalis L.), a hardy, perennial herb native to Europe (and naturalized in North America) that blooms with small, white flowers in the summer. It has a long history of use in European folk medicinal traditions as a nerve tonic, to address what we now call PMS and menopausal symptoms, and as a sacred herb for rituals and protection. Long known about in the traditional practice of Chinese medicine, its uses in the modern practice of TCM are detailed below.
Ma Bian Cao activates blood circulation and breaks blood stasis to address various gynecological disorders (such as amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea with pain), abdominal masses, and joint pain and swelling associated with traumatic/sports injuries.
Ma Bian Cao clears heat and eliminates toxins and is often used topically for such clinical presentations as infected sores and carbuncles and swollen gums. It also can be used to clear damp-heat toxins internally (e.g. diarrhea and sore throat).
Ma Bian Cao (fresh juice) can be used to treat the symptoms of malaria.
Ma Bian Cao promotes urination to address edema, ascites, and water accumulation during the later stages of parasitic infections
Use with caution during pregnancy.