The stalke of upright Vervaine riseth from the root single, cornered, a foot high, seldome above a cubit, and after-wards divided into many branches. The leaves are long, greater than those of the Oke, but with bigger cuts and deeper: the floures along the sprigs are little, blew, or white, orderly placed: the root is long, with strings growing on it.
2 Creeping Vervaine sendeth forth stalkes like unto the former, now and then a cubit long, cornered, more slender, for the most part lying upon the ground. The leaves are like the former, but with deeper cuts, and more in number. The floures at the tops of the sprigs are blew, and purple withall, very small as those of the last described, and placed after the same manner and order. The root groweth straight downe, being slender and long, as is also the root of the former.
Both of them grow in untilled places neere unto hedges, high-waies, and commonly by ditches almost every where. (Dagger) I have not seene the second, and doubt it is not to be found wilde in England. (Dagger)
The Vervaines floure in July and August.
Vervaine is called in Latine, Verbena, and Sacra herba: Verbenae are any manner of herbes that were taken from the Altar, or from some holy place, which because the Consull or Pretor did cut up, they were likewise called Sagmina, which oftentimes are mentioned in Livy to be grassie herbes cut up in the Capitoll. In English, Juno's teares, Mercuries moist bloud, Holy-herbe; and of some, Pigeons grasse, or Columbine, because pigeons are delighted to be amongst it, as also to eat thereof, as Apuleius writeth.
It is reported to be of singular force against the Tertian and Quartaine Fevers: but you must observe mother Bombies rules, to take just so many knots or sprigs, and no more, lest it fall out so that it do you no good, if you catch no harme by it. Many odde old wives fables are written of Vervaine tending to witchchraft and sorcery, which you may reade elsewhere, for I am not willing to trouble your eares with reporting such trifles, as honest eares abhorre to heare.
Most of the later Physitions do give the juice or decoction hereof to them that have the plague: but these men are deceived, not only in that they looke for some truth from the father of falshood and leasings, but also because in stead of a good and sure remedy they minister no remedy at all; for it is reported, that the Divell did reveale it as a secret and divine medicine.