Vervain is a potent herb, and also a vampire's most well-known weakness. If a vampire has physical contact with vervain, it will burn them. If a vampire ingests vervain, the vampire will become feverish and extremely weak. If a human ingests or holds vervain somewhere on the body (such as holding it in a hand or pocket, or wearing it in jewelry), the human is protected by vampire compulsion and entitled to free will.
During the Middle Ages, a family (the original family), who lived in Europe, was hit by a terrible plague that caused the death of the firstborn child of the family. To escape the plague, the family moved to the New World (America) to start a new life where they had heard the people were healthy and strong, and gifted with speed and strength (the werewolves). The family enjoyed years of tranquility and peace between themselves and the natives. The family is composed of Mikael and Esther, the parents, and the children who were born in the New World: Elijah, Finn, Niklaus, Kol, Rebekah, and Henrik. Unfortunately, the youngest child of the family (Henrik) was mortally wounded by a werewolf when he and Niklaus wanted to go see the werewolves transition and died. Distraught and desperate to protect their family from any more deaths, Esther and Mikael begged their friend, the witch named Ayana to use her magic to turn her family into vampires. Ayana refused, reminding Esther about their duty as witches to uphold the balance of nature, and warning her that their plans were the beginning of a plague and that the spirits will turn against her. However, to protect her children, Esther performed the magic anyway, by herself. Mikael fed his children wine laced with the blood of the doppelganger Tatia, killed them, and forced them to feed on the human blood of a villager to complete the ritual. The benefits were indescribable, but it was a "betrayal" against nature itself. As Ayana had warned, nature defended itself against the undead: preventing them from entering places inhabited by humans, making them vulnerable to sunlight, making blood their utmost desire, weakening them against wood and the flowers (Vervain), that grew at the base of the great White Oak Tree which Esther had used to perform her spell, which could burn the undead and help others to avoid compulsion.
How To Use Vervain
Vervain is used to stop vampires compelling humans. It was made as every strength has to have a weakness. Humans can protect themselves from attacks, if ingested or carried on that person. Although, when a vampire looks at a human, they can't tell if they are using vervain or not. If vervain comes into contact, in/on a vampire that area of the body will burn. If a vampire has a lot of vervain it can badly wound or kill them.
How To Protect Yourself Using Vervain
- Put it in your food and drinks
- You can carry it by:
- Holding it in your hand/pocket
- Putting it in your bag
- Wearing it in jewelery
- Wearing it as a perfume
- In the novels, some people bathed in it
In Mystic Falls , many people use it because of their suspicions. The main people who push it's use are the Founding Families (e.g. the Town Council). They are so persistant that they put it in the town's water supply, which means the only safe place in Mystic Falls for vampires to use water is Damon and Stefan's house; they don't use the towns water supply. This means that Caroline and Elena have to go there if they want to use any water.
It is also easy for one person to get a big supply and just protect themself, that's why vampires can never be too careful.
In many episodes vervain was used as a weapon against vampires to keep them out. But some vampires have been known to have a resistance to vervain, taking in a little at a time. For example, Katherine has took a little vervain every day for the past 145 years, thus building up a tolerance. Damon and Stefan have also started taking in a little vervain. Damon built little resistance, but Stefan is still struggling.
People wearing and consuming vervain
- Elena Gilbert wore a necklace with a pendant containing vervain in it. Given to her by Stefan before she became a vampire. She has also been seen drinking it on occasion when she was a human.
- Jeremy Gilbert wore a bracelet with vervain in it, but later gave it to April Young when he became a hunter and became immune to compulsion. Made by Stefan, given to him by Elena. He also drank tea with vervain in it.
- Jenna Sommers wore a perfume that contained vervain. Made by Stefan, given to her by Elena. Also drank vervain tea.
- Trudie Peterson drank vervain tea, and also served it to Elena when the latter visited Trudy's home to learn about her mother.
- Alaric Saltzman drank vervain.
- Carol Lockwood wore a pendant with vervain.
- Members of the Founder's Council either consume or wear vervain, as well as many of the Sheriff's deputies.
- Caroline Forbes wore a vervain necklace until she became a vampire. When she was turned into a vampire, the vervain started burning her, so she stopped wearing it. Made by Stefan, given to her by Elena.
- Connor Jordan wore gloves laced with vervain in order to identify vampires and kill them.
- April Young wears a vervain bracelet given to her by Jeremy Gilbert, to protect her from being compelled.
- Matt Donovan at one point was taking vervain, as well as slipping it into the coffee at his place of employment, the Mystic Grill, when he was just learning about vampires and wary about socializing with them. He stopped taking it when Elena turned, presumedly so she could feed from him. It is unknown if he is still consuming or wearing vervain.
Vampires Immune to vervain
- Katherine Pierce - Katherine has been drinking vervain every day for 145 years in order to develop an immunity.
- Damon Salvatore - Damon has been drinking vervain every day since Katherine returned to Mystic Falls to develop an immunity. It was shown that he started to develop immunity when he was attacked by Stevie, and by Meredith Fell. After Pastor Young destroyed the town's vervain supply in his suicide, Damon's immunity began to decrease.
- Stefan Salvatore - Stefan has also been drinking vervain to try and build up an immunity. After Pastor Young destroyed the town's vervain supply in his suicide, Stefan's immunity began to decrease.
- Marcel - Marcel was seen directly ingesting vervain. He reasons that as the one responsible for running New Orleans, it is ideal for him, as leader, to keep his vulnerabilties at a minimum.
- In 1864, Pearl's Apothecary sold vervain to the towns people. A few years later, they had stopped selling vervain.
- The Founder's Council used it to protect people from vampires. Zach Salvatore was their supplier, until Damon Salvatore killed him. Damon is now their current supplier of vervain.
- When ingested, vervain causes a vampire to become severely weak and feverish, often to the point of unconsciousness. If a vampire's skin is exposed to vervain, it results in burns, although it is less severe if the vampire has a tolerance to it.
- Vervain also protects people from being compelled when it is consumed or worn.
- Katherine Pierce is the only known vampire to develop an immunity to vervain, after drinking it in laced fluids for over a century. In the episode The Descent, both Damon and Stefan begin taking small doses of vervain, so they too can develop an immunity. In the episode Crying Wolf, while being attacked by Stevie, as well as in the episode The Ties that Bind when attacked by Meredith Fell, Damon shows signs of resistance to vervain, which implies that he has already begun to develop a sense of immunity.
- Older vampires seem to be more resistant to it, as Elijah simply heals from the vervain. This could also be because he is an Original vampire.
- Alaric Saltzman invented two types of weapons which involved vervain. The first was a dart in which the vervain was held and it would inject whatever vampire was stabbed with it directly into the bloodstream; the second is the vervain bomb, a sort of grenade holding vervain extract which will shower the vampire with vervain when used, burning the vampires, and making the injuries sustained more severe, as they would be too weak from the vervain to heal as quickly and effectively.
- Bill Forbes and Atticus Shane cannot be compelled even though they aren't on vervain. Bill Forbes claims that it is a skill he learned after decades of practice, and compared the brain to a muscle that becomes stronger the more it is used. Atticus Shane claims to have picked up the skill on his travels around the world with mystical and magical people. Other supernatural creatures cannot be compelled at all, such as werewolves, witches, and members of The Brotherhood of the Five.
- As no vampire has died from vervain exposure, it's implied that it isn't deadly to vampires and only weakens them.
- "Vervain" is the title of the first The Vampire Diaries: Digital Comic trilogy.
- Vervain is also called herb-of the cross, pigeon's grass, verbena, and ma bian cao.
- It is supposed to help treat anxiety, stress, and nervous tension. It also has anti-depressant properties and stimulates digestion.
- The Egyptians associated the plant with their goddess Isis.
- Vervain is a consecrated herb for the Celtic Druids, just like mistletoe is.