‘The Originals’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Vervain Has Roots in Folklore

If pick your poison was a required theme, vervain fits the bill for The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.

Where wolf’s bane was used to debilitate werewolves, any time the word vervain was uttered, it meant trouble for the Salvatores, Mikaelsons, and all other vamps. But what made the plant so powerful and is it really associated with magical powers outside of the TV world?

Joseph Morgan and Paul Wesley 2013
Joseph Morgan and Paul Wesley arrive at San Diego Comic-Con, 2013 | Jerod Harris/Getty Images for DC Entertainment

Vervain’s allure in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘The Originals’

Both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals skipped over conventional anti-vampire herbs like garlic and switched things up with vervain. Used as a tool to avoid mind control attempts and to injure vampires, it’s mostly employed in its liquid form in the series.  

Viewers have seen Stefan trapped in a well full of the stuff, Caroline tortured with it, and an entire vervain bomb constructed to take out the Heretics.

There have also been scenes where humans and witches have been drained of it. In addition to consuming it, humans have weaponized it in multiple ways to attack vampires including by wearing vervain jewelry, bathing in it, drinking it, or carrying it.

In the TVD universe, vervain’s powers originated after the original vampires were created by Esther’s unsanctioned spell. Nature sought to balance things with objects that were harmful to the creatures, including white oak and vervain flowers that grew by the tree.

Vervain has a storied history in ancient folklore

Legends deem garlic as the ultimate vampire repellant along with holy water. So, where does vervain fit into the stories of yore?

The plant is native to Europe, and back in ancient Rome, the herb was used in religious rites to purify the space and altars. It’s also said soldiers kept the flowers on them for protection and to outwit their enemies.

Pagans used it for love and protection spells (including against magic), and vervain was hung, worn as an amulet, or carried to ward off evil spirits. While that method doesn’t explicitly speak to vampires, the idea of safeguarding oneself against malignant forces sort of aligns with its usage.

The Mikaelsons were Vikings, and coincidentally, vervain had ties to Thor, the Norse god.

Wolf’s bane has an interesting background too

If any researchers for TVD delved into the history of wolf’s bane, they might have discovered that the herb is considered toxic — in real life. It is lethal to humans and animals, even if it touches the skin. In ancient times, it was used to kill wolves or as a poison for weaponry.

In folklore, the plant is totally associated with werewolves and vampires and was considered a protective flower. Throughout time, it was considered an aid to fight the mythical creatures or as a cure for werewolves.

In a different fantasy scenario, theoretically, the werewolves of The Originals and The Vampire Diaries could have rid themselves of “the curse.”

Fans have seen wolf’s bane used in both shows to subdue and hurt werewolves. Damon tortured Uncle Mason with it, Stefan and Klaus did the same with another werewolf, and Tyler tried to drink some before his transformation. If either supernatural creature really existed, it’s clear which plant would be the better choice to keep on hand.