Verbena officinalis

 

Verbena officinalis

Synonyms

No documentation

Vernacular Name

Wild hyssop, Common verbena, Holy herb, Mosquito plant, Ironwort.

Description

Verbena officinalis has a lengthy history of use as a medicinal herb and as a sacred herb used in ceremonies since ancient times in many parts of the world.[1] It is said that V. officinalis was the herb used to treat the wounds of Jesus after he was removed from the cross.  Its uses are varied in all medical traditions ranging from stimulating lactation to treating kidney stones.  The aerial parts of V. officinalis are useful for its therapeutic properties and are normally collected during the summer when the plants are in full blossom.

V. officinalis is a small perennial that is harvested for medicinal use during the flowering phase.  It grows up to five feet tall with branching on the upper half of the plant. These upper branches terminate in flowering spikes producing bluish flowers.  Each flower produces red-brown fruits in early fall.

Origin / Habitat

Thought to be native to the Mediterranean, this herb is now found throughout the world and is cultivated in many gardens. V. officinalis is found growing in abundance in the wild all over Europe, North Africa and also in China and Japan. The herb is grown through seedlings during spring or in autumn and the plant flourishes in soil that does not allow water to stand and prefers a lot of sunlight.

Chemical Constituents

Iridoid glycosides (verbenalin, verbenin, hastatoside)
Caffeic acid glycosides
Beta-sitosterol
Ursolic acid
Apigenin
Oleanolic acid
Citral [2],[3],[4],[5],[6]

Plant Part Used

Leaf, flowers, stems, root used as astringent.

Medicinal Uses

General

Sedative
Nervous disorders
Anxiety
Insomnia
Galactagogue
Respiratory disorders
Inflammation of mucous membranes

 

Most Frequently Reported Uses

Sedative
Nervous disorders
Anxiety
Insomnia

Dosage

Dosage Range

1-5g of crude raw herb prepared as infusion.

Most Common Dosage

1.5g powdered herb one to three times per day.
5g in 1 liter of water for topical application.

 

Standardized to

There is no known standardization of V. officinalis.

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

The traditional use of V. officinalis includes treating some inflammatory conditions.  In an animal model, extracts of V. officinalis were obtained by several methods.  Of these a carbon dioxide extraction provided the strongest anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities with lipophylic actives being the likely source of these properties. This same extract demonstrated wound healing properties.[7] These antioxidant properties were also demonstrated using a methanol extract at 50% with caffeoyl as possessing radical scavenging properties.[8] The topical applications of V. officinalis extract have also demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties with results comparable to or better than piroxicam gel and moderate analgesic properties.[9]

V. officinalis contains citral which has been found to induce apoptosis in tested hematopoietic cancer cell lines.[10]

Clinical

No documentation

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

Lessens the effects of Warfarin.[12]

V. officinalis has anticoagulant properties that may interfere with similar medications.[13]

V. officinalis tea/infusion has been found to interfere with iron absorption.[14],[15]

 

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

The extract of V. officinalis may cause allergic skin reactions in some individuals.[11]

Pregnancy

Not to be used by pregnant women.  Not to be used by nursing women as a galactagogue unless under supervision of a healthcare professional.

Age limitation

Based on reports that V. officinalis tea may interfere with iron absorption, it should be avoided in children and those with compromised nutritional status.

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Read More

  1)  South Africa Herbs

References

  1. Guarrera PM, Forti G, Marignoli S.Ethnobotanical and ethnomedicinal uses of plants in the district of Acquapendente (Latium, Central Italy). J Ethnopharmacol. 15Jan2005;96(3):429-444.
  2. Rimpler H , Schafer B . Hastatoside, a new iridoid from Verbena officinalis and Verbena hastata (Verbenaceae) . Tetrahedron Lett . 1973:17;1463-1464 .
  3. Wink M. Medicinal Plants of the World. Portland: Timber Press; 2004.337.
  4. Deepak M, Handa SS.Antiinflammatory activity and chemical composition of extracts of Verbena officinalis. Phytother Res. Sep2000;14(6):463-465.
  5. Tian J, Zhao YM, Luan XH.Studies on the chemical constitutents in herb of Verbena officinalis. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. Feb2005;30(4):268-269.
  6. Liu CH, Liu Y. Determination of ursolic acid in herba of Verbena officinalis by HPLC. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. Dec2002;27(12):916-918.
  7. Speroni E, Cervellati R, Costa S, Guerra MC, Utan A, Govoni P, Berger A, Müller A, Stuppner H.Effects of differential extraction of Verbena officinalis on rat models of inflammation, cicatrization and gastric damage. Planta Med. Mar2007;73(3):227-235.
  8. Casanova E, García-Mina JM, Calvo MI.Antioxidant and antifungal activity of Verbena officinalis L. leaves. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. Sep2008;63(3):93-97.
  9. Calvo MI.Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of the topical preparation of Verbena officinalis L. J Ethnopharmacol. 11Oct2006;107(3):380-382.
  10. Dudai N, Weinstein Y, Krup M, Rabinski T, Ofir R.Citral is a new inducer of caspase-3 in tumor cell lines. Planta Med. May2005;71(5):484-488.
  11. Del Pozo MD, Gastaminza G, Navarro JA, Munoz D, Fernandez E, Fernandez de Corres L.Allergic contact dermatitis from Verbena officinalis L. Con Derm Sep1994;31(3):200-201.
  12. Taylor S. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research: Vol. 50. Netherlands: Elsevier Science and Technology Publishing;2005.282.
  13. Argento A, Tiraferri E, Marzaloni M. Oral anticoagulants and medicinal plants. An emerging interaction. Ann Ital Med Int. Apr2000;15(2):139-143.
  14. Hurrell RF, Reddy M, Cook JD.Inhibition of non-haem iron absorption in man by polyphenolic-containing beverages. Br J Nutr. Apr1999;81(4):289-295.
  15. Zaida F, Bureau F, Guyot S, Sedki A, Lekouch N, Arhan P, Bouglé D.Iron availability and consumption of tea, vervain and mint during weaning in Morocco. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(3):237-241.