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Family Verbenaceae
Verbena
Verbena officinalis L.
COMMON VERVAIN
Ma-pien Ts'ao

Scientific names Common names
Verbena adulterina Hausskn. Verbena (Engl., Tag,)
Verbena domingensis Urb. Common vervain (Engl.)
Verbena macrostachya F.Muell. Herb of the cross (Engl.)
Verbena officinalis L. Wild hyssop (Engl.)
Verbena riparia Raf. ex Small & A.Heller  
Verbena rumelica Velen.  
Verbena spicata Gilib. [Invalid]  
Verbena spuria L.  
Verbena vulgaris Bubani  
Vitex x adulterina Hausskn.  
Verbena officinalis L. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ma-pien ts'ao.
DUTCH: Echtes eisenkraut, Gebrauchliches eisenkraut.
FRENCH: Verveine officinale.
GERMAN: Gweohnliches eisenkraut.
ITALIAN: Verbena comune.
PORTUGUESE: Erva-dos-leprosos.

Botany
Verbena is a more or less hairy herb, growing up to 90 centimeters in height, erect, but decumbent at the base. Leaves are 5 to 10 centimeters long, variously lobed and narrowed to the base; the lower ones are stalked, pinnatifid or coarsely toothed, more or less hairy, and usually hoary on the nerves beneath; this upper ones are without stalks and 3-lobed. Flowers are small, 4 to 6 millimeters long, without stalks and borne on dense, bracteate heads which elongate as the fruit ripens. The calyx is twice as long as the bracts and half as long as the corolla tube, minutely 5-toothed, and glandular- hairy. The corolla is blue or lilac, and hairy, with spreading limb; the lobes are subquadrate, with a hairy throat. Fruit is dry, ultimately spreading into four 1-seeded nutlets which are oblong and dorsally smooth, their under faces covered with minute, white flaking cells.

Distribution
- A weed in waste places in and about towns, at low and medium altitudes, only in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, and Nueva Viscaya Provinces in Luzon.
- Introduced, cosmopolitan in subtemperate and subtropical regions.

Properties
- Bitter tasting, refrigerant.
- Eases out lymphatic circulation.

- Considered analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, anticontusive, antifebrile, antispasmodic, antitumor, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, galatagogue, stimulant, tonic.

Constituents
• Contains verbenalin, transferase, amygdalase, and tannin
• Study yielded four compounds: apigenin, 4'-hydroxywogonin, verbenalin and hastatoside. (7)
• Study of methanol extract of aerial parts yielded 3,4-dihydroverbenalin and daucosterol.
• Study of aqueous and hydroalcoholic extracts from Verbena officinalis yielded three iridoids, fifteen flavonoids and four phenolic acid derivatives. Four flavonoids were reported for the first time: scutellarein 7-diglucuronide, scutellarein 7-glucuronide, pedalitin 6-galactoside and scutellarein 7-glucoside. (See study below) (12)
• Study showed all plant parts to be good sources of potassium, approximately four times higher than sodium, with the seed husk highest in potassium. Roots yielded good values for iron, manganese, while the husk showed higher quantities of magnesium and zinc. (16)
• Study yielded five triterpenoid constituents: 3α,19,23-trihydroxyurs-12-en-28-oic acid, namely, 4-epi-barbinervic acid (1), 2α,3β-dihydroxyurs-12-en-28-oic acid (2), 3α,24-dihydroxyurs-12-en- 28-oic acid   (3), 3α,24-dihydroxy-olean-12-en-28-oic acid (4), ursolic acid (5). (see study below) (20)
• Study of aerial parts for volatile constituents yielded by GC and GCMS yielded major components of 3-hexen-1-ol (7.28%), 1-octen-3-ol (32.76%), linalool (4.66%), verbenone (20.49%) and geranial (7.22%). (26)
• Study of aerial parts yielded two new iridoids, verbeofflin I (1), and 7-hydroxydehydrohastatoside (2), along with three known iridoids, verbenalin (3), 3,4-dihydroverbenalin (4), hastatoside (5). (27)

Parts utilized
· Entire plant.

Uses
Edibility
- Leaves are parboiled, seasoned, eaten.
- Leaves used as tea substitute.
- Flowers: as garnish.
Folkloric
· Used for amenorrhea, difficult menstruation.
· Used for high fever during influenza, malaria, hepatitis, hepatic sclerosis, nephritis, edema, urinary tract infection, urinary tract lithiasis, sprains, eczema, dermatitis.
· Infusion of plant given against colic, ophthalmic, ulcers of the mouth.
· Plant used as cephalic, vulnerary, aperative, purgative, and a cure for pleurisy.
· Herbal tea traditionally used in treatment of insomnia and various nervous disorders.
· Fresh leaves used as febrifuge and tonic, and as rubefacient in rheumatism, and diseases of the joint.
· Decoction of dried material used as wash for eczema and dermatitis.
· Poultice of pounded fresh material for sprains and contusions.
· Used for headaches, fever, insufficient lactation.
· Used to assist contractions during labor.
· Root used for dysentery.

· Mohammedan physicians considered it tonic, astringent, and useful for paralysis and amenorrhea, and used a plaster of the leaves to promote wound healing.
· Ointment used for swelling of the womb.
· In Indo-China, plant is used for nervous complaints and as deobstruent for dropsy.
· Root used as a remedy for scrofula and snake bites.
· In Tuscany, reported to be used as a poultice for liver complaints; taken internally for the same complaints and for leprosy.
· In China, stalk and leaves believe to act on the blood - relieving congestion, obstructions, dropsical effusions, hematoceles. Also used as emmenagogue, anthelmintic, antiscorbutic, and antimalarial.
· Root considered astringent and used in dysentery.
· Plant used as vulnerary, detersive, aperative, and febrifuge.
· Oil considered siccative.

Studies
Anti-Inflammatory: Study isolated ß-sitosterol, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, 3-epiursolic acid, 3-epioleanolic acid and showed the ether, chloroform and methanol extracts of VO to have antiinflammatory activity. (3)
Neuroprotective: Study of aqueous extracts of V officinialis showed novel neuroprotective effects supporting its folkloric use and a potential as a neuroprotective agent against neuronal loss in Alzheimer's Disease. (2)
Gastroprotective / Antioxidant / Antiinflammatory: Study showed extracts to exhibit antiinflammatory activity and reduction of gastric damage. It also showed improved wound healing suggesting the presence of some lipophilic active principle. (4)
Volatile Constituents: Study of of aerial parts of VO yielded volatile constituents: 3-hexen-1-ol, 1-octen-3-ol, linalool, verbenone and geranial.
(5)
Antioxidant / Antifungal: Study of 50% methanolic extract and caffeoyl derivatives showed excellent and readily available sources of antifungal and antioxidant compounds. (6)
Antibacterial: In a microbiological assay, V. officinalis showed activity against E. coli, S. epidermis, S. aureus, B. subtilis. (9) Study evaluated the antibacterial activities and mineral content of various parts of the V. officinalis. All plant parts showed highest activity against S. aureus, with stems showing better antimicrobial activity than leaves and roots. (16)
Contragestational: Study evaluated the mechanism of contragestational effect of an alcohol extract of V. officinalis. Data showed VO at certain concentrations directly damaged trophoblast cells and inhibited HCG secretion, providing theoretical evidence for the clinical contragestational application of VO. (10)
Anti-Tumor: Study investigated the anti-tumor effects of V. officinalis extract on H22 tumor-bearing mice and its effect on immune function. Results showed an anti-tumor effect with an inhibition rate approaching 38.78%, without causing any damage to immune function. (11)
Antioxidant: Study of aqueous and hydroalcoholic extracts showed significant antioxidant activity in three in vitro models correlating with total phenolic and total flavonoid contents. (See study above) (12)
Hastotoside and Verbenalin / Sleep-Promoting Activity: Study investigated the sleep-promoting activity of hastatoside, verbenalin, and verbascodise, major iridoids
and polyphenol components responsible for its pharmacologic activity. Results showed hastatoside and verbenalin to be the major sleep-promoting components. Verbascoside had no effect on the amount of sleep. (13)
Essential Oil / Apoptotic Inductors: Vervain essential oil induced a significant apoptosis in granulocytes from healthy donors and chronic myeloid leukemia patients, with the percentage apoptosis more significant in the latter. (15)
Anti-Inflammatory / Radical Scavenging: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of a methylene chloride fraction of V. officinalis. Results showed suppression of nitric oxide production, inducible nitric oxide synthase and COX-e expression dose-dependently without notable cytotoxicity. It exhibited strong scavenging effect on various assays. Results suggest it may be beneficial in oxidative stress-mediated inflammatory disorders. (17)
• Antibacterial / Stems / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the antimicrobial potential of stems, leaves, and roots against 24 strains of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial. Stems showed best potency against al the strains. Activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was higher than antibiotic Amoxicillin. (19) Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of different solvent fractions of aerial parts against four bacterial species viz. S. aureus, E. coli, S. enteritidis and S. typhimurium. All tested solvent fractions exhibited activity against the tested bacteria. The acetone fraction exhibited maximum zone of inhibition. (22)
• Triterpenoids / Antitumor: Study yielded five triterpenoid constituents. Compound 1 (4-epi-barbinervic acid) is a new triterpenoid which exhibits higher antitumor activity against human hepatoma cell line Bel 7302 in vitro than the blank control. (see constituents above) (20)
• Anticonvulsant / Anxiolytic / Sedative: Study of crude extract of V. officinalis indicated anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, and sedative activities providing scientific basis for its application in various neurological ailments such as epilepsy, anxiety and insomnia. (21)
• Anticonvulsant / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the anticonvulsant activity of aerial parts of Verbena officinalis by PTZ and MES induced seizures in mice. Results showed anticonvulsant activity which may be related to potentiation of the GABAergic system. (23)
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Wound Healing / Gastroprotective: Study evaluated various solvents extracts of V. officinalis for anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, cicatrizing, and antioxidant activities. All extracts showed remarkable anti-inflammatory activity, significant reduction of gastric damage, wound healing effect and antiradical efficacy. (24)
• Antidepressant / Leaves: Study evaluated the antidepressant activity of methanolic extract of leaves of V. officinalis in mice using tail suspension test (TST) and forced swimming test (FST), together with influence on spontaneous locomotor activity (SLMA). Results showed dose-dependent antidepressant effects. (25)

Availability
Wild-crafted. 
Seeds, extracts and teas in the cybermarket.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated January 2018 / February 2014


IMAGE SOURCE: File:Illustration Verbena officinalis0.jpg / Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany / GFDL by Kurt Stueber / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons (
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Verbena officinalis / Photo by Leo Michels - Source: http://www.imagines-plantarum.de / alterVISTA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: File:Verbena officinalis Sturm22.jpg / Fig. from book Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen at http://www.biolib.de / Johann Georg Sturm (Painter: Jacob Sturm) / 1796 / Public Domain / Wikipedia
SOURCES

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Verbena officinalis / Plants For A Future
(2)
Novel neuroprotective effects of the aqueous extracts from Verbena officinalis Linn / Sau-Wan Lai et al / Neuropharmacology / Vol 50, Issue 6, May 2006, Pages 641-650 / doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2005.11.009
(3)
Antiinflammatory activity and chemical composition of extracts of Verbena officinalis / PTR. Phytotherapy research ISSN 0951-418X / 2000, vol. 14, no6, pp. 463-465
(4)
Effects of differential extraction of Verbena officinalis on rat models of inflammation, cicatrization and gastric damage / Planta Med. 2007 Mar;73(3):227-35.

(5)
Volatile Constituents from the Aerial Parts of Verbena Officinalis L. (Vervain) / Mohammadreza Shams Ardakani et al / Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2003) 39-42
(6)
Antioxidant and Antifungal Activity of Verbena officinalis L. Leaves / E Casanova et al /Plant Foods for Human Nutrition • Volume 63, Number 3 / September, 2008 / DOI 10.1007/s11130-008-0073-0
(7)
Studies on the chemical constitutents in herb of Verbena officinalis
/ Tian J, Zhao YM, Luan XH / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2005 Feb;30(4):268-9.
(8)
Studies on chemical constituents of aerial parts of Verbena officinalis L
/ Zhang T, Ruan JL, Lu ZM / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2000 Nov;25(11):676-8.
(9)
Antimicrobial activity of flavonoids in medicinal plants from Taf ́ı del Valle (Tucuma ́n, Argentina)
/ Nancy E. Hernandez, M L Tereschuk, L R Abdala / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 73 (2000) 317–322
(10)
Mechanism of Contragestational Effect of Verbena Officinalis Extract / ACTA ACADEMIAE MEDICINAE NANJING
(11)
Study on in-vivo anti-tumor activity of Verbena officinalis extract. / Kou WZ, Yang J, Yang QH, Wang Y, Wang ZF, Xu SL, Liu J. / Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2013 Apr 12;10(3):512-7. eCollection 2013.
(12)
Chemical composition, mineral content and antioxidant activity of Verbena officinalis L / Sheyla Rehecho, Olman Hidalgo, Mikel García-Iñiguez de Cirano, Iñigo Navarroc, Iciar Astiasarán, Diana Ansorena, Rita Yolanda Cavero, María Isabel Calvo
(13)
Hastatoside and verbenalin are sleep-promoting components in Verbena officinalis / Yuki MAKINO*, Shino KONDO, Yoshiko NISHIMURA, Yoshinori TSUKAMOTO, Zhi-Li HUANG, Yoshihiro URADE / Sleep and Biological Rhythms, Volume 7, Issue 3, pages 211–217, July 2009 / DOI: 10.1111/j.1479-8425.2009.00405.x
(14)
Verbena officinalis / Common names / AlterVISTA
(15)
VERBENA OFFICINALIS ESSENTIAL OIL AND CITRAL AS APOPTOTIC INDUCTORS IN LEUKOCYTES OF HEALTHY SUBJECTS AND CHRONIC MYELOID LEUKEMIC PATIENTS / Laura De Martino, Myriam Iorio, Giuseppe Coppola, Annapaola Campana, Clementina Savastano , Bruno Marcello Fusco and Vincenzo De Feo / Pharmacologyonline 2: 170-175 (2008)
(16)
Comparative Study of Antibacterial Activity and Mineral Contents of Various Parts of Verbena officinalis Linn / Dildar Ahmed*, Muhammad Ashraf Chaudhary, Akhtar Raza, Abdul Waheed, Shahid Rehman Khan and Muhammad Ikram / Asian J. Chem., 2012, 24(1), pp 68-72
(17)
Anti-inflammatory and radical scavenging properties of Verbena officinalis / Hwan Ki Shim, Seong Yeol Kim, /Borim Kim, Jae Park Cho, Yae Jeong Park, Won Geun Ji, Dong, Seok Cha and Hoon Jeon* / Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine 2010 10(4), 310-318 / DOI 10.3742/OPEM.2010.10.4.310
(18)
Verbena officinalis / Synonyms / The Plant List
(19)
Verbena o cinalis a herb with promising broad spectrum antimicrobial potential
/ Dildar Ahmed*, Kamal Ahmed Qasim, Chaudhary Muhammad Ashraf and Husnul Maab / Cogent Chemistry (2017), 3: 1363342 / https://doi.org/10.1080/23312009.2017.1363342
(20)
A New Triterpenoid from Verbena officinalis L. / Ji-Cheng Shu, Jian-Qun Liu, & Gui-Xin Chou / Natural Product Research, Vol 27, Issue 14 (2013) / https://doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2012.733391
(21)
Anticonvulsant, Anxiolytic, and Sedative Activities of Verbena officinalis
/ Abdul Waheed Khan, Arif-ullah Khan, and Touqeer Ahmed / Front. Pharmacol., 21 Dec 2016 / https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2016.00499
(22)
In vitro Antibacterial Activity of Extracts from Aerial Parts of Verbena officinalis / Berhan Mengiste, Solomon Lulie, Belayneh Getachew, Mebrahtom Gebrelibanos, Abebe Mekuria and Birhanetensay Masresha / Advances in Biological Research 9 (1): 53-57, 2015 / DOI: 10.5829/idosi.abr.2015.9.1.1114
(23)
Anticonvulsant Effects of Aerial Parts of Verbena officinalis Extract in Mice: Involvement of Benzodiazepine and Opioid Receptors / Amir Rashidian, PharmD, PhD, Fatemeh Kazemi, PharmD, Saeed Mehrzadi, PhD, Ahmad Reza Dehpour, PharmD, PhD, Shahram Ejtemai Mehr, PharmD, PhD,
and Seyed Mahdi Rezayat, PharmD, PhD / Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 2017, Vol. 22(4) 632-636 / DOI: 10.1177/2156587217709930
(24)
Effects of Differential Extraction of Verbena officinalis on Rat Models of Inflammation, Cicatrization and Gastric Damage / E. Speroni, R. Cervellati, S. Costa, M. C. Guerra, A. Utan, P. Govoni, A. Berger, A. Müller, H. Stuppner / Planta Med 2007; 73(3): 227-235 / DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-967116
(25)
ANTIDEPRESSANT ACTIVITY OF METHANOLIC EXTRACT OF VERBENA OFFICINALIS LINN. PLANT IN MICE / TALHA JAWAID, SYED AMAN IMAM, MEHNAZ KAMAL / Asian J Pharm Clin Res, Vol 8, Issue 4, 2015, 308--3310
(26)
Volatile Constituents from the Aerial Parts of Verbena Officinalis L. (Vervain) / Mohammadreza Shams Ardakani*, Mahmoud Mosaddegh, Alireza Shafaati / Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2003) 39-42
(27)
Two New Iridoids from Verbena officinalis L. / Jicheng Shu, Guixin Chou,* and Zhengtao Wang* / Molecules 2014, 19(7), 10473-10479 / doi:10.3390/molecules190710473

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