Verbena extract, also known as verbena, Verbena officinalis, and herb of the cross, is a perennial herb native to Europe and Asia. The plant belongs to the Verbenaceae family and has lobed, toothed leaves, and silky, pale-purple flowers. It’s used throughout the world as an herbal remedy because of the multiple beneficial compounds it contains.
Lemon verbena extract is obtained by extracting with 80% 1,3-Butylene glycol solution from Verbena officinalis which is cultivated in Okinawa, Japan. Verbena contains verbenalin, and is known to have an anti-inflammatory and a hemostatic action, and is used for emmenagogue, jaundice, diarrhea, blister and women's diseases, etc.
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A number of studies have looked into the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of Verbena officinalis, both in topical and oral formulations. Results have been largely mixed.
A 2006 study from Spain found that an extract of V. officinalis, applied topically in rats, was as effective in relieving edema (swelling) as traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, but it was far less able to relieve pain.1
Anxiety and Insomnia
Verbena extract has long been believed to have a calming effect that can help relieve stress and promote sleep. This effect was first described in the 1652 book "The English Physician" in which vervain was used as a tea to treat "over-enthusiasm."
Although there have been few studies investigating these effects in humans, there is evidence that V. officinalis not only reduces anxiety and insomnia but may prevent the occurrence of epileptic seizures. These effects are attributed to a sugar molecule in vervain, known as verbenalin, which is believed to have psychoactive properties.
A 2016 study published in the Frontiers of Pharmacology reported that an extract of V. officinalis, prescribed at a dose of 100 to 500 milligrams per kilogram, reduced the frequency and duration of tonic-clonic seizures in mice.2
Moreover, mice injected with the extract spent more time sleeping than those injected with a placebo. Anxiety, measured by movement through a maze, was also seen to improve.
While it is unclear if the same effect would be rendered in humans, it does suggest that lemon verbena extract may exert a positive influence on the central nervous system and adrenal glands (which produce stress hormones).
The treatment of infectious diseases, both common and severe, has become increasingly challenging in the face of growing antibiotic resistance. Vervain, long used to treat upper respiratory and urinary tract infections, is believed to exert antimicrobial effects that may help overcome these challenges.
In a 2016 study, different parts of the V. officinalis were able to eradicate 24 strains of disease-causing bacteria.3 According to the research, extracts derived from the stem of V. officinalis were able to kill Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the test tube more effectively that the antibiotic amoxicillin.
Similarly, the leaves of the plant showed considerable activity against Citrobacter freundii. The root turned out to be highly effective against Bacillus subtilis.
While is unclear whether the same results would be seen outside of the test tube, the research does provide evidence of vervain's long-presumed effectiveness in treating minor cuts and skin infections.
Of all the conditions Verbena extract is long presumed to treat, the prevention of kidney stones is one of the least supported by research. This is mostly because it is difficult to measure how effective a treatment is in not causing a medical condition. To date, there is little evidence to suggest it has any effect.
One study from China found that mice treated with verbenalin injections experienced no changes in either the structure or function of their kidneys compared to mice provided a placebo.4
What vervain does appear to do is increase urine output, which may, in fact, help prevent the formation of kidney stones. But it does so not by increasing the amount of water and sodium in the urinary tract—the way that most diuretics work—but rather by irritating the kidneys. This can actually hurt the kidneys more than help, especially over the long term.
One of the bolder claims made by herbalists is that lemon verbena extract may aid in the treatment of colorectal cancer. These claims were largely fostered by research which showed that polysaccharides (a type of long-chain carbohydrate) in vervain altered the activity of colorectal cancer cells in test tubes.
1. Verbena Extract is held in high esteem since the Classical Antiquity; it has long been associated with divine and other supernatural forces.
2. It has an equally long-standing use as a medicinal plant.Medical use of Verbena Extract is usually as a herbal tea. It also used as traditional Chinese medicine in china.
3. It has the pharmacological action of antiphlogistic and analgesic. It’s decoction inhibits the growth of bacillus diphtheria and bacillus typhi in vitro.
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