• Vervain

    Uses

    Principal Proposed Uses

    Other Proposed Uses

    The herb vervain is a common perennial wildflower in England, found growing at the edge of roads and in meadows. It has a long history of use in Celtic religious tradition, and has been used as medicine by many cultures. The leaf and flower are the parts used medicinally.
    Like other bitter plants, vervain has been used to stimulate appetite and digestion. Other traditional uses include treating abdominal spasms, fevers, depression (especially following illness or childbirth), and inadequate flow of breast milk.

    What Is Vervain Used for Today?

    Vervain is commonly recommended today to increase flow of breast milk , as well as to treat insomnia and menstrual pain . However, there is no meaningful evidence to support any of these uses.
    One study in rats found possible sedative effects with a vervain extract. 1 A test-tube study found hints of potential anti-cancer effects. 2 However, evidence like this is far, far too preliminary to show efficacy. Only double-blind , placebo-controlled studies can prove that a treatment really works, and no studies of this type have been performed on vervain. (For information on why such studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? )

    Dosage

    A typical dosage of vervain is 2–3 grams three times daily, taken as dry herb or made into tea. Equivalent dosages are also available in tincture form, and may be more palatable.

    Safety Issues

    Although vervain is thought to be a relatively safe herb, it has not undergone any meaningful safety testing at a modern scientific level. There is some reason to believe it may not be safe for use in pregnancy. 3 Despite its reputation for enhancing flow of breast milk, safety in nursing women has also not been established. Additionally, safety in young children or people with severe liver or kidney disease remains unknown.

    References

    1 Akanmu MA, Honda K, Inoue S, et al. Hypnotic effects of total aqueous extracts of Vervain hastata (Verbenaceae) in rats. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci . 2002;56:309–10.

    2 Dudai N, Weinstein Y, Krup M, et al. Citral is a new inducer of caspase-3 in tumor cell lines. Planta Med . 2005;71:484–8.

    3 Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals . London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:263.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    HeartSHAPE® Test Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.