Against sadness, anxiety, nervousness and depression, from today we know we have a new ally to improve the mood and calm down, verbena or vervain! This is what emerges from a recent scientific research published in the journal Basic and Clinical Neuroscience by an Algerian team (Bekara et al, Basic Clin Neurosci, 2020).
Depression, effects and treatments
Depression is unfortunately a very widespread condition in modern society. Depression brings agitation, insomnia, poor concentration, feelings of guilt and mood disorders with a deterioration in the quality of life. At the base of depression, we find hormonal changes and a decrease of some neurotransmitters while, as regards the treatments, drugs are used that can sometimes be insufficient or cause disorders such as dizziness or addiction. Extracts from some plants have also been shown to help with depression. Generally, natural remedies are more tolerated and have fewer side effects. Examples of plants with an antidepressant action are lavender, ginger, centella, hypericum and, as we will see today, also verbena. Verbena contains substances such as tannins and flavonoids that, as shown by previous studies, have an anxiolytic and antidepressant action. However, research on verbena is only just beginning and much remains to be understood about the effectiveness of this plant and its mechanisms of action.
The anxiolytic and antidepressant action of vervain
To shed more light on the antidepressant action of vervain, the scientists of the study we are talking about today conducted research on a population of rats. The animals were divided into three groups, the first group was given an aqueous extract of verbena, 200 mg per kilo of body weight. The second group was given a drug used to treat depression, fluoxetine, while the third received a solution of water and sugar. Later, the animals were tested for emotional and anxious state. What emerged was that the animals treated with verbena showed greater mobility and curiosity aimed at discovering the surrounding environment, all signs that the verbena was able to reduce anxiety and to counteract any depressions. It is believed that some substances contained in verbena, terpenes, have a dopaminergic effect, that is, capable of regulating mood and improving concentration, while tannins and flavonoids have an anxiolytic action.
Verbena is therefore an aid against anxiety and depression. In the study, the aqueous extracts were obtained by infusing verbena leaves, 15 grams in a liter of boiling water left to macerate for 15 minutes. Verbena can be bought in herbal medicine, do not use during pregnancy. Ask your doctor for advice before starting any treatment with vervain since this plant has a hypoglycemic action.