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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? )
- 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.
- Dudai N, Weinstein Y, Krup M, Rabinski T, Ofir R. Citral is a new inducer of caspase-3 in tumor cell lines. Planta Med. 71(5):484-8.