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Stachytarpheta jamaicensis


Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Stachytarpheta
Species: jamaicensis, cayenensis
Common Names: Gervão, Brazilian Tea, Bastard Vervain,
Verbena Azul, Verbena, Verveine A Queue De Rat,
Verveine Bleue, Verveine Violette, Verveine,
Gewongan, Rumput tahi babi, Selaseh dandi (Spotted basil)
Part Used: Leaves

Plant    Leaves    Plants     Flowers


Properties/Actions: Antacid, Analgesic, Anthelmintic, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Anti-ulcerogenic, Diuretic, Emmenagogueue, Febrifuge, Hypotensive, Laxative, Lactagogue, Purgative, Sedative, Spasmogenic, Sudorific, Stomachic, Tonic, Vasodilator, Vermifuge, Vulnerary
Phytochemicals: 6-hydroxyluteolol-7-glucuronide, Apigenol-7-glucuronide, Alpha-Spinasterol, Butyric Acid, Chlorogenic-acid, Dopamine, Dotriacontanen, Friedelin, Hentriacontane, Hispidulin, Ipolamide, Luteolol-7-glucuronide, Nonacosanen, Pentriacontane, Scutellarein, Spinasterol, Stachytarphine, Stigmasterol, Tarphetalin, Tetratriancontane, Triacontanen, Tritriacontane, Ursolic Acid

Traditional Remedy:

One-half cup whole herb infusion 1-2 times daily or 1-3 ml of a 4:1 tincture daily. 1 to 3 grams of powdered herb in tablets or capsules or stirred into juice or water daily can be substituted if desired.
See Traditional Herbal Remedies Preparation Methods page if necessary for definitions.

Gervão is a weedy annual and sometimes perennial herb growing to the height of 60 to 120 cm in height. It has pretty reddish-purple flowers growing along long bracts and is indigenous to most parts of tropical America. It is in the Verbenaceae family with Teak, Vervain and Verbena, however Gervão is a different species of plant than true Verbena or Vervain.. It is often referred to as "Bastard Vervain." Synonymous Latin binomials for this plant include: Stachytarpheta indica, Stachytarpheta marginata, Stachytarpheta pilosiuscula, Stachytarpheta urticifolia, Stachytarpheta villosa, Verbena jamaicensis.

In Brazilian herbal medicine a hot tea is prepared with the leaves or entire ariel parts for a stomach tonic, to stimulate the function of the gastrointestinal tract, for dyspepsia, for fevers and to promote perspiration, as well as for chronic liver problems. It is also used in Brazil for hepatitis, as a diuretic for various urinary complaints, and for constipation. In the West Indies, it is largely employed as an anthelmintic and vermifuge, expelling intestinal worms and other parasites. Gervão is a main ingredient in several commercial preparations sold in Jamaica for intestinal worms and parasites. One popular preparation combines Gervão with Graviola (Annona muricata) and Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides) into an effective leaf tea for parasites and intestinal worms. Besides its long history of use as a vermifuge which was first documented in 1898 , Gervão has also used by women in Jamaica and in the West Indies as an emmenagogue and for dysmenorrhea In many parts of the West Indies a leaf tea is drunk after childbirth to rebuild the health and to increase the supply of mother's milk. In India, a hot tea of Gervão leaves has been used dysentery, fevers, rheumatic inflammations, and externally for purulent ulcers.

In 1962, researchers demonstrated the spasmogenic and vasodilator activity of Gervão in several small animal studies. More recently, other researchers demonstrated it's anthelmintic and lavacidal properties in a small in vitro study in 1990. In 1998, the anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of Gervão were demonstrated in vivo in rats and researchers concluded that the antiinflammatory properties seems to be due, at least partly, to the inhibition of bradyknin and histamine. Another research group studied the effects of a Gervão extract with mice and found that it protected against ulcers, concluding that: "Whatever the mechanisms involved, the present data confirm the plant's effectiveness as antiacid/antiulcer and laxative." It's effectiveness as an antidiarrhoeic has also been clinically documented substantiating its traditional uses for diarrhea and dysentery in herbal medicine.

Bahamas Abortifacient, Asthma, Bronchitis, Chest-Cold, Emetic, Itch, Puerperium, Skin, Sore, Vermifuge
Brazil Cathartic, Dropsy, Dysentery, Emetic, Emmenagogueue, Erysipelas, Sore, Stomach, Tea, Tumor, Venereal, Vermifuge
Elsewhere Abortifacient, Ache(Head) Alopecia, Boil, Bruise, Cardiac, Diarrhea, Dropsy, Dysentery, Dysmenorrhea, Emmenagogueue, Erysipelas, Fever, Inflammation, Liver Disease, Poison, Pressor, Rheumatism, Sore, Sprain, Stomach, Venereal, Vermifuge
Ghana Cataract, Sore
Haiti Cathartic, Dropsy, Emetic, Emmenagogueue, Erysipelas, Nerve, Sedative, Sore, Stomachic, Tumor, Vermifuge
India Abortifacient, Dysentery, Fever, Inflammation, Rheumatism, Ulcers(skin)
Jamaica Emmenagogue, Intestinal Worms
Malaya Abortive, Malaria, Rhinosis, Sore
Mexico Amenorrhea, Anodyne, Gonorrhea, Nerve, Sudorific, Syphilis, Yellow-Fever
Samoa Boil, Nausea, Rhinitis, Sore
South America Antifertility, Anthelmintic, Emmenagogue, Vermifuge
Trinidad Boil, Cough, Depurative, Eczema, Fever, Flu, Lactagogue, Purgative, Rash, Rectitis, Stomach, Vermifuge, Vitiligo
West Indies Anthelmintic, Childbirth, Dysmenorrhea, Emmenagogue, Lactagogue, Parasites, Vermifuge, Worms,


The above text has been quoted from the book, Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest

Quoted References

10. "Stachytarpheta cayennensis (Rich). Vahl. Verbenaceae. "Ocollucuy sacha", "Sacha verbena". The stems and leaves are soaked in some water, squeezed and mixed, the greenish extract drunk, one glass a day, for three consecutive months for diabetes (AYA). UHV natives use the plant in medicine for their dogs (RAF). "Créoles" use the leaf tea as a cholagogue purgative for dysentery. "Wayãpi" and "Palikur" use the plant decoction in baths to relieve colds and headaches (GMJ). Venezuelans have used it for tumors, Dominicans as a panacea, and Trinidadians as a collyrium and depurative in chest colds, dysentery, fever, heart attacks, ophthalmia and worms (DAW)."

Raintree Nutrition offers Gervão by the ounce and the pound
and is an ingredient in several Amazon Support Formulas
including Anti-Parasite Support and Digestion Support.

Clinical Abstracts

Antiinflammatory and antinociceptive activities of extracts and isolated compounds from Stachytarpheta cayennensis.
Schapoval EE, Vargas MR, Chaves CG, Bridi R, Zuanazzi JA, Henriques AT
Faculdade de Farmacia, Pos-Graduacao em Ciencias Farmaceuticas-UFRGS, Porto Alegre, (RS), Brazil.
Ethnopharmacol 1998 Feb;60(1):53-9
The alcoholic and n-butanolic extracts of dried leaves of Stachytarpheta cayennensis (L.C. Rich) Vahl (Verbenaceae) was assessed in antiinflammatory and antinociceptive models. Intraperitoneal pretreatment with the dried extracts at doses ranging from 100 to 200 mg/kg, significantly inhibited carrageenin inducing edema formation. The active extracts were then fractionated and monitored with the same bioassay. The iridoid ipolamiide and the phenylethanoid glycoside acteoside were isolated from the active fraction and showed inhibitory effect on histamine and bradykinin induced contractions of guinea-pig ileum. The compounds also showed in vivo antiinflammatory activity when administered orally to rats mainly in the fourth hour after the administration of the phlogistic agent (70.22% and 93.99%, respectively). These results indicate that S. cayennensis shows antiinflammatory properties which seems to be due, at least partly, to the inhibition of bradyknin and histamine. The extracts also exhibited antinociceptive activity measured by the hot-plate test both i.p. and p.o. in doses ranging from 100 to 300 mg/kg.

Inhibition of gastric acid secretion by the aqueous extract and purified extracts of Stachytarpheta cayennensis.
Vela SM, Souccar C, Lima-Landman MT, Lapa AJ
Department of Pharmacology, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Planta Med 1997 Feb;63(1):36-39
Stachytarpheta cayennensis Schauer (Verbenaceae) is used in folk medicine to treat gastric and intestinal disturbances. The freeze-dried aqueous extract of the whole plant tested to rodents up to the dose of 2 g kg-1, p.o., did not produce signs of toxicity. The extract (0.5-2 g kg-1, p.o.) increased the intestinal motility and protected mice against ulcers induced by restraintin-cold, ethanol or indomethacin. Injected into the duodenal lumen the extract inhibited the basal acid secretion as well as that induced by histamine and bethanecol in pylorus-ligated mice. Partition of the aqueous extract in organic solvents yielded semipurified fractions whose antiacid activity guided further chemical purification. All the fractions were chromatographically characterized, the main substances in the active extract being flavonoids and amines; some substances were revealed only under UV light. The most purified active fraction obtained presented a specific activity 5-10 times higher than that detected in the original extract. Data from pharmacological studies indicate that the antiulcer activity of S. cayennensis is related to a specific inhibition of gastric acid secretion. Cholinergic and histaminergic stimulation of acid secretion were similarly reduced by the extracts suggesting inhibition of common steps in both pathways, possibly at the level of histamine release/H2 receptor interaction, or at the proton pump. Whatever the mechanisms involved, the present data confirm the plant effectiveness as antiacid/antiulcer and laxative.

Pharmacological and chemical evaluation of stachytarpheta jamaicensis.
[Article in Spanish]
Melita Rodriguez S, Castro O
Universidad de Panama, Facultad de Medicina, Departamento de Farmacologia, Panama.
Rev Biol Trop 1996 Aug;44(2A):353-359
After intraperitoneal administration of gradual aqueous doses obtained from Stachytarpheta jamaicensis leaves, the following effects were observed in rats: a reduction of motor activity and the alarm reaction, ataxia, sedation, analgesia, anesthesia, ptosis, piloerection, head tremors and a significant reduction of body temperature of about 8.4 degrees C. Robichaud's sign was present, probably due to some muscular relaxation. There were appreciable changes on respiration, with increment on amplitudes and reduction on the frequency, followed by apnea and the death of the animals, probably due to asphysia. Iridoid ipolamiide and the phenylpropanoid glycoside, verbascoside, were identified from the same extracts. Both metabolites have been indicated with potential pharmaceuticals properties in accord with ethnobotanical value attributed to this plant.

Analysis of antidiarrhoeic effect of plants used in popular medicine.
Almeida CE, Karnikowski MG, Foleto R, Baldisserotto B
Departamento de Fisiologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brasil.
Rev Saude Publica 1995 Dec;29(6):428-433
People customarily use the extracts of plants known to have antidiarrhoeal effects without any scientific base to explain the action of the extract. For this reason, an investigation was undertaken with a view to determining the efficacy of the effects of the brute aqueous extract (BAE) of the leaves of Psidium guajava (guava), Stachytarpheta cayenensis (bastard vervain), Polygonum punctatum (water smartweed), Eugenia uniflora (Brazil or Surinam cherry) and Aster squamatus (ze-da-silva) on the intestinal transport of water in rats and on the gastrointestinal propulsion in mice. With the exception of the BAE of S. cayenensis, all other BAE's have increased the absorption of water in one or more intestinal portion in relation to the control group. All tested BAE, except that of P. punctatum, reduced the gastrointestinal propulsion in relation to that of the control group. The results indicate that the BAE of the leaves of P. guajava, S. cayenensis, P. punctatum, E. uniflora and A. squamatus have a potential antidiarrhoeic effect to be confirmed by additional investigations in animals infected with enteropathogenic agents.

Tapping an Amazonian plethora: four medicinal plants of Marajo Island, Para (Brazil).
Hammer ML, Johns EA
Christ Church, Oxford, UK.
J Ethnopharmacol 1993 Sep;40(1):53-75
This study focused its attention on four medicinal plants (Carapa guianensis, Elephantopus scaber, Piper umbellatum, Stachytarpheta cayenensis) used by Caboclo communities on Marajo, the main island of the Amazon delta. In the field, interviews were conducted with Caboclos and the medicinal usages and preparation procedures of the four plants were recorded. In the laboratory, the plant extracts were subjected to bioassays and their crude chemical composition was established. All four plants showed significant bioactivity and the chemical tests confirmed the presence of bioactive compounds. In addition, the results of both the field and laboratory studies corresponded well with those of a literature search. The ethnopharmacological significance of the four plants is discussed.

Inactivation of strongyloides stercoralis filariform larvae in vitro by six Jamaican plant extracts and three commercial anthelmintics.
West Indian Med J 1990 Dec;39(4):213-217
Robinson RD, Williams LA, Lindo JF, Terry SI, Mansingh A
Department of Zoology, U.W.I., Jamaica.
In vitro bioassay of (a) aqueous methanol extracts (AME) of the green leaves of mimosa (Mimosa pudica), love weed (Cuscuta americana), vervine (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis), chicken weed (Salvia serotina) and breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis); (b) methanol-water fraction (MWF) of breadfruit leaves, and (c) commercially available drugs albendazole, thiabendazole and levamisole were assayed for nematode inactivating potential, using filariform larvae of Strongyloides stercoralis. Test larvae were obtained from a 10-day-old charcoal coproculture. Bioassays were conducted in Locke's solution, using 100 larvae in each of three replicates. Inactivation was recorded microscopically at 1, 3, 6 and 12 hours, then every 24 hours up to 5 days' incubation. It50 (time for inactivation of 50% of larvae) values read: levamisole and mimosa extract less than 1 hour; love weed extract, approximately 2 hours; breadfruit (MWF), 9.5 hours; chicken weed, 20 hours;albendazole, 35 hours; breadfruit (AME), 49 hours; thiabendazole, 74 hours and vervine extract, 81.5 hours. It95 values followed a similar, trend, and were approximately double the It50 measures. A potential role for locally available natural products in the treatment of strongyloidiasis is highlighted.

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