Stachys lavandulifolia (Iron Wort): Anxiety Treatment?

weight lossStachys is a large genus of flowering plants in the Lamiaceae (mint) family of plants. Stachys plants are distributed throughout Europe, Asia Africa, Australasia and North America and are known by a number of names including hedgenettle, heal-all, self-heal, woundwort and lamb’s ear. Stachys lavandulifolia is characterised by its purple flowers, and is used as a traditional medicine in a number of countries including the Middle East. Evidence suggests that Stachys lavandulifolia has significant effects on the central nervous system and may be able to elevate mood. For example, in one study, researcher administered Stachys lavandulifolia to mice and then exposed them to experimental stress. The results of the study showed that the Stachys extracts significantly reduced the anxious behaviour of the mice and also prolonged the ability of ketamine to induce sleep in the animals. Therefore Stachys lavandulifolia may have specific effects on the central nervous system that include an anxiolytic and sedative effects.

In another study. researchers administered various Stachys lavandulifolia extracts to mice and exposed them to experimental stress. Petroleum, hydroalcohol, aqueous and ethyl acetate extracts of Stachys lavandulifolia caused significant decreases in the anxious behaviour of the mice, but the butanol extract did not. This suggests that the phytochemicals that are responsible for the anxiolytic effects are not soluble in butanol. The authors concluded that the anxiolytic effects may relate to the presence of flavonoids, phenylpropanoids or terpenoids in the extracts. The tricyclic sesquiterpene spathulenol and bicyclic sesquiterpene caryophyllene oxide are present in extracts of Stachys lavandulifolia. Stachys lavandulifolia also contains an essential oil. Analysis of this oils shows that it contains germacrene-D (13.2%), β-phellandrene (12.7%), β-pinene (10.2%), myrcene (9.4%), α-pinene (8.4%) and Z-β-ocimene (5.8%). Studies suggest that Stachys lavandulifolia has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in animals, and this may explain the traditional mood elevating effects of the plant.

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Rabbani, M., Sajjadi, S. E. and Zarei, H. R. 2003. Anxiolytic effects of Stachys lavandulifolia Vahl on the elevated plus-maze model of anxiety in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 89(2-3): 271-276
Rabbani, M., Sajjadi, S. E. and Jalali, A. 2005. Hydroalcohol extract and fractions of Stachys lavandulifolia vahl: effects on spontaneous motor activity and elevated plus‐maze behaviour. Phytotherapy Research. 19(10): 854-858
Javidnia, K., Mojabb, F. and Mojahedic, S. A. 2004. Chemical Constituents of the Essential Oil of Stachys lavandulifolia Vahl from Iran. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. 3: 61-63
Miyase, T., Yamamoto, R. and Ueno, A. 1996. Phenylethanoid glycosides from Stachys officinalis. Phytochemistry. 43(2): 475-479
Chalchat, J. C., Petrovic, S. D., Maksimovic, Z. A. and Gorunovic, M. S. 2001. Essential oil of Stachys officinalis (L.) Trevis. Lamiaceae from Montenegro. Journal of Essential Oil Research.  13(4): 286-287

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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