Exercise Training and Verbena officinalis L. Affect Pre-Clinical and Histological Parameters


Verbena officinalis L. or vervain is an herbal medicine and dietary supplement used worldwide. It is used for antidepressant and anticonvulsant purposes, as well as to treat inflammatory disorders, skin burns, abrasions, and gastric diseases, among others. Here, we investigated the biochemical, antioxidant, and histopathological effects of vervain against chronic physical stress. Male Wistar rats were submitted to chronic physical training and oral administration of 200 mg/kg of extract for 7 weeks. Control animals were not treated with either stress or vervain. Body weight was monitored during the study. Liver, kidney, spleen, testis, epididymis, heart, skeletal muscle, and brain samples were collected. Blood cholesterol, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), bilirubin, and creatinine kinase (CREA), among others, were studied. Glutathione peroxidase (GPox) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) antioxidant activity was analyzed in the blood, liver, and kidney. Testosterone measurements were also performed on whole testis extracts. We found significant weight ratios differences in the epididymis, brain, and heart. Animals submitted to training showed hemorrhagic livers. Kidney histology was affected by both stress and vervain. Cell disruption and vacuolization were observed in the testes and epididymis of animals submitted to stress. Hematological and biochemical markers as CREA, LDH, TP, CKI, URCA, yGT, and glucose revealed statistically significantly differences. Additionally, the activity of glutathione peroxide (GPox) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in the blood was also impacted. Both stress and vervain have significant in vivo effects. Infusions of vervain include phenylpropanoids, iridoids, verbenalin, hastatoside, and flavonoids, amongst others, which interact synergistically to produce the preclinical effects reported here.



subject category

Plant Sciences


Oliveira, SMR; Dias, E; Girol, AP; Silva, H; Pereira, MD

our authors


This research was funded by Project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007679 (FCT Ref. UID/CTM/50011/2013), UIDB/50011/2020, UIDP/50011/2020, and LA/P/0006/2020, financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC (PIDDAC) and CESAM.

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