Traditional Research | Tension ReLeaf Compound

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)*

As its name suggests, motherwort, or “mother’s herb” has a long history of traditional use for treatment of women’s health issues including Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and menopausal anxiety. In addition to its action as a nervine, it affects the levels of calcium needed for muscular contractions, thus serving to reduce menstrual cramps and other spasmodic muscle conditions (24).

Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)*

Known as Brahmi in Ayurvedic medicine, bacopa has been shown in several clinical studies to be nootropic (improve cognitive functions), especially in the areas of new information retention (25) and the speed at which visual information is processed (26). Studies in elderly patients showed significant improvement in cognitive performance as measured by several standardized test methods (7). In vivo studies demonstrated that bacopa reduced beta-amyloid deposits in an Alzheimer’s Disease model (16).

Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)*

Blue vervain has been shown to be neuroprotective as it slows certain amino acid cleavage activities that occur at the onset of dementia illnesses. It provides protection against beta-amyloid deposits and therefore protects against neuronal loss (15)

Oat (Avena sativa)

For just a few days out of the entire growing season, the oat seed is filled with white “milk” that is high in saponins, flavonoids, and Vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), D and E. This is the stage at which the oat is harvested for use in Tension Re-Leaf™. If not harvested and left to dry, the oat becomes a food source such as oatmeal containing soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Oats have traditionally been excluded from diets for patients with Celiac Disease, as there is a small amount of gluten in the grain. However, numerous clinical studies have shown that oats, either fresh or dried, are well-tolerated by most Celiac patients and that the gluten does not cause changes in symptomology or laboratory results in children or adults, even after long-term consumption (27, 28, 29) .

Polygala (Polygala tenuifolia)

This herb is known as Yuan Zhi in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In vitro and in vivo studies suggest that polygala improves stress-induced memory impairment and decreases the types of neuronal damage that occurs prior to the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, perhaps by inhibiting the secretion of amyloid beta-protein (30, 31, 32). This data supports the long history of the use of this herb in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine as an anti-dementia treatment.


1. Winston, D. Differential Treatment of Depression and Anxiety with Botanical Medicines, DWCHS, Washington, NJ, 2007.

2. Anxiety Disorders. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH publication no. 06-3879.

3. Felter, HW and Lloyd, JU. King’s American Dispensatory. Cincinnati: Ohio Valley Company, 1905.

4. Felter, HW and Scudder, JK. The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Cincinnati: Ohio Valley Company, 1922.

5. Winston, D. Winston's Botanic Materia Medica and Therapeutics (Motherwort), DWCHS, Washington, NJ, 2008.

6. Milhowska-Leyck, K, Filipek, B and Strzelecka, H. Pharmcological Effects of Lavandulifolioside from Leonurus cardiaca. J Ethnopharmacol 80(1), pp 85-90, 2002.

7. Calabrese, C, Gregory, WL, Leo, M, et al. Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial. J Altern Complement Med 14(6), pp 707-13, 2008.

8. Chen, JK and Chen TT. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry, CA: Art of Medicine Press, 2004. pp 766-767.

9. Chung, IW, Moore, NA, Oh, WK et al. Behavioural Pharmacology of Polygalasaponins Indicates Potential Antipsychotic Efficacy. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 71(1-2), pp 191-5, 2002.

10. Park, CH, Choi, SH, Koo, JW et al. Novel Cognitive Improving and Neuroprotective Activities of Polygala tenuifolia Willdenow extract, BT-11. J Neurosci Res 70(3), pp 484-92, 2002.

11. Park, HJ, Lee, K, Heo, H et al. Effects of Polygala tenuifolia Root Extract on Proliferation of Neural Stem Cells in the Hippocampal CA1 Region. Phytother Res 2008 Aug 11 [Epub ahead of print].

12. Winston, D. Winston's Botanic Materia Medica and Therapeutics (Oat), DWCHS, Washington, NJ, 2008.

13. Anand, CL. Effect of Avena sativa on Cigarette Smoking. Nature 233(5320), p 496, 1971.

14. Raffalt, GJ and Andersen, B. Treatment of Cigarette Smokers with an Oat Extract. Ugeskr Laeger 137(38), pp 2177-8, 1975.

15. Lai, SW, Yu, MS, Yuen, WH and Change, RC. Novel Neuroprotective Effects of the Aqueous Extracts from Verbena officinalis Linn. Neuropharmacology 50(6), pp 641-50, 2006.

16. Dhanasekaran, M, Tharakan, B, Holcomb, LA, et al. Neuroprotective Mechanisms of Ayurvedic Antidementia Botanical Bacopa monniera. Phytother Res 21(10), pp 965-9, 2007.

17. Russo, A, Izzo, AA, Borrelli, F, et al. Free Radical Scavenging Capacity and Protective Effect of Bacopa monniera L. on DNA Damage. Phytother Res 17(8), pp 870-5, 2003.

18. Kuhn, MA and Winston, D. Herbal Therapy and Supplements: A Scientific and Traditional Approach, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Klower Health, 2008, pp60-63.

19. Anbarasi, K, Vani, G, and Devi, CS. Protective Effect of Bacoside A on Cigarette Smoking-induced Brain Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Rats. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 24(3), pp 225-34, 2005.

20. Masteiková, R, Muselík, J, Bernatoniene, J et al. Antioxidant Activity of Tinctures Prepared from Hawthorn Fruits and Motherwort Herb. Ceska Slov Farm 57(10, pp 35-8, 2008.

21. Ali, MS, Ibrahim, SA, Jalil, S and Choudhary, MI. Ursolic Acid: A Potent Inhibitor of Superoxides Produced in the Cellular System. Phytother Res 21(6), pp 558-61, 2007.

22. Liu, X, Forbes, EE, Ryan, ND et al. Rapid Eye Movement Sleep in Relation to Overweight in Children and Adolescents. Arch Gen Psychiatry 65(8), pp 924-32, 2008.

23. Gais, S, Köster, S, Sprenger, A et al. Sleep is Required for Improving Reaction Times After Training on a Procedural Visuo-motor Task. Neurobiol Learn Mem 2008 Aug 21 [Epub ahead of print].

24. Chen, CX and Kwan, CY. Endothelium-independent Vasorelaxation by Leonurine, A Plant Alkaloid Purified from Chinese Motherwort. Life Sci 68(8), pp 953-60, 2001.

25. Roodenrys, S, Booth, D, Bulzomi, S, et al. Chronic Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on Human Memory. Neurophychopharmacology 27(20), pp 279-81, 2002.

26. Stough, C, Lloyd, J, Clarke, J, et al. The Chronic Effects of an Extract of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) on Cognitive Function in Healthy Human Subjects. Psychopharmacology 156(4), pp 481-4, 2001.

27. Kemppainen, T, Janatuinen, E, Holm, K, et al. No Observed Local Immunological Response at Cell Level After Five Years of Oats in Adult Coeliac Disease. Scand J Gastroenterol 42 (1), pp 54-9, 2007.

28. Holm, K, Mäki, M, Vuolteenaho, N, et al. Oats in the Treatment of Childhood Coeliac Disease: A 2-Year Controlled Trial and a Long-term Clinical Follow-uo Study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 23(10), pp 1463-72, 2006.

29. Kemppainen, TA, Heikkinen, MT, Ristikankare, MK, et al. Unkilned and Large Amounts of Oats in the Coeliac Disease Diet: A Randomized, Controlled Study. Scand J Gastroenterol 43(9), pp 1094-101, 2008.

30. Shin, KY, Won, BY, Heo, C, et al. BT-11 Improves Stress-induced Memory Impairments Through Increment of Glucose Utilization and Total Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule Levels in Rat Brains. J Neurosci Res 2008 Aug 19 [Epub ahead of print].

31. Naito, R and Tohda, C. Characterization of Anti-neurodegenerative Effects of Polygala tenuifolia in Abeta(25-35)-treated Cortical Neurons. Biol Pharm Bull 29 (9), pp 1892-6, 2006.

32. Jia, H, Jiang, Y, Ruan, Y, et al. Tenuigenin Treatment Decreases Secretion of the Alzheimer’s Disease Amyloid Beta-protein in Cultured Cells. Neurosci Lett 367(1), pp123-8, 2004.

Herbal Therapeutics Research Library, David Winston (RH) AHG

©2012 Herbal Therapeutics Research Library. All rights reserved

*Disclaimer: The information on historical, ethnobotanical and phytotherapeutic uses of herbs and traditional formulas contained herein is based on the experience and research of the author. It is not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician or other health care provider. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should be done under the direction of a health care professional. The publisher and author are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any of the information discussed. Should you have any questions concerning the appropriateness of any preparation mentioned, the author strongly suggests consulting a professional health care advisor.