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Avens Description - Some Great Medicinal Uses and Benefits of Avens

Taxonomic Class

Rosaceae

Common Trade Names

Few or no commercially prepared products are available in the United States.

Common Forms

Available as a tea and tincture.

Source

The drug is a volatile oil extracted from the dried herb, rhizome, or root of Geum urbanum, a member of the rose family.

Chemical components

The volatile oil primarily contains eugenol, along with gum, resin, and tannins. The roots contain caffeic, chlorogenic, and gallic acids.

Actions

The mechanism for eugenol's anti-inflammatory activity is thought to involve the potent inhibition of cyclooxygenase. Other factors may be involved as well, including inhibition of prostaglandin production.

Reported Uses

Avens is claimed to have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, and tonic properties. In earlier times, avens was used as a treatment for insect bites, plague, and stomach ills. More recently, folk medicine has claimed that the extract is effective in the treatment of chills, chronic hemorrhage, diarrhea, dysentery, gastric irritation, headache, intermittent fever, leukorrhea, sore throat, and wounds. Medical literature does not justify these claims.

Dosage

Various dosages have been used: 1 dram (liquid extract of the herb), % to 1 dram (liquid extract of the root), or 15 to 30 grains as a tonic (powdered herb or root) P.O. t.i.d.

Adverse Reactions

GI: GI bleeding, indigestion.

GU: decreased renal function.

Interactions

Antihypertensives: May antagonize the effects of these drugs. Avoid concomitant use.

Contraindications And Precautions

Avoid using avens in pregnant or breast-feeding patients.

Special considerations

  • Although no known chemical interactions have been reported in clinical studies, consideration must be given to the herbal product's pharmacologic properties and the potential for interference with the intended therapeutic effect of conventional drugs.

  • Advise the patient that little scientific information exists concerning the pharmacologic actions of avens and that other pharmaceutical remedies, such as NSAIDs, have known risks and benefits.

  • Advise the patient who wants to consume avens to report unusual symptoms to his health care provider.

Keep avens away from children and pets.

Points of Interest

Avens has been revered in Europe since the 12th century. Some people believe that it can ward off evil spirits and deter poisonous creatures.

Commentary

In vitro data suggest only potential efficacy as an anti-inflammatory compared with available NSAIDs. Data on safety and randomized, controlled trials evaluating efficacy are needed before use of this drug can be considered.

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