Bogbean leaf – ESCOP Herbal Monograph 2013

Menyanthidis trifoliatae folium
Published 2013
Price:   €20
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The monograph selects and summarises scientific studies and textbooks on bogbean leaf, including efficacy, dosage, contra-indications and safety relevant to the therapeutic uses. This herbal drug by definition consists of the dried, entire or fragmented leaves of Menyanthes trifoliata L. The main characteristic constituents are secoiridoid glycosides, iridoid glycosides and various flavonols. Bogbean leaf has a long history of medicinal use as a bitter and cholagogue. The therapeutic indications are loss of appetite, peptic discomfort and gall bladder disorders. Posology & methods of administration are addressed in the monograph, as well as duration of use, potential interaction with other medicines, use in pregnancy & lactation, undesirable effects and overdose. In vitro experiments indicate antibacterial activity and aqueous extracts have shown immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects. In vivo experiments with bogbean leaf in animals have demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity, with reduced expression of the Nrf-2 factor in mice. Pharmacokinetic studies, after oral administration in animals, indicated constituent levels in kidney tissue and the stomach. Preclinical safety data of bogbean leaf extracts were evaluated in the Ames mutagenicity test. The selection of literature cited in the monograph is aimed at bringing together relevant information about the possible physiological roles of bogbean leaf and its major constituents. Examples are given below.


  • Menyanthes trifoliata L.
  • Menyanthidis trifoliatae folium
  • Bogbean Leaf
  • Appetite, loss of; peptic discomfort; gall bladder disorders


– Brantner A, Grein E. Antibacterial activity of plant extracts used externally in traditional medicine. J Ethnopharmacol 1994;44:35-40.
– Hänsel R, ‎Sticher O, ‎Steinegger E. Bitterklee. In: Pharmakognosie – Phytopharmazie, 6th ed. Springer -Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 1999:455-6.
– Jonsdottir G, Omarsdottir S, Vikingsson A, Hardardottir I, Freysdottir J. Aqueous extracts from Menyanthes trifoliata and Achillea millefolium affect maturation of human dendritic cells and their activation of allogeneic CD4+ cells in vitro. J Ethnopharmacol 2011;136:88-93. doi:101016/j.jep.2011.04.006
– Junior P. Weitere Untersuchungen zur Verteilung und Struktur der Bitterstoffe von Menyanthes trifoliata. Planta Med 1989;55:81-6.
– Park SK, Kim BH, Chang I-M. Inhibitory potencies of several iridoids on cyclooxygenase-1, cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme activities, tumour necrosis factor and nitric oxide production in vitro. eCAM 2010;7:41-45. doi :10.1093/ecam/nem129
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