- Field bindweed
For Patients & Caregivers
How It Works
Leaf extract of Convolvulis arvensis, also known as field bindweed, may stop the growth of new blood vessels. However, research is very limited and it has not been studied in humans.
Field bindweed is an invasive weed found in many parts of the world. It has been used in traditional medicine, and extracts from the leaves are sold as dietary supplements.
Lab studies suggest that these extracts may stimulate the immune system and stop the growth of new blood vessels. A few animal studies suggest it may also reduce tumor size in mice. However clinical trials have not been conducted, so whether this effect could occur in humans is not known. In addition, there could be adverse effects. For instance, because these extracts may affect the growth of new blood vessels, they may also interfere with wound healing.
To stop blood vessel growth and shrink tumors
Lab studies in mice and chicken eggs suggest that bindweed extracts may stop blood vessel growth. In mice, this caused tumors to stop growing. However, this effect has not been tested in humans.
To stimulate the immune system
One small study in rabbits suggests that field bindweed extract stimulates some immune system cells; another lab study showed it may affect white blood cell growth. Studies have not been conducted in humans.
To lower high blood pressure
Field bindweed has been used in traditional medicine to lower high blood pressure, but no studies have been conducted in humans.
As a laxative
Field bindweed has been used in traditional medicine as a laxative. No scientific evidence supports this use.
Do Not Take If
- You use drugs that inhibit blood vessel growth, such as bevacizumab: Field bindweed extract may increase the risk of adverse effects.
- You have a wound or injury that is healing: Field bindweed extracts may interfere with wound healing.
- You are pregnant, or you are a child or adolescent: Field bindweed extracts may prevent blood vessel growth, which is needed for fetal and child development.
For Healthcare Professionals
Convolvulis arvensis, commonly known as field bindweed, is a plant that belongs to the morning glory family. It is a perennial vine with white to pink flowers that can be found in temperate regions. C. arvensis is considered a noxious weed in US farmlands due to its invasive nature, but has historical use as a medicinal plant in Europe for hypertension and as a laxative (1), and in traditional Chinese medicine for relief of itching, pain, and toothache (2). The leaf extract is marketed as a dietary supplement to support vascular health by restricting new blood vessel growth. Related products are also promoted as a natural cancer treatment.
In vitro and animal studies show that water extracts from the plant’s aerial parts are rich in proteoglycans and have antiangiogenic and immune-stimulating effects (3) (4) (5) (6). Other studies found that these constituents also increased vasodilation and circulatory function, and lowered blood pressure in animals (7). Alkaloids from raw field bindweed are toxic to animals (8) (9), but dietary supplements are alkaloid-free.
Due to its ability to inhibit new blood vessel growth, C. arvensis should not be used before and after surgery. Infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant women should also avoid this product.
Mechanism of Action
Water extract from the aerial parts of C. arvensis is thought to be rich in proteoglycans. It exerts immunostimulatory effects in animals by increasing total leukocyte and lymphocyte counts as well as increasing serum lysosome activity (4). The lipophilic glycoside constituents have cytotoxic effects in human tumor cell lines (5). Tumor growth inhibition with a high molecular weight extract of C. arvensis was dose-dependent and attributed to its ability to inhibit blood vessel growth (8).
Other animal studies show that tropane alkaloids from C. arvensis have antimuscarinic activity, slowing gastrointestinal motility. This may increase absorption of toxins, leading to intestinal fibrosis gastritis and/or hepatitis (8).
Antiangiogenic agents (eg, bevacizumab): Theoretically, because leaf extracts of C. arvensis have antiangiogenic activities (8), it may increase the risk of adverse effects when used with these medications.