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Plant-Based Medicines for Anxiety Disorders, Part 1

Plant-Based Medicines for Anxiety Disorders, Part 1

  1. NeuroChi
    Research in the area of herbal psychopharmacology
    has revealed a variety of promising medicines that
    may provide benefit in the treatment of general anxiety and
    specific anxiety disorders. However, a comprehensive
    review of plant-based anxiolytics has been absent to date.
    This article (part 1) reviews herbal medicines for which
    only preclinical investigations for anxiolytic activity have
    been performed. In part 2, we review herbal medicines for
    which there have been clinical investigations for anxiolytic
    activity. An open-ended, language-restricted (English)
    search of MEDLINE (PubMed), CINAHL, Scopus and the
    Cochrane Library databases was conducted (up to 28
    October 2012) using specific search criteria to identify
    herbal medicines that have been investigated for anxiolytic
    activity. This search of the literature revealed 1,525 papers,
    from which 53 herbal medicines were included in the full
    review (having at least one study using the whole plant
    extract). Of these plants, 21 had human clinical trial evidence
    (reviewed in part 2), with another 32 having solely
    preclinical studies (reviewed here in part 1). Preclinical
    evidence of anxiolytic activity (without human clinical
    trials) was found for Albizia julibrissin, Sonchus oleraceus,
    Uncaria rhynchophylla, Stachys lavandulifolia, Cecropia
    glazioui, Magnolia spp., Eschscholzia californica, Erythrina
    spp., Annona spp., Rubus brasiliensis, Apocynum
    venetum, Nauclea latifolia, Equisetum arvense, Tilia spp.,
    Securidaca longepedunculata, Achillea millefolium, Leea
    indica, Juncus effusus, Coriandrum sativum, Eurycoma
    longifolia, Turnera diffusa, Euphorbia hirta, Justicia spp.,
    Crocus sativus, Aloysia polystachya, Albies pindrow,
    Casimiroa edulis, Davilla rugosa, Gastrodia elata, Sphaerathus
    indicus, Zizyphus jujuba and Panax ginseng. Common
    mechanisms of action for the majority of botanicals
    reviewed primarily involve GABA, either via direct
    receptor binding or ionic channel or cell membrane modulation;
    GABA transaminase or glutamic acid decarboxylase
    inhibition; a range of monoaminergic effects; and
    potential cannabinoid receptor modulation. Future research
    should focus on conducting human clinical trials on the
    plants reviewed with promising anxiolytic activity.