Herbal Treatment of Major Depression : Scientific Basis and Practical Use book cover
1st Edition

Herbal Treatment of Major Depression
Scientific Basis and Practical Use

ISBN 9781032087153
Published June 30, 2021 by CRC Press
448 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This unique volume presents new understandings of the neurochemical nature of major depression, and how herbs and their constituent flavonoids and terpenes appear to address some of the mechanisms now thought to be involved. It explores how recent studies of the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine inform neuroscientists about deep intracellular mechanisms of antidepressant action that have little to do with simple enhancement of monoaminergic activity. These mechanisms include actions on PI3K, Akt, mTOR, GSK3, BDNF, and other intracellular pathways. New theories of the pathophysiology underlying major depression, such as oxidative damage, inflammation, stress and insulin resistance are then explored.

Key Features:

  • Focuses on oxidative damage, inflammation, and metabolic syndrome.

  • Explains that a significant percentage of people treated for major depression obtain little if any relief from standard antidepressant medications.

  • These facts lead to discussion of herbs that can be used to treat major depression, as well as consideration of the scientific basis for how these herbs act.

  • The antidepressant properties of 66 herbs are discussed, along with dosing and safety information.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1 Major Depressive Disorder: A brief history of Western medical treatment

2 How antidepressants work, but often do not

3 Clues revealed by ketamine

4 New understanding of the nature and causes of Major Depressive Disorder

4.1 Oxidative and nitrosative damage

4.2 Inflammation

4.3 Chronic Stress

4.4 Insulin resistance

4.5 Metabolic Syndrome

4.6 Summary

5 Phytochemicals: Some basics

5.1 Carbohydrates

5.2 Lipids

5.3 Terpenes

5.4 Phenolics

5.41 Flavonoids

5.42 Non-flavonoid phenolics

5.5 Alkaloids

5.6 Summary

6 Models and paradigms for assessment of antidepressant effects

6.1 Antioxidant Effects

6.2 Anti-inflammatory Effects

6.3 Antidiabetic/Anti-Metabolic Syndrome Effects

6.4 Preclinical antidepressant-like effects

6.4.1 Forced Swim Test

6.4.2 Tail suspension Test

6.4.3 Sucrose Consumption Test

6.4.4 Test Conditions

7 Herbs with antidepressant effects

7.1 Allium sativum (Garlic)

7.2 Angelica sinensis

7.3 Apium graveolens (celery)

7.4 Astragalus membranaceus

7.5 Atractylodes macrocephala

7.6 Avena sativa (common oat)

7.7 Bacopa monnieri

7.8 Borage officinalis (European Borage)

7.9 Bupleurum chinense

7.10 Camellia sinensis (Tea)

7.11 Cannabis

7.12 Cecropia

7.13 Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola)

7.14 Chrysactinia Mexicana

7.15 Cimicifuga racemosa (Black cohosh)

7.16 Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Cinnamon)

7.17 Coffea arabica (Coffee)

7.18 Coriandrum sativum (Coriander)

7.19 Corydalis yanhusuo

7.20 Crocus sativa (Saffron)

7.21 Curcuma longa (Turmeric)

7.22 Cyperus rotundus

7.23 Echium amoenum

7.24 Eleutherococcus senticoccus (Siberian Ginseng)

7.25 Epimedium brevicornum (Horny goat weed)

7.26 Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)

7.27 Ginkgo biloba

7.28 Glycyrrhiza (licorice)

7.29 Hedyosmum Brasiliense

7.30 Hemerocallis citrina (Daylily)

7.31 Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane)

7.32 Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Hibiscus)

7.33 Humulus lupulus (Hops)

7.34 Huperzia serrata

7.35 Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort)

7.36 Ilex paraguariensis (Yerba mate)

7.37 Lavandula (Lavender)

7.38 Ligusticum chuanxiong

7.39 Magnolia officinalis

7.40 Matricaria recutita (Chamomile)

7.41 Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm)

7.42 Mimosa pudica

7.43 Ocimum basilicum (Sweet Basil)

7.44 Origanum vulgare (Oregano)

7.46 Panax ginseng (Ginseng)45 Paeonia lactiflora (Peony)

7.47 Passifloraceae incarnata (Passionflower)

7.48 Piper methysticum (Kava)

7.49 Piper nigrum (Black Pepper)

7.50 Polygala tenuifolia

7.51 Poria cocos

7.52 Psoralea corylifolia

7.53 Rhodiola rosea

7.54 Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)

7.55 Salvia divinorum

7.56 Sceletium tortuosum

7.57 Schisandra chinensis

7.58 Scutellaria lateriflora (Skullcap)

7.59 Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle)

7.60 Theobroma cacao (Chocolate)

7.61 Tilia (Linden)

7.62 Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek)

7.63 Valeriana officinalis (Valerian)

7.64 Verbena officinalis (Vervain)

7.65 Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste tree)

7.66 Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)

8 The antidepressant effects of Yueue, and the herbs of Traditional Chinese Medicine

8.1 Fundamental considerations

8.2 Yueju

8.3 Xiao yao san

8.4 Chai hu shu gan

8.5 Gan mai da zao

8.6 Gui pi

8.7 Shi wei wen dan tang

8.8 Ban xia hou pu

8.9 Chai hu jia long gu mu li

8.10 Tiao qi

8.11 Yi pi

8.12 Tang shen kang

8.13 Kai xin san

8.14 Shu gan jie yu

8.15 Si ni san

8.16 Wu ling

8.17 Other TCM herbs used in the treatment of MDD

8.18 A medical, "Theory of Everything."

9 Flavonoids with preclinical antidepressant-like effects

9.1 Amentoflavone

9.2 Apigenin

9.3 Astilbin

9.4 Baicalein and Baicalin

9.5 Chrysin

9.6 7,8,Dihydroxyflavone

9.7 Fisetin

9.8 Heptomethoxyflavone

9.9 Hesperidin and hesperitin

9.10 Hyperoside

9.11 Icariin

9.12 Isosakurentin-5-O-rutinoside

9.13 Kaempferol

9.14 Liquiritin and Isoliquirtin

9.15 Luteolin

9.16 Miquelianin

9.17 Myricetin

9.18 Naringenin and naringin

9.19 Nobiletin

9.20 Orientin

9.21 Quercetin

9.22 Vitexin

9.23 Wogonin and wogonoside

9.24 Synthetic flavonoids

9.25 Mechanisms of flavonoid antidepressant action

10 Preclinical antidepressant-like effects of terpenes, polyphenolics, and other non-flavonoid phytochemcials

10.1 Amyrins

10.2 Bacopasides

10.3 Berberine

10.4 3-n-Butylphthalide

10.5 Caffeic Acid

10.6 ß-Carotene

10.7 Carvacrol

10.8 ß-Caryophyllene

10.9 Chlorogenic acid

10.10 Crocin

10.11 Curcumin

10.12 3,6'-Disinapoyl sucrose

10.13 Ellagic acid

10.14 Eugenol

10.15 Ferulic acid

10.16 Gallic acid

10.17 Gastrodin

10.18 Genipin

10.19 Ginsenoside Rg1

10.20 Glycyrrhizin

10.21 4-Hydroxyisoleucine

10.22 Hyperfoliatin

10.23 Linalool

10.24 Macranthol

10.25 Methyl jasmonate

10.26 Mitragynine

10.27 Oleanolic acid

10.28 Orcinol

10.29 Paeoniflorin

10.30 Paeonol

10.31 Palmatine

10.32 Plumbagin

10.33 Podoandin

10.34 Punarnavine

10.35 Resveratrol

10.36 Riparin

10.37 Rosmarinic acid

10.38 Safranal

10.39 Salidroside

10.40 Sarsasapogenin

10.41 Scopoletin

10.42 Sulphoraphane

10.43 Tetrandrine

10.44 L-theanine

10.45 Uliginosin B

10.46 Ursolic acid

10.47 Vanillin

11 Choosing herbal treatments

11.1 Efficacy of herbal treatments of MDD

11.2 Herbs for which there is less than compelling evidence of efficacy

11.3 Combinations of Herbs

11.4 Addressing Comorbidities

11.4.1 Anxiety and insomnia

11.4.2 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

11.4.3 Premenstrual and perimenopausal symptoms

11.4.4 Dementia

11.4.5 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

11.4.6 Fatigue, lack of resiliency and General Malaise

11.5 Augmentation of standard antidepressant treatment with herbs.

11.6 Safety

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Currently a practicing psychiatrist in Roseburg, Oregon, the author earned a Ph.D. in Biopsychology at The University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, British Columbia. He then worked for three years as a post-doctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University in the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology under Bruce McEwen, Ph.D. During his doctoral work and as a post-doctoral fellow, he published 24 papers on the subjects of serotonergic and hormonal regulation of sexual behavior, and on the effects of stress on serotonin receptor subtypes in the brain. The author then attended medical school at The University of Illinois, and after graduating in 1996, he did his residency in psychiatry at The University of Virginia. In 2007, Elsevier published his first book, Metabolic Syndrome and Psychiatric Illness: Interactions, pathophysiology, assessment and treatment. In 2009, M. Evans published his second book, Beyond Alzheimer’s: How to avoid the modern epidemic of dementia


Scott Mendelson, MD, PhD, has written a landmark volume in the Clinical Pharmacognosy series on Botanical Medicines for CRC Press. Why is this a landmark book? It thoughtfully reviews theories of the mechanisms of activity for antidepressants, including ketamine, and lays out the evidence for herbal activity through those mechanisms.

. . . .

I highly recommend this book for psychiatrists and other health professionals treating depression. Furthermore, phytopharmaceutical researchers interested in developing new treatments will find valuable ideas to pursue

Richard P. Brown, Review of Herbal Treatment of Major Depression: Scientific Basis and Practical Use, Psychiatric Times, 20th January 2020

Full Review: www.psychiatrictimes.com/film-and-book-reviews/herbal-treatment-major-depression-scientific-basis-and-practical-use