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Nine traditional Chinese herbal formulas for the treatment of depression: an ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and pharmacology review

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ABSTRACT

Depression is a major mental disorder, and is currently recognized as the second-leading cause of disability worldwide. However, the therapeutic effect of antidepressants remains unsatisfactory. For centuries, Chinese herbal formulas (CHFs) have been widely used in the treatment of depression, achieving better therapeutic effects than placebo and having fewer side effects than conventional antidepressants. Here, we review the ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and pharmacology studies of nine common CHFs: “banxia houpo” decoction, “chaihu shugansan”, “ganmaidazao” decoction, “kaixinsan”, “shuganjieyu” capsules, “sinisan”, “wuling” capsules, “xiaoyaosan”, and “yueju”. Eight clinical trials and seven meta-analyses have supported the theory that CHFs are effective treatments for depression, decreasing Hamilton Depression Scale scores and showing few adverse effects. Evidence from 75 preclinical studies has also elucidated the multitarget and multipathway mechanisms underlying the antidepressant effect of the nine CHFs. Decoctions, capsules, and pills all showed antidepressant effects, ranked in descending order of efficacy. According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, these CHFs have flexible compatibility and mainly act by soothing the liver and relieving depression. This review highlights the effective treatment choices and candidate compounds for patients, practitioners, and researchers in the field of traditional Chinese medicine. In summary, the current evidence supports the efficacy of CHFs in the treatment of depression, but additional large-scale randomized controlled clinical trials and sophisticated pharmacology studies should be performed.

No MeSH data available.


The nine formulas examined in this review.Notes: (A) Banxia houpo decoction; (B) chaihu shugansan; (C) ganmaidazao decoction; (D) kaixinsan; (E) shuganjieyu capsules; (F) sinisan; (G) wuling capsules; (H) xiaoyaosan; (I) yueju.
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f1-ndt-12-2387: The nine formulas examined in this review.Notes: (A) Banxia houpo decoction; (B) chaihu shugansan; (C) ganmaidazao decoction; (D) kaixinsan; (E) shuganjieyu capsules; (F) sinisan; (G) wuling capsules; (H) xiaoyaosan; (I) yueju.

Mentions: The source, TCM effects, and syndromes of the nine most commonly prescribed CHFs for treating depression are provided in Table 1. Photographs of each formula are presented in Figure 1. All correspond to the typical principles of TCM treatment of yuzheng according to their effects and Chinese-syndrome patterns, including soothing the liver, relieving depression, promoting the circulation of chi, and resolving phlegm. Importantly, we found a considerable amount of evidence-based research for most of the CHFs we examined, meaning the results can be used to guide clinical practice and research in related fields.


Nine traditional Chinese herbal formulas for the treatment of depression: an ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and pharmacology review
The nine formulas examined in this review.Notes: (A) Banxia houpo decoction; (B) chaihu shugansan; (C) ganmaidazao decoction; (D) kaixinsan; (E) shuganjieyu capsules; (F) sinisan; (G) wuling capsules; (H) xiaoyaosan; (I) yueju.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5036551&req=5

f1-ndt-12-2387: The nine formulas examined in this review.Notes: (A) Banxia houpo decoction; (B) chaihu shugansan; (C) ganmaidazao decoction; (D) kaixinsan; (E) shuganjieyu capsules; (F) sinisan; (G) wuling capsules; (H) xiaoyaosan; (I) yueju.
Mentions: The source, TCM effects, and syndromes of the nine most commonly prescribed CHFs for treating depression are provided in Table 1. Photographs of each formula are presented in Figure 1. All correspond to the typical principles of TCM treatment of yuzheng according to their effects and Chinese-syndrome patterns, including soothing the liver, relieving depression, promoting the circulation of chi, and resolving phlegm. Importantly, we found a considerable amount of evidence-based research for most of the CHFs we examined, meaning the results can be used to guide clinical practice and research in related fields.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Depression is a major mental disorder, and is currently recognized as the second-leading cause of disability worldwide. However, the therapeutic effect of antidepressants remains unsatisfactory. For centuries, Chinese herbal formulas (CHFs) have been widely used in the treatment of depression, achieving better therapeutic effects than placebo and having fewer side effects than conventional antidepressants. Here, we review the ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and pharmacology studies of nine common CHFs: “banxia houpo” decoction, “chaihu shugansan”, “ganmaidazao” decoction, “kaixinsan”, “shuganjieyu” capsules, “sinisan”, “wuling” capsules, “xiaoyaosan”, and “yueju”. Eight clinical trials and seven meta-analyses have supported the theory that CHFs are effective treatments for depression, decreasing Hamilton Depression Scale scores and showing few adverse effects. Evidence from 75 preclinical studies has also elucidated the multitarget and multipathway mechanisms underlying the antidepressant effect of the nine CHFs. Decoctions, capsules, and pills all showed antidepressant effects, ranked in descending order of efficacy. According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, these CHFs have flexible compatibility and mainly act by soothing the liver and relieving depression. This review highlights the effective treatment choices and candidate compounds for patients, practitioners, and researchers in the field of traditional Chinese medicine. In summary, the current evidence supports the efficacy of CHFs in the treatment of depression, but additional large-scale randomized controlled clinical trials and sophisticated pharmacology studies should be performed.

No MeSH data available.