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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.

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          Most cited references 123

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat
                Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat
                Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
                Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6328
                1178-2021
                2016
                20 September 2016
                : 12
                : 2387-2402
                Affiliations
                Laboratory of Ethnopharmacology, Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Yang Wang; Chun-hu Zhang, Laboratory of Ethnopharmacology, Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, 87 Xiangya Road, Changsha, Hunan 410008, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 731 8432 7122, Fax +86 731 8432 8386, Email wangyang_xy87@ 123456163.com ; zchu77@ 123456yeah.net
                Article
                ndt-12-2387
                10.2147/NDT.S114560
                5036551
                © 2016 Feng et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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