The Development of Novel Antidepressants: Focus on Plant-based Drugs
Pp. 357-390 (34)
Abir T. El-Alfy
Depression is a world-wide health problem that currently affects
approximately 16% of the population in the United States alone. As one of the most
common psychiatric disorders, it can be quite debilitating, and is certainly a major
financial burden. With current medications suffering from major shortcomings that
include slow onset of action, poor efficacy, and unwanted side effects, the search for
new and improved antidepressants is ever increasing. Many patients may seek
complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) remedies to evade the financial
burden, adverse effects, or because of cultural or religious beliefs. Thus these remedies
offer a valuable resource for the discovery of new and improved antidepressant
medications. This chapter provides an overview of the current knowledge state
regarding a variety of natural products commonly used in depression. Herbal medicines
discussed have been used in clinical trials for the treatment of mild to moderate
depression states include the popular St. John’s wort, saffron, Rhodiola, lavender,
Echium, and the Chinese formula banxia houpu. A comprehensive review of both
clinical and preclinical aspects of each of the reviewed products is provided.
Antidepressant-like action, Banxia houpu, Depression, Echium,
Lavender, Plant constituents, Rhodiola, St. John’s Wort, Saffron.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, Greenville, SC, USA.