Fight stress with this ancient Chinese herb

A study has shown that the Chinese herb XingPiJieYu (XPJY) helps mitigate the effects of chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) and alleviates depression-like symptoms in animal models. To test this, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing examined sixty rats with CUS and found that rats given XingPiJieYu performed faster in the Morris Water Maze test. Rats given the herbal medicine also fared better in a spatial exploration test.

Study data also revealed that the medicinal herb helped improve the signaling pathway in the hippocampus. The medicinal herb also appeared to inhibit weight loss in rats, the researchers added. “It indicated both sertraline and XPJY can achieve improvement with regards to rats’ memory capability, while the efficacy of the XPJY 1.4g group was more significant. Th[ese] results show XPJY increased the ability of spatial learning memory better than sertraline. The experimental results are consistent with actual situation[s]. The primary findings of the present study show that CUS causes cognitive decline and depression-like symptoms whereas XPJY showed ameliorating potential against detrimental effect[s] of CUS,” the researchers wrote.

The finding were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Drug-based treatment may do more harm than good

The researchers pointed out that drug-based treatment can lead to various adverse health conditions. According to researchers, certain medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were associated with increased odds of developing a plethora of adverse health conditions.

For instance, a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry found that SSRIs were tied to a nearly five-fold increased risk of suicide among elderly patients with depression aged 66 years and older. The risk was seen during the first month of therapy compared with other antidepressant treatments, researchers said. Another study demonstrated that antidepressants may negatively impact bone health. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Osteoporosis  showed that the use of SSRIs resulted in lower bone mineral density in patients with depression. These results suggest that clinicians should consider giving bone density tests to people taking the medication, the study authors concluded.

The treatment was also tied to a significantly increased risk of mania among patients, according to a study published in BMJ Open. “Although our findings do not demonstrate any causal link between antidepressant therapy and bipolar disorder, the association of antidepressant therapy with mania in people being treated for depression reinforces the importance of considering risk factors for mania or hypomania in people who present with an episode of depression,” the researchers said.

Data on major depression among adults

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that more than 300 million people around the world suffer from depression. Depression is also recognized as the leading cause of disability worldwide. In fact, the disease is associated with 3.7 percent of all disability-adjusted life years and up to 8.3 percent of all years lived with disability in American adults. The disease also appears to be more prevalent in women compared with men, according to the WHO data.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is one of the most common mental health issue in the U.S. A 2012 Healthline survey confirmed this, showing that the disease affects one in 10 Americans. The poll also revealed that more than 80 percent of people showing depressive symptoms do not receive specific treatment. The number of patients diagnosed with the mental illness increased by about 20 percent per year, survey data showed.

The survey also revealed that depression is more prevalent in seven U.S. states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas and West Virginia as well Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. Survey data shows that recently divorced and unemployed individuals are at an increased risk of developing depression.

Sources include:

comments powered by Disqus