TCM essential oil shows promise in treating anxiety and depression

Researchers from Hebei Medical University in China discovered a potential remedy for anxiety and depression in SuHeXiang, an essential oil extracted from the oriental sweetgum (Liquidambar orientalis Mill).  This finding, which was published in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, was discovered through in vivo experiments involving mice with stress-induced depression.

  • Depression is a mental health condition associated with high mortality risk and suicide rates.
  • Treatments for this disease are limited by their slow action, poor response rates, and potential drug resistance. Understanding the pathology of depression is the key to treating these diseases.
  • Based on previous studies, depression is caused by a hyperactive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and increased inflammation. These conditions damage the blood vessels and promote blood clot formation.
  • Natural products have great potential as alternatives to conventional medications because of their neuroprotective effects.
  • SuHeXiang is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for seizures, loss of consciousness, and stroke. It exhibits significant neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s and it can also regulate gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is important for brain functions.
  • In this study, the researchers administered SuHeXiang to mice with stress-induced depression through inhalation for either 10 or 30 minutes. They then subjected the mice to different tests including tail suspension, forced swimming, sucrose preference, open field, and novelty suppressed feeding to observe anxiety and depression-like behaviors.
  • The authors of the study also evaluated the serum profile of the mice.

Overall, the researchers observed that SuHeXiang inhalation significantly reversed the depressive and anxiety-like behaviors and improved the serum profiles of the mice. From these, it can be determined that SuHeXiang has potential use as a natural remedy for depression and other stress-induced health conditions

Read the full text of the study at this link.

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Journal Reference:

Liang M, Du Y, Li W, Yin X, Yang N, Qie A, Lebaron TW, Zhang J, Chen H, Shi H. SUHEXIANG ESSENTIAL OIL INHALATION PRODUCES ANTIDEPRESSANT- AND ANXIOLYTIC-LIKE EFFECTS IN ADULT MICE. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 2018;41(7). DOI: 10.1248/bpb.b18-00082

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