Morinda officinalis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Mornida officinalis is a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. The plant is classified as part of the Mordina group of plants, which are flowering plants belonging to the Rubiaceae (bedstraw) family. The plant is cultivated specifically for its medicinal effects and it is used widely in nutritional supplements for the treatment of various conditions including stress. The herb is known to have effects on the central nervous system and may have mood elevating effects. In one study researchers administered Mornida officinalis to rats who were evaluated in the single prolonged stress model. This model was designed as a way of assessing post traumatic stress disorder. The results of the study showed that Mornida officinalis extract was significantly effective at reducing the anxious behaviour in the rats, and was able to cause favourable changes in the hippocampus and amygdala of the animals. These results suggest that Mornida officinalis it may be a useful treatment for post traumatic stress disorder. 

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Qiu, Z. K., Liu, C. H., Gao, Z. W., He, J. L., Liu, X., Wei, Q. L. and Chen, J. S. 2016. The inulin-type oligosaccharides extract from morinda officinalis, a traditional Chinese herb, ameliorated behavioral deficits in an animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder. Metabolic brain disease. 31(5): 1143-1149
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Elettaria cardamomum For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Elettaria cardamomum is a herbaceous plant that is part of the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family of plants. Common names for Elettaria cardamomum include green cardamom and true cardamon. The plant is grown as a crop in many parts of Asia where the seeds are used in cuisine. Evidence suggests that Elettaria cardamomum seeds may have medicinal effects and may be a useful treatment for mood disorders. For example, in one study researchers investigated the effects of Elettaria cardamomum seed extract on an animal model of post traumatic stress disorder, a rare form of anxiety. The results of the study showed that the Elettaria cardamomum seed extracts were significantly effective at reducing the anxiety-like behaviour in the rats, and that these effects were more pronounced at the 400 mg/kg dose, compared to the 200 and 800 mg/kg dose. Therefore Elettaria cardamomum may have significant anxiolytic effects and these effects may depend on the dose administered. As Elettaria cardamomum is a food, it is considered safe. 

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Masoumi-Ardakani, Y., Mahmoudvand, H., Mirzaei, A., Esmaeilpour, K., Ghazvini, H., Khalifeh, S. and Sepehri, G. 2017. The effect of Elettaria cardamomum extract on anxiety-like behavior in a rat model of post-traumatic stress disorder. Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy. 87: 489-495
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Milk Thistle Versus Fluoxetine for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Milk thistle (Silybum marianun) is a herb that has a number of useful therapeutic effects. One of these effects is its use in the treatment of mood disorders. Milk thistle has been investigated for its effects against obsessive compulsive disorder, a form of anxiety, in direct comparison to the mainstream pharmaceutical drug fluoxetine. In one study researcher administered milk thistle extract (600 mg per day) or fluoxetine (30 mg per day) for 8 weeks to patients with anxiety. The results of the study showed that there was no statistical difference between the effects of fluoxetine and milk thistle. Both treatments were equally effective in slowly reducing the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder in the subjects over the 8 weeks. These results support her studies that show significant improvements in the symptoms of anxiety in subjects taking milk thistle. It has been speculated that the antioxidants within milk thistle confer neuroprotective effects and it is this that allows it to be an effective treatment for anxiety. 

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Sayyah, M., Boostani, H., Pakseresht, S. and Malayeri, A. 2010. Comparison of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. with fluoxetine in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 34(2): 362-365
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Withania: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a form of anxiety characterised by obsessive and repetitive behaviour that often centres around trivial activities that disrupt the person’s normal daily schedule. The cause of obsessive compulsive disorder is not fully understood, but it is thought that trauma or stress is a pivotal factor in its development. Treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder is difficult, but a number of plant extracts have been shown to have beneficial effects. Withania somnifera (Ashwagnadha) is one herbal treatment that has been shown to be effective against multiple forms of anxiety including obsessive compulsive disorder. In one study researchers administered 9 grams of withania powder to subjects with obsessive compulsive disorder. The results of the study showed that the patient’s symptoms were significantly improved by the withania extract. It is thought that withania is effective at treating anxiety because it can reduce stress and provide neuroprotective effects to the brain. 

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Saini, N. 2018. A clinical trial for the efficacy of Ashwagandha powder in obsessive-compulsive disorder. 2(2): ID 188
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Benincasa hispida (Winter Melon): Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Benincasa hispida is a plant from the Cucurbitaceae family. Common names for Benincasa hispida include hairy melon, winter melon, wax-ground, ash pumpkin and white pumpkin. The plant grows native to parts of Asian, where it is used as a natural remedy for various ailments. Extracts of the plant are known to contain a number of beneficial phytochemicals including triterpenes, phenolics, various glycosides, and sterols. It is through that many of the phytochemicals confer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the consumer. A number of studies have shown that the juice from Benincasa hispida may have significant anti-anxiety effects. It has been suggested that Benincasa hispida may be a useful treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder, a form of anxiety, due to evidence that in animal models Benincasa hispida was significantly able to reduce compulsive behaviour in mice. However, these results have never been demonstrated in humans (because no one has performed the study). 

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Ayati, Z., Sarris, J., Chang, D., Emami, S.A. and Rahimi, R., 2020. Herbal medicines and phytochemicals for obsessive–compulsive disorder. Phytotherapy Research. https:// doi.org/ 10.1002/ptr.6656
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Ashwagandha for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Anxiety is notoriously difficult to treat and the success rates of treatments with pharmaceutical drugs are low. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a herbal treatment for anxiety. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a form of anxiety, and a number of studies have therefore evaluated the effects of ashwagandha as a treatment for this disorder. For example, in one study researchers investigated the effects of ashwagandha in patients by administering either 480 mg per day of the extract, or a placebo. All patients were currently undergoing treatment through the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs. The results of the study showed that the ashwagandha was significantly more effective at reducing symptoms compared to the placebo following six weeks. In addition, the patients reported no adverse effects from the ashwagandha, suggesting that it was both effective and safe. These results support other studies that have shown that ashwagandha is an effective treatment for various forms of anxiety. 

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Jahanbakhsh, S.P., Manteghi, A.A., Emami, S.A., Mahyari, S., Gholampour, B., Mohammadpour, A.H. and Sahebkar, A., 2016. Evaluation of the efficacy of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) root extract in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 27: 25-29
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Valerian Root for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Valerian (Valerian officinalis) is a flowering plant with white or pink flowers. The phytochemicals contained within valerian have been shown to be beneficial at conferring protection from mood disorders, particularly anxiety. The chemicals within valerian which may be responsible for its medicinal effects are valepotriates which may activate the GABA A receptor, and isovalerate which has been shown to be an agonist of the adenosine A1 receptor. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a form of anxiety that may respond to valerian root extracts. For example, in one study, researchers administered valerian root extract to patients with obsessive compulsive disorder. Each subject received 765 mg of extract per day for 8 weeks or a placebo. The results of the study showed that the valerian extract had significant effects at reducing some of the characteristics of obsessive compulsive disorder. Further, there were no differences in the side effects seen between the valerian group and the placebo group. 

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Pakseresht, S., Boostani, H. and Sayyah, M. 2011. Extract of valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L.) vs. placebo in treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: a randomized double-blind study. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine. 8
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Nutritional Supplements for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a form of anxiety characterised by obsessive behaviour. A number of supplements have been investigated as possible treatments for this disorder, and many have been found to be beneficial. Here is a list of some of the supplements that may be helpful to sufferers. Many of these substances are either antioxidants, balance neurotransmitter levels, or are neuroprotective. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D may be neuroprotective and may be able to influence the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain. Evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with a wide range of physical and mental problems. Vitamin D is effective against obsessive compulsive disorder. 

Vitamin B12 and folic acid

Vitamin B12 and folic acid are both involved in methylation reactions and one-carbon cycling. These reactions are involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and also are required to maintain low levels of homocysteine. Homocystine may cause neurodegeneration and could be a cause of mental illness. 

Minerals

A number of minerals play a significant role in preventing obsessive compulsive disorder, including selenium and zinc. This may relate to the ability of these minerals to increase tissue levels of antioxidant enzyme systems.  

N-acetyl cysteine

N-acetyl cysteine may be effective at preventing obsessive compulsive disorder because it is able to be converted to cysteine in the liver and then used to make glutathione, which is needed for cellular antioxidant defences. 

Glycine

The amino acid glycine is thought to aid in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder because it antagonises the NMDA receptor in glutaminergic neurones. 

Myoinositol

Myoinositol is an isomer of glucose that has a long history of use in psychological disorders. Dietary sources include grains, nuts and fruit but it can also be synthesised endogenously. It is essential for secondary messenger systems and membrane phospholipids and may be vital in neuronal communication. 

St John’s Wort

St John’s wort is a known treatment for anxiety and may aid with the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder because it is able to balance levels of neurotransmitters in the brain through various mechanisms including reuptake inhibition, neuroendocrine modulation, increased sensitisation and binding to receptors (e.g., 5-HT). 

Milk thistle

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a herb that contains the flavonoid complex called silymarin. Evidence shows that milk thistle is a significant upregulation of cellular enzyme systems.

Valerian root

Valerian is a herbal treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder that may work through upregulation of the GABA neurotransmitter system. 

Curcumin

Curcimin is a constituent of turmeric that has significant antioxidant effects in animals. Curcumin significantly reduces the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, probably through its antioxidant effects. 

Borage 

Borage is a plant with a long history of therapeutic benefits. Borage has anxiolytic and sedative effects and this may relate to the phytochemicals it contains. Borage taken for 4 to 6 weeks was significantly beneficial at reducing the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. 

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Karcı, C. K. and Celik, G. G. 2020. Nutritional and herbal supplements in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. General Psychiatry. 33(2)
Posted in Anxiety, Borage (Echium amoenum), Curcumin, Depression, Folate, L-glycine, Milk Thistle, Mood, Myoinositol, N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), Selenium, St John's Wort, Valerian, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Zinc | Comments Off on Nutritional Supplements for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Bacopa Monnieri: Main Chemical Constituents and Effects

Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) is an adaptogenic herb used in traditional Indian medicine. The plant is a complex mixture of chemicals which includes the alkaloid herpestine, brahmin, stigmasterol, and a group of terpenoid glycosides called bacopasides. The plant also contains the triterpenoid saponins including bacopaside I, bacopaside II, bacopasaponsin C, and bacopasaponsin D. The phytochemicals within Bacopa monnieri are responsible for its pharmacological activity which includes significant anxiolytic effects. Some studies have found that the anxiolytic effects of the herb are comparable to that of the pharmaceutical drug lorazepam. In addition, the herb is known to provide a significant cognitive benefit and may be a useful treatment in age related memory decline. Overall the herb has a neuroprotective effect, which suggests that the phytochemicals may be providing significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the brain, may be modulating second messengers systems, or may be affecting neurotransmitter metabolism. 

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Akbar, S. 2020. Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst.(Plantaginaceae). In Handbook of 200 Medicinal Plants (pp. 401-412). Springer, Cham.
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Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): Two Supplements in One?

Conjugated linoleic acid is a group of isomers of linoleic acid. It is thought that the two most metabolically active of these isomers are cis9, trans11 and trans10, cis12. It is becoming clear that these isomers may have quite different metabolic effects. In one study researchers fed rats a high fat diet to induce detrimental metabolic changes, and then they were subsequently fed either  cis9, trans11 or trans10, cis12 conjugated linoleic acid. The results of the study showed that cis9, trans11 conjugated linoleic acid reduced mitochondrial efficiency and oxidative stress and increased levels of palmitoylethanolamide and oleylethanolamide (two signal molecules), whereas trans10, cis12 preferentially decrease inflammation through activation of the PPARα/AMPK/pAKT signaling pathway. This supports evidence from other studies that conjugated linoleic acid isomers have differential effects on animals, and that these effects appear to be beneficial with respect to the cis9, trans11 and trans10, cis12 isomers. 

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Trinchese, G., Cavaliere, G., Cimmino, F., Catapano, A., Carta, G., Pirozzi, C., Murru, E., Lama, A., Meli, R., Bergamo, P., Banni, S. and Mollica, M. P. 2020. Decreased Metabolic Flexibility in Skeletal Muscle of Rat Fed with a High-Fat Diet Is Recovered by Individual CLA Isomer Supplementation via Converging Protective Mechanisms. Cells. 9(4): 823
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