Schinus molle: Anxiolytic Herb

Schinus molle is an evergreen shrub that is commonly called American pepper, false pepper, the peppercorn tree or California pepper. The tree is native to parts of Peru, and is recognisable because of the pinnate leaves and dark red fruits that is produces. Studies have evaluated the medicinal effects of Schinus molle, and have found that it may be useful in the treatment of a number of conditions. In one study, researchers investigated leaf extracts of Schinus molle in an animal model of depression. In mice, the antidepressant effects of Schinus molle were comparable to the pharmaceutical antidepressant drug fluoxetine. The researchers observed evidence to show that the extracts of Schinus molle may have been having their antidepressant effect via interaction with the serotonergic, dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurotransmitter systems. Schinus molle may therefore be an effective herbal treatment for depression, and may have effects that are similar to those of antidepressant drugs. 

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Machado, D. G., Kaster, M. P., Binfaré, R. W., Dias, M., Santos, A. R., Pizzolatti, M. G., Brighente, I. M. C. and Rodrigues, A. L. S. 2007. Antidepressant-like effect of the extract from leaves of Schinus molle L. in mice: Evidence for the involvement of the monoaminergic system. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 31: 421-428
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Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

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Selenium and Immunity

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Rutin as an Antidepressant

Rutin is a glycoside of the flavonoid quercetin. Evidence suggests that it may have mood elevating effects in animals and humans. For example, in one study, researchers administered a rutin extract taken from the evergreen plant Schinus molle to mice. The results of the study showed that the rutin extract conferred significant antidepressant effects on the mice. The researchers concluded that rutin was likely responsible for the anti-depressant effects seen in the plant extract, and that its effects may be exerted on the serotonergic system. Therefore extracts of Schinus molle, if they are standardised for rutin, may be effective treatments for mood disorders. One reason that rutin may be able to affect the serotonergic system, is because this system, particularly in the hippocampus, can become dysfunctional as a result of the free radical cascades that form following exposure to stress. Rutin, being an antioxidant, may prevent these cascades and alleviate this damage, and thus allow the serotonergic neurones to function correctly. 

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Machado, D. G., Bettio, L. E., Cunha, M. P., Santos, A. R., Pizzolatti, M. G., Brighente, I. M. and Rodrigues, A. L. S. 2008. Antidepressant-like effect of rutin isolated from the ethanolic extract from Schinus molle L. in mice: evidence for the involvement of the serotonergic and noradrenergic systems. European Journal of Pharmacology. 587(1-3): 163-168
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Some Thoughts on Gluten Free Foods

Gluten free foods have become fashionable in recent years. Many people who are not coeliacs consume gluten free foods under the false impression that they can offer health benefits. For coeliacs gluten free foods are beneficial because the gluten in wheat causes damage to their intestines. However, for a healthy individual, gluten poses no threat whatsoever. Further, by their very nature, gluten free foods are wheat based products, or products containing wheat, with the gluten removed. As most people already consume too much wheat it is contentious as to whether they should be consumed as a fashion statement. Gluten free foods are also generally processed and this makes the de facto unhealthy food choices. In reality, even coeliacs could be better off avoiding wheat all together and concentrating their diets towards the consumptions of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are gluten free food choices and consuming them as a cornerstone to a diet negates the need to consider wheat altogether. 

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Chrysin Reduces Brain Inflammation

Chrysin is a flavonoid that belongs to the flavone subgroup of flavonoids. Evidence suggests that chrysin, like many other flavonoids, is protective against mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. The underlying mechanisms that cause anxiety and depression includes the development of inflammation, secondary to an external stressor. Chronic stress causes chronic inflammation, and this can lead to deterioration in the normal physiological function of the brain. Evidence suggests that chrysin is an anti-inflammatory compound and may prevent the brain injury associated with inflammation. This may explain the mood elevating effects of the flavonoids. In one study researchers administered chrysin to laboratory rats and then induced inflammation in the brains of the animals. The chrysin was significantly effective at reducing the inflammation, and this prevented some of the symptoms associated with brain inflammation including memory impairment and depressive-like behaviour. 

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Rashno, M., Ghaderi, S., Nesari, A., Khorsandi, L., Farbood, Y. and Sarkaki, A. 2020. Chrysin attenuates traumatic brain injury-induced recognition memory decline, and anxiety/depression-like behaviors in rats: Insights into underlying mechanisms. Psychopharmacology. 1-13
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Cannabinoids as Anxiolytic Agents

Phytochemicals from the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa) have been evidenced to have mood elevating effects. Survey data from studies suggests that cannabis may have anxiolytic properties, and these data are supported by experimental animal studies that show anxiolytic effects for cannabis extracts. Cannabidiol is one of the phytochemical found within the cannabis plant and evidence suggests that this may be partly responsible for the anxiolytic effects seen from cannabis. For example, in one study researchers administered cannabidiol to human subjects with Parkinson’s disease in order to assess the effects of the compound on anxiety. The subjects took 300 mg a day for 15 days and then the effects were observed. The researchers observed a significant reduction in anxious feeling in the treatment subjects compared to the placebo group as well as a significant reduction in anxiety related tremor amplitude. Therefore cannabidiol may be an effective anxiolytic agent in humans. 

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de Faria, S. M., de Morais Fabrício, D., Tumas, V., Castro, P. C., Ponti, M. A., Hallak, J. E.,  Zuardi, A. W., Crippa, J. A. S. and Chagas, M. H. N. 2020. Effects of acute cannabidiol administration on anxiety and tremors induced by a Simulated Public Speaking Test in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 0269881119895536
Van Ameringen, M., Zhang, J., Patterson, B. and Turna, J. 2020. The role of cannabis in treating anxiety: an update. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 33(1): 1-7
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Rutin for Anxiety

Flavonoids have been shown to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in humans and animals. Rutin is a glycoside of the flavonoid quercetin (quercetin-3-O-rutinoside). This means that it is a quercetin molecule bound to a sugar molecule. Rutin is found in many plants and is a naturally occuring compound. Most fruits and vegetables contain reasonable amounts of rutin, and it is one of the most abundant flavonoids in these foods. Administration of rutin to healthy mice has been shown to decrease the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and therefore by decreasing the enzyme rutin may be able to increase brain level of acetylcholine. In animals that have been exposed to treatment to induce anxiety, rutin is able to ameliorate these negative effects and thus can be considered to have an anti-anxiety effect. It is likely that these effects are due to metabolites of rutin, as it is unlikely to be able to enter the bloodstream of animals intact without modification. 

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Anesti, M., Stavropoulou, N., Atsopardi, K., Lamari, F. N., Panagopoulos, N. T. and Margarity, M. 2020. Effect of rutin on anxiety-like behavior and activity of acetylcholinesterase isoforms in specific brain regions of pentylenetetrazol-treated mice. Epilepsy and Behavior. 102: 106632
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Seasonal Variations In phytochemistry

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Bacopa monnieri Neuroprotection

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