A little bit of herb medicine might just be the key to a new treatment for depression.
Researchers at the University of Michigan, University of Illinois, and the University at Buffalo have developed a novel herbal medicine that has been proven to be effective in treating depression.
The team’s study, published online in Nature Medicine, found that the herbal medicine known as boracic acid, found in herbs such as cilantro, dandelion greens, and chamomile, was effective in reducing depressive symptoms.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
“Boracacic is one of the best-known antidepressant compounds in the world,” said lead author James G. Clements, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
“It has been used for centuries for treating a wide variety of conditions and mood disorders, including depression.
It is the most widely prescribed antidepressant medication in the United States, and its effectiveness has been demonstrated to be superior to placebo.””
The primary goal of this study was to determine whether borucic acid could be effective for the treatment of depression in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, and if this treatment was safe and well tolerated.
The results of this preliminary study suggest that boracetic acid may be an effective antidepressant,” said Dr. Cules.”
We were particularly interested in the role of the antidepressant response to boramic acid in depression because it is the major neurochemical pathway in depression and also a well-established target of anti-depressants,” said study senior author Dr. David G. Stearns, PhD. “This study is the first to show that borbacic could be an antidepressant for depression.””
There is now a whole field of research looking at how to target brain chemicals, especially serotonin, to help treat depression,” said Stears.”
Our research suggests that borracic may be a promising candidate for antidepressants.””
A new class of antidepressant drugs called boracid-like compounds may offer an alternative to current antidepressant treatments,” said Clements.”
In addition to treating depression, bor acid may also provide a way to help people feel better after a depressive episode, as well as preventing symptoms of depression or anxiety.”
The study involved the use of the newly-developed bioactive compound, borbocin, which has been shown to be useful in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Cractes added, “This is a promising avenue for finding treatments for depression in the future.”
“Our study found that borcic acid can effectively reduce depressive symptoms, and we found that it has antidepressant effects as well,” said co-senior author, Dr. Elizabeth A. O’Neill, PhD., an associate professor of pharmacology and pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“That is a really important finding for a lot of people, as depression is associated with many different disorders.”
“We think this is a very exciting development for people with depression,” added Dr. G. Michael Zuber, MD, a neurologist at the U of I School of Pharmacy.
“The idea that boralactones could be used to treat depressive symptoms is really exciting.”
“This study has shown that boroacin has antidepressant properties,” added co-author Dr. J. Andrew Fagan, MD.
“While we know that many antidepressants have side effects, there is still a lot that we don’t know about the effects of these compounds.”
“While it is not yet known if borocin has therapeutic effects for depression, this study suggests that it could potentially be a potential treatment option,” said senior author, J. Peter M. Mennell, PhD (an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic).
“Borbocic has the potential to be a valuable treatment for people who are depressed or who are struggling with a major depressive disorder,” added Mennel.