Study cautions use of herbal remedies for depression and anxiety

A UK study cautions those using herbal remedies for depression and anxiety.

In "Herbal remedies for depression and anxiety," Edzard Ernst notes:

Herbal remedies are used by many people suffering from anxiety or depression. It is therefore important to know whether they generate more good than harm. A systematic review of the published literature revealed trial data for Ginkgo biloba, Lavandula angustifolia, Hypericum perforatum, Valeriana officinalis, Crataegus oxyacantha, Eschscholzia californica, Matricaria recutita, Melissa officinalis, Passiflora incarnate and Piper methysticum. Only two of these herbal remedies are supported by sound evidence: Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) for mild to moderate depression and Piper methysticum (kava) for anxiety. Neither is free of risks. Our knowledge of herbal remedies is incomplete and the subject merits rigorous study.

Edzard Ernst qualified as a physician in Germany, where he was Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) at Hannover Medical School. After a period as Head of the PMR Department at the University of Vienna (Austria) he came to the University of Exeter in 1993 to establish the first Chair in Complementary Medicine. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies (FACT) and founding editor of Perfusion. His work has been awarded 12 scientific prizes/awards and two Visiting Professorships. Professor Ernst served on the Medicines Commission of the British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (1994-2005) and on the Scientific Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products of the Irish Medicines Board. He is currently Director of Complementary Medicine at Peninsula Medical School (Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT).

Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (2007) 13: 312-316. doi: 10.1192/apt.bp.105.001735
© 2007 The Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on holistic, alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The law firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists), entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational organizations, health care institutions, and individuals and corporations.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. Michael H. Cohen is author of books on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy dealing with complementary, alternative and integrative medicine, including Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), and Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C., and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing). For more information, see the FAQs for the Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen. Thank you for visiting the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog.