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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2014 Aug;48(8):705-15. doi: 10.1177/0004867414539198. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Clinical applications of herbal medicines for anxiety and insomnia; targeting patients with bipolar disorder.

Author information

1
Bipolar Clinic and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA School of Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea.
2
Bipolar Clinic and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA anierenberg@partners.org.
3
Bipolar Clinic and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Patients with bipolar disorder frequently continue to experience residual anxiety and insomnia between mood episodes. In real-world practice, patients increasingly self-prescribe alternative medicines.

METHODS:

We reviewed case reports, open-label, and placebo-controlled trials investigating the use of herbal medicines to treat anxiety and insomnia, and discussed their potential applications for bipolar disorder.

RESULTS:

Eleven herbal medicines that have been studied in human subjects are included in this review. Mechanisms of action, efficacy, side effects, and drug-drug interactions are discussed. Based on currently available evidence, valerian seems to be the most promising candidate for insomnia and anxiety in bipolar disorder.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adjunctive herbal medicines may have the potential to alleviate these symptoms and improve the outcomes of standard treatment, despite limited evidence. Physicians need to have a more in-depth understanding of the evidence of benefits, risks, and drug interactions of alternative treatments.

KEYWORDS:

Herbal medicine; adjunctive treatment; anxiety; bipolar disorder; insomnia

PMID:
24947278
DOI:
10.1177/0004867414539198
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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