Herbal and Dietary Supplements

Herbal and Dietary Supplements

A variety of studies have exposed the increase in use of complementary and alternative medicine over the last decade, with greater use in individuals with symptoms of anxiety, depression Liu et al (2015). The increase of use is associated with their low coast, easy to access and simple instructions. Health care professionals should do more research in this area and have a collaborative approach to improve health by minimizing risks and maximize benefits in mentally ill patients.


According to Rivers, Xing, & Narayanapillai (2016) Kava has been used by patients experiencing mild to moderate anxiety with success who reported its effect ranging from peaceful relaxation to sedation. Its mechanism of action is inhibiting the cytochrome P450 enzyme. It’s important to take caution when using kava not restrict medicines metabolized in the liver and alcohol because cytochrome P450 is inhibit therefore altering potency of other medications. Kava is an extract of Piper methysticum roots which are crushed into a powder and rehydrated into the kava beverage.

Hypericum perforatum

Commonly known as St. John Wart (SJW), traditional Chinese medicine recommended the use of this popular supplement in treatment of depression disorders. A Systematic review by Apaydin et al (2016) was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of SJW in adults with depression compared to placebo and effects vary by severity of Major Depressive Disorder. The supplement was effective in depressed patients with less or no side effects at all as compared to use of Selective Serotonin reuptake Inhibitors.

Depression disorder has shown evidence of heterogeneity and gap in research on this area hence evidence on this herbal supplements cannot be quantified particular in severe depression. Research and data support on herbal psychopharmacology is the best way to promote evidence based practice on herbal supplements.


Apaydin, E. A., Maher, A. R., Shanman, R., Booth, M. S., Miles, J. N., Sorbero, M. E., &            Hempel, S. (2016). A systematic review of St. John’s wort for major depressive       disorder. Systematic reviews5(1), 148.

Liu, L., Liu, C., Wang, Y., Wang, P., Li, Y., & Li, B. (2015). Herbal medicine for anxiety,           depression and insomnia. Current neuropharmacology13(4), 481-493.

Rivers, Z., Xing, C., & Narayanapillai, S. (2016). Kava as a pharmacotherapy of anxiety disorders: promises and concerns. Medicinal Chemistry6, 81-87.