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Clinically proven herbs for every day mental health challenges.

Optimal mental health status is the result of many interacting factors. Patients often refer to dysphoric symptoms as depression, anxiety, stress, memory loss, insomnia, fatigue or poor concentration.

Using specifically clinicallyproven herbal medicines gives you reliable, reproducible clinical results which are so critical in mood disorders such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), anxiety and depression.

The following discusses specific herbal medicines which provide such results.

Depressive and anxiety symptoms

Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) represents a valid natural treatment option for depression and anxiety symptoms. St. John's wort (SJW) has been shown to inhibit the re-uptake of the monoamines serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine with similar potencies and also appears to influence the dopamine reward pathways. (1-2)


Special extract of SJW, Remotiv[R] (Ze 117), has been specifically clinically proven for the relief of mild anxiety and during times of stress. A recent (2009) long term study demonstrated continued safety and increasing improvement in efficacy of Ze 117 in treating mild to moderate depression over long periods of time (1 year). (3)

A key advantage for herbalists is that Remotiv has proven batch-to-batch consistency and negligible levels of hyperforin, the main active constituent in SJW responsible for drug interactions. As such Remotiv has been shown not to interact with the pharmacokinetics of the low dose oral contraceptive pill. (4)

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations may trigger psychological symptoms. This is particularly relevant in women, where the hormonal factor plays an important role. PMS has been linked to various hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle and symptoms are thought to be related to high prolactin levels. (5)

Premular[R] (Ze 440), a specific extract of Vitex agnuscastus (Chasteberry), has demonstrated dopamine agonistic action. Dopamine agonists inhibit production of prolactin; therefore Premular leads to reduced prolactin production.

In clinical trials, (6,7) Premular was significantly (p<0.001) better than placebo in reducing PMS symptoms such as irritability, anger and headache. Premular and Remotiv are often prescribed together to address the broader range of psychological symptoms in PMDD.

Menopausal symptoms such as sweats and flushing are often the cause or co-cause of anxiety and other mood disturbances in menopausal patients.

Femular[R] (Ze 450), a specific ethanolic extract of Cimicifuga racemosa (Black cohosh), has been specifically clinically proven (8-9) to significantly reduce menopausal symptoms. On 1 tablet daily for 12 weeks, 45% of women were symptom-free.

Femular is very well tolerated and effective with over 11 million doses administered worldwide. (10) In an observational study of 541 women taking Femular for relief of menopausal symptoms, no relapse or aggravation of the underlying condition was reported in patients with a history of liver problems. (9) In fact, after 4 months, 77.1% of the physicians and 75.5% of the patients rated the efficacy of the Femular as good or very good.


The quality of sleep can deeply influence mood and cognitive abilities. ReDormin[R] (Ze 91019) contains specific extracts of Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) and Humulus lupulus (Hops). ReDormin is specifically clinicallyproven (11-15) to be effective and suitable as a first line therapy for patients suffering from insomnia.

References: (1.) Nathan, P. Mol Psychiatry 1999; 4(4):333-338. (2.) Nathan, P. J Psychopharmacol 2001; 15(1):47-54. (3.) Brattstrom AJ. Phymed 2009; 16:277-283. (4.) Will-Shahab L., et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2009; 65:287-294. (5.) Wardle J. 2010 'Dysmenorrhoea and menstrual complaints' in Sarris J. & Wardle J. (Eds), Clinical Naturopathy: An evidence-based guide to practice, Churchill Livingstone, Sydney. (6.) Schellenberg R., et al. BMJ 2001; 322:134-137. (7.) Berger D., et al. Arch Gynecol Obstet 2000; 264:150-153. (8.) Saller R., Menopause: Proven Herbal Alternatives 11.05.2005; Press Club Munich. (9.) Lopatka L., et al. Journal for Menopause 2007; 2:1-7. (10.) Periodic Safety Update Report for Ze 450, September 2009, Max Zeller Sohne AG. (11.) Schmitz M. & Jackel M. Wien Med Wochenschr 1998; 148(13):291-8. (12.) Koetter U., et al. Sleep 2002 Abstract Supplement Vol 25; O62C. (13.) Koetter U., et al. Phytother Res 2007; 21(9):847-851. (14.) Fussel A., et al Eur J Med Res 2000; 5:385-390. 15. Lataster MJ. & Brattstrom AJ. Notabene Medici 1996; 6:182-5.

Michelle Boyd, Naturopath, Herbalist, Lecturer and head of practitioner education at Flordis, focuses on specifically clinically proven herbal options for dysphoric symptoms.
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Author:Boyd, Michelle
Publication:Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Article Type:Report
Date:Sep 22, 2011
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