Botanical anxiolytics, antidepressants and hypnotics


Sarris, Jerome


The treatment of mood and anxiety disorders with botanical medicine goes back to antiquity, with various cultures applying energetic models such as humoral medicine or traditional Chinese medicine models to prescribe a range of plant-based medicines. Until recently, understanding of depression and anxiety was rudimentary, with such conditions classified broadly as 'melancholia' or 'hysteria'. In present times, use of herbal medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is prevalent among sufferers of mood and anxiety disorders. Data from a nationally representative sample of 2055 people interviewed during 1997-1998 revealed that 57% of those with anxiety attacks and 54% of those with severe depression reported using CAM therapies during the previous 12 months to treat their disorder. Twenty percent of the sample with anxiety and 19% of those with severe depression visited a CAM practitioner for treatment during the year. Interviews of 82 psychiatric North American inpatients hospitalized for acute care for various psychiatric disorders revealed that 63% had used one or more CAM modalities within the previous 12 months. The most frequently used CAM intervention was herbal medicine, with 44% using the therapy during the previous 12 months. Most did not discuss this use with their medical practitioner.

Publication year


Publication type

Book chapter


Advances in natural medicines, nutraceuticals and neurocognition / Con Stough and Andrew Scholey (eds.), Chapter 14, pp. 289-308


CRC Press




Copyright © 2013 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.