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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 6596241, 11 pages
Review Article

Therapeutic Effects of Phytochemicals and Medicinal Herbs on Depression

1Department of Physiology, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 26 Kyunghee-daero, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
2Department of Research and Development, National Development Institute of Korean Medicine, 94 Hwarang-ro, Gyeongsan-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 38540, Republic of Korea

Correspondence should be addressed to Hyunsu Bae;

Received 14 December 2016; Revised 22 March 2017; Accepted 4 April 2017; Published 19 April 2017

Academic Editor: Gail B. Mahady

Copyright © 2017 Gihyun Lee and Hyunsu Bae. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Depression is a recurrent, common, and potentially life-threatening psychiatric disease related to multiple assignable causes. Although conventional antidepressant therapy can help relieve symptoms of depression and prevent relapse of the illness, complementary therapies are required due to disadvantage of the current therapy such as adverse effects. Moreover, a number of studies have researched adjunctive therapeutic approaches to improve outcomes for depression patients. Purpose. One potential complementary method with conventional antidepressants involves the use of medicinal herbs and phytochemicals that provide therapeutic benefits. Studies have revealed beneficial effects of medical herbs and phytochemicals on depression and their central nervous system mechanism. Here, we summarize the current knowledge of the therapeutic benefits of phytochemicals and medicinal herbs against depression and describe their detailed mechanisms. Sections. There are two sections, phytochemicals against depression and medical herbs against depression, in this review. Conclusion. Use of phytomedicine may be an alternative option for the treatment of depression in case conventional drugs are not applicable due to their side effects, low effectiveness, or inaccessibility. However, the efficacy and safety of these phytomedicine treatments for depression have to be supported by clinical studies.