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Positive Preliminary Study of Herbals for Anxiety

In a brief clinical trial researchers discovered a traditional extract of Kava, a medicinal plant from the South Pacific, was safe and effective in reducing anxiety.

Researchers say this is the first clinical trial to find that a water-soluble extract of Kava was effective in treating anxiety and improving mood. The Kava was prescribed in the form of tablets.

Lead researcher Jerome Sarris, a Ph.D candidate from University of Queensland’s School of Medicine, said the placebo-controlled study found Kava to be an effective and safe treatment option for people with chronic anxiety and varying levels of depression.

“We’ve been able to show that Kava offers a natural alternative for the treatment of anxiety, and unlike some pharmaceutical options, has less risk of dependency and less potential of side effects,” Mr. Sarris said.

Each week participants were given a clinical assessment as well as a self-rating questionnaire to measure their anxiety and depression levels. The researchers found anxiety levels decreased dramatically for participants taking five tablets of Kava per day as opposed to the placebo group which took dummy pills.

“We also found that Kava had a positive impact on reducing depression levels, something which had not been tested before,” Mr. Sarris said. In 2002 Kava was banned in Europe, UK and Canada due to concerns over liver toxicity.

While the three-week trial raised no major health concerns regarding the Kava extract used, the researchers said larger studies were required to confirm the drug’s safety.

“When extracted in the appropriate way, Kava may pose less or no potential liver problems. I hope the results will encourage governments to reconsider the ban,” Mr. Sarris said.

“Ethanol and acetone extracts, which sometimes use the incorrect parts of the Kava, were being sold in Europe. That is not the traditional way of prescribing Kava in the Pacific Islands. Our study used a water-soluble extract from the peeled rootstock of a medicinal cultivar of the plant, which is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia and is currently legal in Australia for medicinal use.”

The University of Queensland study will be published online this week in the journal Psychopharmacology.

Source: Springer

Positive Preliminary Study of Herbals for Anxiety

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Positive Preliminary Study of Herbals for Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/05/12/positive-preliminary-study-of-herbals-for-anxiety/5845.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.