A Systematic Review on Herbs Exhibiting Anxiolytic Activity
Mental disorders are very common of which anxiety disorder is the most prevalent one affecting approximately 10- 30% of the general population. Anxiety is a maladaptive emotional state causing fear, worry and excessive stress characterized by physiological arousal, unpleasant tension and feeling of apprehension. DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria classifies anxiety as panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder. This review of literature aims to discuss the anxiolytic potential of some 40 medicinal plants with their botanical name, family, chemical constituents and the anxiolytic properties of those plants had been tested in the animal models. Most of these plants have been found to act through modulation of serotonin, GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), noradrenaline (NA) neurotransmitters. Nowadays herbal medicines are preferred over the allopathic medications because of its adverse effects. It is hoped that an more efficient and effective screening of herbal medicines will help to unveil newer anxiolytic drugs of plant origin with fewer side effects. The review has focused on some of the medicinal plants exhibiting anxiolytic activity. However use of specific medicinal plants for management of specific subtypes of anxiety disorder is yet to be substantiated.