Researchers claim that two herbal anxiety remedies, which have been around for centuries, could work.
The study, published in the Nutrition Journal on October 7, found “strong evidence” that kava and passionflower extract can be used to relieve anxiety symptoms.
An analysis of 24 studies involving more than 2,000 participants also showed that amino acids L-Iysine and L-arginine could be useful in combating mental health issues.
They are two of the 20 “building blocks” of proteins, and studies on animals have linked them to the brain’s nerve system, which affects stress and anxiety.
But results showed that St John’s Wort, a herbal medicine used to relieve depression, and magnesium supplements were ineffective.
Out of the studies examined in the review, 21 were random controlled tests which met high scientific standards, while 15 of these registered positive effects from either a herbal or a nutritional treatment, with up to moderate side effects.
Study leader Shaheen Lakhan, from the Global Neuroscience Initiative foundation, a non-profit charitable research organisation based in Los Angeles, said: “Our review and summary of the literature on herbal remedies and dietary supplements for anxiety should aid mental health practitioners in advising their patients and provide insight for future research in this field.
“We found mixed results – while passionflower or kava and L-lysine and L-arginine appeared to be effective, St John’s Wort and magnesium supplements were not.”
Copyright Press Association 2010