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Herbal Supplements Show Promise for Reducing Anxiety

A large review of over 24 studies recently found evidence that herbal supplements may be effective at reducing anxiety and depression. The review was published in the October 2010 issue of the Nutrition Journal.

The herbal supplements examined in the studies included passionflower, lysine, magnesium, kava and St John's wort. Nearly all of the participants in the studies were diagnosed with anxiety or depression prior to the study.

The researchers found that 71% of the studies showed evidence that the herbal supplements effectively reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. They also found only mild to moderate side effects among participants given the herbal supplements.

Kava was the most researched supplement in the review and 63% of the 11 studies that tested Kava found a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms. Passionflower also received significant supporting evidence for its efficacy in reducing anxiety.

The researchers noted that further studies are necessary to look deeper into the effectiveness of herbal supplements because the placebo effect is oftentimes especially strong among participants with mental disorders.

These findings are still very promising, especially given the fact that current medications for anxiety and depression are often associated with potentially severe side effects.

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