The use of medicinal plants in the treatment of mental disorders: An overview

Nwobodo N. N., R. O. Offiah


It has been known from the ancient times, spanning hundreds of years of recorded and unrecorded history, that people have used different methods and procedures in treatment of different psychiatric disorders and very often these were medicinal preparations from plants. Numerous scientific discoveries and advent of industrial age gave a big boost to drug development and significantly improved quality of life for psychiatric patients during the last century. Nevertheless, after huge success, joy and relief, evidence has shown that quest for natural medicines faced a lot of disappointment, leading to a poor attitude that resulted to some natural drugs unnecessarily thrown out. On the other hand, there are a huge number of patients that use natural medicinal plants in self-treatment of different psychiatric disorders. It is reported that herbal medicines are used in treating a broad range of psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive, affective, bipolar maniac-depressive, psychotic, phobic and somatoform disorders. Currently, there is insufficient clinical evidence for the use of many herbal medicines in psychiatric disorders.  Significant and urgent research are required to address current issues in herbal psychotherapy such as herbal safety, future areas of application, the relationship of herbal medicine with pharmaceuticals and the potential prescriptive integration of phytomedicines with synthetic psychotropic medicines.


Drug-herb interaction, herbal medicine, medicinal plants, mental disorder, phytomedicine and phytotherapy

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