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TCM helps postpartum depression

Posted: 25 Jul 2015 06:33 PM PDT

CM News – A Chinese medicinal decoction has been found to help alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression, according to a new Beijing study.

Postpartum depression is a serious postpartum psychological mood disorder that affects both mothers and their children. The majority of mothers with postpartum depression are often reluctant to seek treatment because of the risk of medication adversely affecting the infant via breastfeeding.

What is postpartum depression?

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, postpartum depression is depression that may start during pregnancy or at any time up to a year after the birth of a child.

Depression is a mental illness that affects a person's mood—the way a person feels. Mood impacts the way people think about themselves, relate to others, and interact with the world around them. This is more than a 'bad day' or 'feeling blue.' Without supports and treatment, depression can last for a long time.

Signs of depression include feeling sad, worthless, hopeless, guilty, or anxious a lot of the time. Some feel irritable or angry. People lose interest in things they used to enjoy and may withdraw from others. Depression can make it hard to focus on tasks and remember information. It can be hard to concentrate, learn new things, or make decisions. Depression can change the way people eat and sleep, and many people experience physical health problems.

A mother or father with postpartum depression may not enjoy the baby and have frequent thoughts that they're a bad parent. They may also have scary thoughts around harming themselves or their baby.

The recently published article in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment indicates that scientists have been looking for alternative treatment for postpartum depressive mothers that may alleviate the symptoms of depression with the least side effects for both mother and baby.

dangshen 黨參

dangshen 黨參

The researchers tested the effectiveness of TCM decoction formula Shen-Qi-Jie-Yu-Fang (SJ Fang 解鬱方) on rats.  The SJ Fang decoction used in this study contained:

  • Radix astragali (huangqi 黄芪)  20 g
  • Codonopsis pilosula (dangshen) 12 g
  • fried Semen Ziziphi spinosae (chao suanzaoren 炒酸枣仁) 15 g
  • Fructus corni (shanzhuyu 山茱萸) 15 g
  • Radix curcumae (yujin 鬱金) 15 g
  • Pericarpium citri reticulatae (chenpi 陳皮) 10 g
  • Citrus chirocarpus (fo shou 佛手) 10 g
  • Angelica sinensis (danggui 當歸) 10 g

The researchers say SJ Fang is a herbal preparation used in traditional Chinese medicine, and is a potentially important new therapeutic agent in postpartum depression . SJ Fang has been previously demonstrated to have effect on hormone receptors and monoamine neurotransmitters involved in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axes in postpartum depressive rats. In this study, the researchers explored the effects of SJ Fang on the immune organs and subsets of T lymphocytes in postpartum depressive rats.

In the study, postpartum depression was created in rats by inducing hormone-simulated pregnancy followed by hormone withdrawal. After hormone withdrawal, the postpartum depressive rats were then treated with fluoxetine at 1, 2, and 4 weeks, and the SJ Fang rats were also treated at 1, 2, and 4 weeks.

The results show that SJ Fang has an antidepressant effect on the immune system in rats with postpartum depression.

[Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2015 Jun 25;11:1523-40]


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CM News - A Chinese medicinal decoction has been found to help alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression, according to a new Beijing study. Postpartum depression is a serious postpartum psychological mood disorder that affects both mothers and their children. The majority of mothers with postpartum depression are often reluctant to seek treatment because of the risk

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