Prevalence of Use of Herbal Medicines and Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Europe
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In recent years, anxiety and depression became two major health problems for younger active population (25–45 years old) in Europe. Consecutively, the demand for herbal drugs has increased considerably as a safer alternative or complementary therapy to conventional medicine. After carefully examining the available literature with particular attention to herbal medicines used in Europe for anxiety and depression, we tried to summarize the bioactive compounds, in vitro and in vivo proven pharmacological activities, indications, and side effects of Hypericum perforatum, Verbena officinalis, Tilia sp., Ocimum basilicum, Melissa officinalis, and Valeriana officinalis. This selection comprises most common used plants both in modern and folk medicines by Europeans, to treat nervousness, disturbance of sleep, and similar psychological problems. Therefore, this chapter provides sufficient baseline information about some of the common herbal medicines used in European traditional and modern therapy for depression and anxiety that could be used by specialists in the medical and pharmaceutical field.