Major depression is a common long-lasting or recurrent psychiatric disease with high lifetime prevalence and high incidence of suicide. It is the second leading cause of morbidity and also leads to suicide. Depression has a cluster of distinguishable symptoms, including psychological, behavioral, and physical changes that are seen due to alterations in monoamines, i.e., norepinephrine and serotonin levels in the brain and excessive cortisol secretion. Literature survey shows that polyherbal formulation containing herbs such as Withania somnifera, Convolvulus pluricaulis, Nardostachys jatamansi, Valeriana wallichii, Myristica fragrans, Ziziphus mauritania and Crocus sativus possess antidepressant, antioxidative activity, antianxiety activity, hypnotic activity (Sleep). The present study was designed to investigate the antidepressant potential of this combination of these herbs as a polyherbal formulation in chronic unpredictable mild stress. Chronic exposure to different stress over a period of 6 weeks leads to a decrease in monoamines neurotransmitters levels, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine level. Oxidative dysfunction (increased lipid peroxidation, nitrite level decreased activity of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and reduced glutathione level), increased plasma corticosterone level and MAO-A level, increased immobility, memory impairment as compared to the normal group. The treatment with marketed formulation for six weeks significantly improved behavior alteration, oxidative damage, antioxidant enzyme activity, decreased corticosterone, MAO-A enzyme as compared to CUMS group and showed equivalent effect with other herbal standards. The present study result suggests that the marketed polyherbal formulation was able to reduce the stress-induced depressive symptoms in mice and could provide a rationale for their therapeutic management for major depression.
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