Depression is a highly prevalent and recurrent mental disorder that impacts all aspects of human life. Undesirable effects of the antidepressant drugs led to the development of complementary and alternative therapies. Gan-Mai-Da-Zao-Tang (甘麥大棗湯 gān mài dà zǎo tang) is a traditional herbal formula commonly used for the treatment of depression, but lack of scientific proof on its mechanism. It consisted of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch. (licorice), Triticum aestivum L. (wheat) and Zizphus jujuba Mill. (jujube). The objective of this study is to investigate the antidepressant effects of Gan-Mai-Dazao-Tang and its ingredients in rats exposed to forced swimming test (FST). The 72 of male Nerl: Wistar rats (8 weeks old) were randomized into control (10 mL/kg bw H2O), licorice (0.4 g/kg bw), wheat (1.6 g/kg bw), jujube (0.5 g/kg bw), Gan-Mai-Da-Zao-Tang (2.5 g/kg bw of licorice: wheat: jujube in ratio of 5:20:6) and Prozac (18 mg/kg bw) groups. Samples were administered by oral gavage for 21 days. FST was performed on 21st day, with 15 min for pretest followed by 5 min for real test. Then, the animals were sacrificed and brain tissues were collected for monoamines analyses. The Gan-Mai-Da-Zao-Tang (LWJ) showed significantly down-regulation of immobility time, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and DOPAC/dopamine (DA) turnover rates, and also enhanced the concentration of serotonin (5-HT) and DA in brain tissues, as compared with the control. The LWJ stated the potent antidepressant-like effect by modulating these monoamines concentration, while the licorice, wheat and jujube did not reported significant results as compared with control group. The positive control (Prozac) was noted with significantly reduction in body weight and appetite. In conclusion, the antidepressant-like effects of LWJ might be mediated by the regulation of monoamine neurotransmitters. Thus, it could beneficial in depression treatment as a complementary approach.
Huang, H. L., Lim, S. L., Lu, K. H., & Sheen, L. Y. (2018). Antidepressant-like effects of Gan-Mai-Dazao-Tang via monoamine regulatory pathways on forced swimming test in rats. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 8(1), 53–59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.01.007