Traditional Chinese medicine may reduce severity of PTSD
06/18/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that often occurs after a person witnesses or is involved in a life-threatening event. Currently, antidepressants are the only approved treatment for PTSD, but these drugs are known to be ineffective and harmful to health. In the search for alternative treatments for trauma-associated disorders like PTSD, researchers at Kyung Hee University, Chung-Ang University, and Gachon University in South Korea explored the potential benefit of the oriental medicine called Aralia continentalis; they found that it can reverse the behavioral impairments and inflammation caused by single prolonged stress-derived traumatic stress.

For the study, the researchers evaluated the effect of A. continentalis on the spatial cognitive impairment caused by single prolonged stress in a rat model of PTSD. They first induced chronic stress in rats, then treated them with different doses of A. continentalis for 21 consecutive days. In PTSD, the traumatic experience leads to the development of a prolonged stress response that damages memory function and increases inflammation in the hippocampus.

The results demonstrated that treatment with 100 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of A. continentalis inhibited cognitive impairment caused by single prolonged stress. In addition, it dramatically decreased memory-related reductions in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA and protein levels in the hippocampus. Overall, A. continentalis substantially inhibited the cognitive deficits caused by single prolonged stress, indicating its potential as a treatment for PTSD. The researchers published their findings in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.


In addition to A. continentalis, there are other herbs that can help with PTSD symptoms because of their ability to relieve stress and anxiety and to strengthen the immune system. These include green tea, holy basil, hops, Rhodiola, stinging nettles, and Valerian.

Other benefits of A. continentalis

A. continentalis has been shown to possess pharmacological properties, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-atherosclerotic, and anti-diabetic effects. It may also be used for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis. A study published in the journal Phytomedicine looked at the effects of A. continentalis extract against arthritis in interleukin-1 beta (IL-1?)-stimulated human fibroblast-like synoviocyte cells and rodent models.

In the cell trial, treatment with A. continentalis extract reduced inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory cytokines. In the rodent models, the administration of 200 mg/kg of A. continentalis extract significantly mitigated arthritic behaviors. The anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory activities of 200?mg/kg of A. continentalis extract were comparable to those of 10 mg/kg prednisolone drug when administered to mice.

Other natural ways to reduce PTSD symptoms

Taking care of yourself and developing healthy lifestyle habits can greatly improve the symptoms of PTSD. These healthy lifestyle habits include:

  • Taking time to relax: Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, massage, or yoga can activate the body’s relaxation response and ease symptoms of PTSD.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs: It may be tempting to drink alcohol or take drugs, but these substances would worsen PTSD symptoms and affect your life. It is best to avoid using these.
  • Adhering to a healthy diet: Adding foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts, can help improve PTSD symptoms. This is because omega-3s play an important role in emotional health. In addition, avoid eating processed food, fried food, refined starches, and sugars, because these foods can worsen mood swings and cause fluctuations in your energy.
  • Having a good night's sleep: Getting enough sleep – around seven to nine hours – is also important because the lack of it can trigger anger, irritability, and moodiness.
  • Exercising: In addition to releasing more endorphins and improving mood, exercise can also help your nervous system become "unstuck" and start to move out of the immobilization stress response.

Learn more about other natural treatments for psychiatric conditions like PTSD at

Sources include:

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