Depression is one of the greatest challenges you might face in recovering from a stroke. In fact, over 31% of stroke patients experience chronic symptoms including lack of interest or energy, feelings of sadness, guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration or difficulty in making decisions. Needless to say, these can really slow down your rehabilitation process.
Typically, doctors will prescribe anti-depressants, but many patients report experiencing side effects like nausea, vomiting, headaches, insomnia, dizziness, and drowsiness. Clearly, these symptoms are not helpful in making progress in your recovery. So, doctors have been searching for more effective ways to treat post-stroke depression.
Learning from the past
For centuries, practitioners of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) have prescribed XiaoYao Formula (XYF), a natural remedy for treating ‘Liver Stagnation and Spleen Deficiency,’ believed to cause depression. Made up of eight herbs and roots, including licorice, ginger, and mint, XYF has more recently captured the attention of Western medicine in treating post-stroke depression.
Less depression = higher function
Researchers from Jiangsu University conducted a meta-analysis based on the results from seven clinical trials. They compared the information from these trials. And, they found that as a result of using XYF, patients reduced their depression scores by 21% over the results achieved with anti-depressants alone. A key benefit to lowering depression symptoms was their improvement in stroke scores. Had the remedy also shown a reduction in the side effects from the anti-depressants, it would have been perfect. However, at least it did not add any new ones.
The Jiangsu University team concluded that the herbal powers of XYF should be taken seriously as a post-stroke depression remedy. That’s good news for the advancement of stroke rehabilitation and your recovery. This remedy clearly deserves further research. In the meantime, talk to your doctor to see if adding XYF could benefit you.
The lead author of this study is Xin Jin, Institute of Molecular Biology and Translational Medicine, the Affiliated People’s Hospital, Jiangsu University, Jiangsu, PR China.