Anxiety: a systematic review of neurobiology, traditional pharmaceuticals and novel alternatives from medicinal plants

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014 Feb;13(1):150-65. doi: 10.2174/18715273113129990102.


Pathologic anxiety is a disproportional reaction of individuals to anticipation or misinterpretation of a potential danger, which affects individual social and personal life. Despite the advances already accomplished, further studies are still necessary in order to understand the mechanisms involved in anxiety. These may provide more effective and safer treatments to aid in the control of anxiety and improve patient quality of life. In this work, we review the current issue about anxiety disorders, covering general aspects such as basic epidemiology and classification, an overview of the pharmacological treatments employed and the current search for natural anxiolytics. Also, a compilation of data investigating the neurobiology that underlies anxiety disorders and a brief discussion evolving the most usual animal experimental models to study anxiety is presented.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anxiety / classification
  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Anxiety / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Neurobiology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Plant Extracts