[Research progress of effect of anxiolytic traditional Chinese medicines and formulas on neurotransmitters]

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2020 Jan;45(1):14-19. doi: 10.19540/j.cnki.cjcmm.20190829.402.
[Article in Chinese]


Anxiety disorders are a common mental illness that seriously endangered physical and mental health of human beings. The etiology of anxiety disorders is closely related to the abnormality of monoamines neurotransmitters, amino acids neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. The long-term use of anti-anxiety chemical drugs has some adverse effects, such as constipation, muscle relaxation, lethargy, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. However, traditional Chinese medicines have advantages of multi-component, multi-target coordination, with less adverse reactions. Therefore, it is a promising prospect to develop novel anti-anxiety drugs from traditional Chinese medicines and formulas. This article reviewed some traditional Chinese medicines and formulas that can relieve anxiety symptoms. These include traditional Chinese medicines(Panax ginseng, Lycium ruthenium, Morus alba, Bupleurum plus dragon bone oyster soup, Chailong Jieyu Pills, and Naogongtai Formulas) with the effect on monoamine neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine; traditional Chinese medicines(Rehmannia glutinosa, Ziziphus jujuba Mill. var. spinosa, Jielv Anshen Decoction, Baixiangdan Capsules, Antianxietic Compound Prescription Capsules) with the effect on amino acid neurotransmitters, such as glutamic acid, γ-aminobutyrc acid; and traditional Chinese medicines(P. ginseng, Xiaoyao San, Shuyu Ningxin Decoction)with the effect on neuropeptide Y pathway, with the aim to provide theoretical basis for the further development of some novel and more effective anti-anxiety therapeutics from traditional Chinese medicine and formulas.

Keywords: amino acid neurotransmitters; anxiety disorders; monoamine neurotransmitters; neuropeptide Y; traditional Chinese medicines and the formulas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Neurotransmitter Agents*
  • Norepinephrine
  • Serotonin


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Serotonin
  • Norepinephrine