Depression is the most common form of mental illness and the major cause of disability worldwide. Symptoms of depression, including feelings of intense sadness and hopelessness, may occur after a specific event or in response to a gradual decline in health and functional status, often associated with aging. Current therapies for treating these symptoms include antidepressant drugs, counseling and behavioral therapy. However, antidepressant drugs are associated with mild to severe adverse effects, which has prompted the need for better treatment options. Medicinal mushrooms are valuable sources of food and medicine and are increasingly being used as supplements or as alternative medicines in standard healthcare. Numerous studies have provided insights into the neuroprotective effects of medicinal mushrooms, which are attributed to their antioxidant, anti-neuroinflammatory, cholinesterase inhibitory and neuroprotective properties. In this review, we comprehensively examine the role of these medicinal mushrooms in the treatment of depression. However, to apply these natural products in clinical settings, the therapeutic agent needs to be properly evaluated, including the active ingredients, the presence of synergistic effects, efficient extraction methods, and stabilization of the active ingredients for delivery into the body as well as crossing the blood-brain barrier.
Keywords: Depression; bioactive compound; medicinal mushroom; pathophysiology; synthetic drug; traditional medicine.
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