Emerging Role of Flavonoids as the Treatment of Depression

Biomolecules. 2021 Dec 3;11(12):1825. doi: 10.3390/biom11121825.


Depression is one of the most frequently observed psychological disorders, affecting thoughts, feelings, behavior and a sense of well-being in person. As per the WHO, it is projected to be the primitive cause of various other diseases by 2030. Clinically, depression is treated by various types of synthetic medicines that have several limitations such as side-effects, slow-onset action, poor remission and response rates due to complicated pathophysiology involved with depression. Further, clinically, patients cannot be given the treatment unless it affects adversely the job or family. In addition, synthetic drugs are usually single targeted drugs. Unlike synthetic medicaments, there are many plants that have flavonoids and producing action on multiple molecular targets and exhibit anti-depressant action by affecting multiple neuronal transmissions or pathways such as noradrenergic, serotonergic, GABAnergic and dopaminergic; inhibition of monoamine oxidase and tropomyosin receptor kinase B; simultaneous increase in nerve growth and brain-derived neurotrophic factors. Such herbal drugs with flavonoids are likely to be useful in patients with sub-clinical depression. This review is an attempt to analyze pre-clinical studies, structural activity relationship and characteristics of reported isolated flavonoids, which may be considered for clinical trials for the development of therapeutically useful antidepressant.

Keywords: anti-depressants; anti-oxidant; depression; flavonoids; nutraceuticals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / chemistry
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / metabolism
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Flavonoids