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Ten-year review of herbal psychiatric treatments.

In a review article published in September 2000, researchers summarize and critique the findings of controlled clinical trials on St. John's wort, kava, ginkgo, and valerian published since 1991. Reviewers found the evidence for St. John's wort's efficacy the most convincing, with five of nine studies showing it to be superior to placebo, and the other four finding the herb to be as effective as prescription antidepressants. They believe that poorly defined patient populations, small sample sizes, short treatment duration, and nonstandard measures of symptoms make the positive results of many of the kava and ginkgo studies less credible. Thirty-nine of the 40 ginkgo trials reviewed found that the extract significantly improved memory, concentration, fatigue, anxiety, and depression in patients with dementia. Psychiatric Services, September 2000.

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