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A naturalistic observational study of Western herbal medicine practice in selfreported anxiety and depression

Project Member(s): Wardle, J.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Endeavour College of Natural Health

Start year: 2016

Summary: The study will be a naturalistic observational exploration of naturopathic consultations using individualised herbal medicine for various primary complaints, starting with self-reported anxiety and depression, conducted over one to three consultations occurring over a four to six week period. Patient inclusion criteria will consist of any adults (aged 18-70) presenting with self-reported anxiety (ongoing for more than two weeks) as their primary complaint and reason for presenting to the naturopath for herbal medicine treatment (although they could have other co-morbid health issues). Due to the naturalistic observational design, the only exclusion criteria will be that participants must have competent English skills to be able to understand and fill out the assessment forms. Data collection will occur during week 0 (first visit baseline) and at two subsequent follow-up consultations, as following a naturalistic naturopath/patient treatment process. Treatment effects will be assessed using validated tools such as SF36, Profile of Mood States (POMS65), consisting of tension-anxiety, depression-dejection, anger-hostility, fatigue-inertia, confusion-bewilderment, and vigour-activity subscales, in addition to a total mood disturbance score (obtained by adding the five factors and subtracting the vigour-activity)Íž and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ28) consisting of a somatic, anxiety/insomnia, social dysfunction, depression symptom subscales. Treatment by naturopaths will not be influenced by participation in the study, beyond that only those receiving herbal medicines will be included in the study, and each naturopath will practice and prescribe herbal medicines as they would normally. Participants will be recruited through various means (referrals from other practitioners and advertising though will be in line with ow practitioners normally recruit patients) and will be provided with the herbal medicine free of charge.

Keywords: observational study, herbal medicine, naturopathy

FOR Codes: Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Mental Health, Nervous System and Disorders