Sini powder, a TCM herbal formula, shown to have potent anti-depressive effects

According to a team of researchers, Sini powder, an herbal formula, can be used as a natural alternative to antidepressants. The study, which was published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines, showed that Sini powder, which is often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), had similar properties to antidepressants used to manage the symptoms of depressive disorders and other conditions.

Sini powder: A natural alternative to antidepressants

Depression, a mental condition linked to feelings of extreme sadness and disinterest, is often managed with the help of various antidepressants. However, these drugs usually cause negative side effects. To remedy this, the researchers sought to discover a natural alternative to antidepressants.

For the study, researchers observed the anti-depressive effects of the herbal formula on stress-related mechanisms in rats. Sini powder is traditionally given to people who have depression. However, the underlying mechanisms of the herbal remedy remain unknown.

The lab rats observed in the study were given doses of the Sini powder extract for seven days. During tests, the rats displayed a significant increase in swimming time. The researchers also reported a reduction in immobility time in a forced swimming test in a dose-dependent manner. They added that there weren’t any changes in locomotion among the test subjects.

The researchers theorized that the herbal formulation given to the rats could be the reason behind the possible modulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. Study results also imply that one pretreatment of Sini powder extract could lower the levels of increased serum corticosterone and plasma adrenocorticotropin levels that are often observed in individuals with acute elevated platform stress. (Related: Researchers say this novel herbal powder suspension could treat depression naturally.)

The study authors also noted that one pretreatment of Sini powder extract could increase the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of hippocampal glucocorticoid receptors in individuals with depression.

When a person is stressed, their brain signals the adrenal gland to release hormones like glucocorticoid, which preserves physiological equilibrium in many organs. Since proper levels of glucocorticoid are crucial for normal function, the brain closely monitors and regulates this hormone.

Individuals who have major depressive disorder release excessive amounts of adrenal hormones, like glucocorticoid. Experts posit that this is because their brains process stress differently.

The study authors explained that Sini powder can be used as a natural anti-stress medication. This herbal formula derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine can help individuals with depression manage their symptoms, especially those who wish to use alternative treatments to avoid the negative side effects associated with antidepressants.

Fast facts on Sini powder

Sini powder (Frigid Extremities Powder) is also called Bupleurum, Chih-Shih Formula, and Si Ni San.

  • Sini powder’s ingredients include Bitter Orange (Zhi Shi, Fructus Aurantii Immaturus), Bupleuri (Chai Hu, Bupleurum chinense), Honey-fried licorice root (Zhi Gan Cao, Radix Glycyrrhizae), and white peony root (Bai Shao, Radix Paeoniae Alba).
  • In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the herbal formula is also known as “Powder for Relieving Depression with Cold Limbs.”
  • Sini powder’s formula actions include regulating the liver and spleen and relieving depression.
  • According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the herbal formula can be used to treat other health conditions such as abdominal pain, candidiasis, cholecystitis, fibrocystic breast disease, gastritis, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, mastitis, nausea, obesity, peptic ulcer, stress incontinence, and ulcerative colitis.

You can read more research findings on natural alternatives to antidepressants at

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