Medicinal herbs for improvement of psychoneuroendocrine axis: daily eating to lessen stress-induced hyperglycemia

Majid Anushiravani,1,* Zeinab jaberzadeh,2

1. Department of Persian Medicine, School of Persain and Complementary Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences
2. Department of Health Psychology, torbat e jam Branch, Islamic Azad University



The pathologic effects of stress and anxiety on neuro-endocrine systems and the onset, severity, and prognosis of diabetes are considered obvious medical facts. in addition to the biologic phenomenon of stress-induced hyperglycemia, stress may lead to some maladaptive behaviors like smoking, eating and sleep disorders, and sedentary life style which all can accelerate the various pathologic consequences of diabetes mellitus. many researches showed that emotion regulation and stress reduction methods through biologic interventions, cognitive and behavioral therapies, mindfulness, music therapy, yoga and other alternatives may improve glucose tolerance and also self-care behaviors of diabetic people. these biologic effects take place in a psycho-neuro-endocrine continuum and some organs including limbic system, amygdala, hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal take part in this axis.


The databases from comprehensive books on herbal medicine, and the published articles in pubmed, embase, scopus, medline, cochrane library searched for the herbs with effects on both hyperglycemia/diabetes and stress/anxiety disorders. the findings sorted and seven herbs with some considerations including nativity, cost, availability, and cultural compatibility were chosen.


Using medicinal herbs is one of the favorite biologic interventions to reduce stress and improve the function of psychoneuroendocrine axis. considering the increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus in iran and regarding the phytochemical and clinical evidences, the authors chose seven herbs with both anti-hyperglycemic activity and calming, anxiolytic, sedative, antidepressant, and nervine effects. the authors have a concern to the current socioeconomic situation of iran and therefore the native herbs with high availability, cost-effectiveness, and culturally acceptance were preferred to introduce. the recommended herbs are as follows: 1. portulaca oleracea (purslane) 2. ocimum basilicum (basil) 3. melissa officinalis (lemon balm) 4. dracocephalum moldavica (moldavian dragonhead) 5. lactuca sativa (lettuce) 6. malus pumila(apple) 7. punica granatum(pomegranate)


According to evidences from phytochemistry and phytotherapy studies, these recommended seven herbs are effective on both glucose tolerance and better coping with emotional-mental triggers of stress-induced hyperglycemia. they can be simply consumed in daily regimen as ordinary fruits and vegetables by pre-diabetic and diabetic people with high stress levels. they would achieve more benefits than just lowering the blood glucose by continuous and protocol-based consuming of these herbs.


Stress-induced hyperglycemia, diabetes mellitus, psychoneuroendocrinology, phytotherapy