(Natural News) The coconut isn’t just a delicious fruit — it’s also a versatile and nutritious one, at that. One of its health benefits, in particular, is its natural anti-depressant properties found in its husk. A study published in the Journal of Natural Medicines has suggested that the extract of coconut husk fiber can be used for treating depression.
The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Federal University of Ceará in Brazil, aimed to determine the effects of coconut husk fiber extract on depression, its antioxidant activity in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and striatum, and on the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in mice.
The researchers gave mice with distilled water or 50, 100, or 200 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of coconut husk fiber extract, or with 400 mg/kg of vitamin E for a week. One hour after the last treatment, the mice underwent various behavioral tests: open field test, forced swimming test, and tail suspension test. Right after these tests, the researchers examined the mice’ neurochemical compositions.
The results revealed that administering 100 mg/kg of coconut husk fiber extract reduced the immobility time of the mice in the forced swimming test and tail suspension test, showing an antidepressant-like effect. The 100 mg/kg of coconut husk fiber extract also increased the levels of BDNF in the hippocampus of the mice.
All doses of coconut husk fiber extract reduced nitrite levels in all brain areas studied. In addition, the administration of coconut husk fiber extract reduced malondialdehyde levels in all doses and brain areas studied, except the dose of 50 mg/kg coconut husk fiber extract in the hippocampus.
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Based on the findings of the study, the researchers concluded that coconut husk fiber extract can be used for the treatment of depression, probably because of its antioxidant and neurotrophic effects. (Related: Plant-based diets and exercise can treat moderate to severe depression and anxiety.)
In addition to coconut, there are other plants with antidepressant effects. Here are some of them:
Read more news stories and studies on natural ways to fight depression by going to AlternativeMedicine.news.