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It was later established that all three of the major biogenic amines in the brain, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, were all decreased by reserpine (again, in animals).In animal studies conducted at around the same time, it was found that animals administered reserpine showed a short period of increased excitement and motor activity, followed by a prolonged period of inactivity.In 1953 chemists at Ciba, a pharmaceutical company, isolated the active compound from this herb and called it reserpine.In 1955 researchers at the reported that reserpine reduces the levels of serotonin in the brains of animals.

(See my recent articles Placebos as effective as antidepressants and A closer look at the evidence for more on this.)Folks, at this point you might want to grab a cup of tea.Finally, there is not a single peer-reviewed article that can be accurately cited to support claims of serotonin deficiency in any mental disorder, while there are many articles that present counterevidence.Furthermore, the addresses serotonin deficiency as an unconfirmed hypothesis, stating “Additional experience has not confirmed the monoamine depletion hypothesis” (Lacasse & Leo, 2005).Despite high doses and many months of treatment with reserpine, only 6 percent of the patients developed symptoms even suggestive of depression.In addition, an examination of these 6 percent of patients revealed that all of them had a previous history of depression.(Mendels & Frazer, 1974) There were even reports from a few studies that reserpine could have an antidepressant effect (in spite of reducing levels of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopanmine).As it turns out, that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to revealing the inadequacies of the “chemical imbalance” theory. D., Professor Emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Michigan University, points out in his seminal book Blaming the Brain, “Contrary to what is often claimed, no biochemical, anatomical or functional signs have been found that reliably distinguish the brains of mental patients.” (p.At around the same time, an extract from the plant was introduced into western psychiatry.This extract had been used medicinally in India for more than a thousand years and was thought to have a calming effect useful to quite babies, treat insomnia, high blood pressure, insanity and much more.However, there is one (rather large) problem with this theory: there is absolutely no evidence to support it.Recent reviews of the research have demonstrated no link between depression, or any other mental disorder, and an imbalance of chemicals in the brain (Lacasse & Leo, 2005; (Valenstein, 1998).

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