Research Topic

Natural Products as Sources of Innovative Approaches in Psychiatry

About this Research Topic

Natural products have played a key role in the history of psychiatry. From Phantastica by Louis Levin, to the use of reserpine as the first antipsychotic of modern times, compounds of natural origin changed the very concept and treatment of mental diseases for the contemporary era. At present, we are witnessing the resurgence of studies documenting not only of the therapeutic value of psychoactive medicinal plants (such as St. John’s Wort), but also illuminating the potential value of mind-altering substances to treat mental disorders (such as Cannabis and Ayahuasca). Nevertheless, traditional training in psychiatry has left practitioners with little to no knowledge of treatment options based on natural sources but instead perceiving these modalities to be lacking in scientific credibility.

Natural products are not only fairly unknown to most psychiatrists, a significant portion of them are also biased against the possibility of their utility. Yet, despite this general resistance in the mainstream Western medical system (including physicians and psychiatrists) to using natural products as treatments, patients often prefer plant-based and natural treatment options and either request their use during therapy or seek them out from other sources. It behooves medical practitioners, as well as patients, to have a rigorous, scientific, understanding of natural products and how they may interact with existing allopathic or biomedical treatments. Therefore, the goal of this Research Topic is to help further establish the growing empirical knowledge base regarding the efficacy of natural products-based medicines in modern psychiatry. Additionally, we aim to stimulate innovation in psychopharmacology and help bridge the existing knowledge gap between using mainstream allopathic versus newer natural products-based treatments. By collecting a sound body of evidence supporting the use of existing products in the market, discussing the evolving use of psychodisleptics in psychotherapy, and presenting evidence of novel compounds undergoing pre-clinical scrutiny, this Research Topic will demonstrate scientific credibility for using natural products as treatment options for psychiatric disorders.

Natural products are here understood as any product isolated from, or formulas composed of, materials from natural origin, as well as compounds (natural or not) that are known to boost the natural endogenous substances that participate in pathways relevant to counteract the pathophysiology of psychiatric conditions.

We welcome contributions of clinical and preclinical original research articles, reviews, perspectives and commentaries addressing (but not limited to) the following:

• Using existing natural products on the market as treatments for psychiatric disorders
• Natural products as the basis for innovation in psychopharmacology, such as medicinal plants, medicinal plant-based formulas, and/or its isolated compounds
• Compounds that recruit endogenous modulators of neurochemical pathways of relevance in psychiatric disorders
• The emerging use of hallucinogens (psychodisleptics) in psychotherapy

You can participate in this Research Topic by submitting your manuscript to one of the two participating Journals, which you will select upon submission: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Section Psychopharmacology, or Frontiers in Pharmacology - Section Ethnopharmacology. Articles submitted to Ethnopharmacology must comply with the guidelines "The Four Pillars of Ethnopharmacology".


Keywords: Natural Products, Psychiatric Disorders, Novel Compounds, Psychoactive Medicinal Plants, Psychodisleptics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Natural products have played a key role in the history of psychiatry. From Phantastica by Louis Levin, to the use of reserpine as the first antipsychotic of modern times, compounds of natural origin changed the very concept and treatment of mental diseases for the contemporary era. At present, we are witnessing the resurgence of studies documenting not only of the therapeutic value of psychoactive medicinal plants (such as St. John’s Wort), but also illuminating the potential value of mind-altering substances to treat mental disorders (such as Cannabis and Ayahuasca). Nevertheless, traditional training in psychiatry has left practitioners with little to no knowledge of treatment options based on natural sources but instead perceiving these modalities to be lacking in scientific credibility.

Natural products are not only fairly unknown to most psychiatrists, a significant portion of them are also biased against the possibility of their utility. Yet, despite this general resistance in the mainstream Western medical system (including physicians and psychiatrists) to using natural products as treatments, patients often prefer plant-based and natural treatment options and either request their use during therapy or seek them out from other sources. It behooves medical practitioners, as well as patients, to have a rigorous, scientific, understanding of natural products and how they may interact with existing allopathic or biomedical treatments. Therefore, the goal of this Research Topic is to help further establish the growing empirical knowledge base regarding the efficacy of natural products-based medicines in modern psychiatry. Additionally, we aim to stimulate innovation in psychopharmacology and help bridge the existing knowledge gap between using mainstream allopathic versus newer natural products-based treatments. By collecting a sound body of evidence supporting the use of existing products in the market, discussing the evolving use of psychodisleptics in psychotherapy, and presenting evidence of novel compounds undergoing pre-clinical scrutiny, this Research Topic will demonstrate scientific credibility for using natural products as treatment options for psychiatric disorders.

Natural products are here understood as any product isolated from, or formulas composed of, materials from natural origin, as well as compounds (natural or not) that are known to boost the natural endogenous substances that participate in pathways relevant to counteract the pathophysiology of psychiatric conditions.

We welcome contributions of clinical and preclinical original research articles, reviews, perspectives and commentaries addressing (but not limited to) the following:

• Using existing natural products on the market as treatments for psychiatric disorders
• Natural products as the basis for innovation in psychopharmacology, such as medicinal plants, medicinal plant-based formulas, and/or its isolated compounds
• Compounds that recruit endogenous modulators of neurochemical pathways of relevance in psychiatric disorders
• The emerging use of hallucinogens (psychodisleptics) in psychotherapy

You can participate in this Research Topic by submitting your manuscript to one of the two participating Journals, which you will select upon submission: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Section Psychopharmacology, or Frontiers in Pharmacology - Section Ethnopharmacology. Articles submitted to Ethnopharmacology must comply with the guidelines "The Four Pillars of Ethnopharmacology".


Keywords: Natural Products, Psychiatric Disorders, Novel Compounds, Psychoactive Medicinal Plants, Psychodisleptics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

07 July 2020 Abstract
06 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

07 July 2020 Abstract
06 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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