Abstract: Depressive disorder is a kind of emotional disorder that is mainly manifested with spontaneous and persistent low mood. Its etiology is complex and still not fully understood. Metabolomics, an important part of system biology characterized by its integrity and systematicness, analyzes endogenous metabolites of small molecules in vivo and examines the metabolic status of the organism. It is widely used in the field of disease research for its unique advantage in the disease molecular marker discovering Due to fewer adverse reactions and high safety, Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has great advantages in the treatment of chronic diseases including depression. Metabolomics has been gradually applied to the efficacy evaluation of CHM in treatment of depression and the metabolomics analysis exhibits a systemic metabolic shift in amino acids (such as alanine, glutamic acid, valine, etc.), organic acids (lactic acid, citric acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, etc.), and sugars, amines, etc. These differential metabolites are mainly involved in energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism, lipid metabolism, etc. In this review, we have exemplified the study of CHM in animals or clinics on the depression, and revealed that CHM treatment has significantly changed the metabolic disorders associated with depression, promoting metabolic network reorganization through restoring of key metabolites, and metabolic pathways, which may be the main mechanism basis of CHM's treatment on depression. Besides, we further envisioned the future application of metabolomics in the study of CHM treatment of depression.
... read more