Scott Alexander in Astral Codex Ten:
There are dozens of natural supplements that purport to treat anxiety. Most have a few small sketchy studies backing them up. Together, they form a big amorphous mass of claims that nobody has the patience to sift through or care about.
But recently silexan (derived from lavender) has started to stand out of the crowd. Daily Mail had an interview with psychiatry professor Hans-Peter Volz, who said that silexan should be first-line for anxiety, replacing things like SSRIs and Xanax. And a very reputable professional publication within psychiatry, The Carlat Report, published an article and a podcast touting silexan:
Not many treatments in psychiatry have a large effect size. There’s stimulants for ADHD, ketamine for depression . . . and now Silexan for generalized anxiety disorder.
Most [alternative medicine] therapies do not have robust effects, but Silexan is an exception. Consider it in adults with generalized anxiety disorder.
What’s going on?