Insomnia supplements
Insomnia

  • Valerian is an herb native to Europe and Asia that currently grows in most parts of the world. The name is believed to come from the Latin word "valere" meaning to be healthy or strong. The root of the plant is believed to contain its active constituents. Use of valerian as a sedative and anti-anxiety treatment has been reported for more than 2,000 years. For example, in the 2nd Century AD, Galen recommended valerian as a treatment for insomnia. Related species have been used in traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Preparations for use on the skin have been used to treat sores and acne, and valerian by mouth has been used for other conditions such as digestive problems, flatulence (gas), congestive heart failure, urinary tract disorders, and angina (chest pain). Valerian extracts became popular in the United States and Europe in the mid-1800s and continued to be used by both physicians and the lay public until it was widely replaced by prescription sedative drugs. Valerian remains popular in North America, Europe, and Japan and is widely used to treat insomnia and anxiety. Although the active ingredients in valerian are not known, preparations are often standardized to the content of valerenic acid.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The hop is a member of the Cannabaceae family, traditionally used for relaxation, sedation, and to treat insomnia. A number of methodologically weak human trials have investigated hops in combination with valerian ( Valeriana officinalis ) for the treatment of sleep disturbances, and several animal studies have examined the sedative properties of hops alone. However, the results of these studies are equivocal, and there is currently insufficient evidence to recommend hops alone or in combination for any medical condition. Hops are also sometimes found in combination products with passionflower ( Passiflora incarnata ), skullcap (potentially damaging to the liver), or with a high percentage of alcohol (up to 70% grain alcohol), confounding the association between the herb and possible sedative or hypnotic effects. Hops contain phytoestrogens that may possess estrogen receptor agonist or antagonist properties with unclear effects on hormone-sensitive conditions, such as breast, uterine, cervical, or prostate cancer or endometriosis.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The dried aerial parts of passion flower ( Passiflora incarnata ) have historically been used as a sedative and hypnotic (for insomnia) and for "nervous" gastrointestinal complaints. However, clinical evidence supporting any therapeutic use in humans is lacking. Early evidence suggests that passion flower may have a benzodiazepine-like calming action. Evidence for significant side effects is also unclear, and is complicated by the variety of poorly classified, potentially active constituents in different Passiflora species. Passion fruit ( Passiflora edulis Sims), a related species, is used to flavor food.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain by the pineal gland from the amino acid tryptophan. The synthesis and release of melatonin are stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light, suggesting the involvement of melatonin in circadian rhythm and regulation of diverse body functions. Levels of melatonin in the blood are highest prior to bedtime. Synthetic melatonin supplements have been used for a variety of medical conditions, most notably for disorders related to sleep. Melatonin possesses antioxidant activity, and many of its proposed therapeutic or preventive uses are based on this property. New drugs that block the effects of melatonin are in development, such as BMS-214778 or luzindole, and may have uses in various disorders.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, Russia, and Africa. It has been used cosmetically and medicinally throughout history. In modern times, lavender is cultivated around the world and the fragrant oils of its flowers are used in aromatherapy, baked goods, candles, cosmetics, detergents, jellies, massage oils, perfumes, powders, shampoo, soaps, and tea. English lavender ( Lavandula angustifolia ) is the most common species of lavender used, although other species are in use, including Lavandula burnamii , Lavandula dentate , Lavandula dhofarensis , Lavandula latifolia , and Lavandula stoechas . Many people find lavender aromatherapy to be relaxing and it has been reported to have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. Overall, the evidence suggests a small positive effect, although additional data from well-designed studies are required before the evidence can be considered strong. Lavender aromatherapy is also used as a hypnotic, although there is insufficient evidence in support of this use. Small phase I human trials of the lavender constituent perillyl alcohol (POH) for cancer have suggested safety and tolerability, although efficacy has not been demonstrated.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Kava beverages, made from dried roots of the shrub Piper methysticum , have been used ceremonially and socially in the South Pacific for hundreds of years and in Europe since the 1700s. Several well-conducted human studies have demonstrated kava's efficacy in the treatment of anxiety with effects observed after as few as one to two doses and progressive improvements over one to four weeks. Preliminary evidence suggests possible equivalence to benzodiazepines. Many experts believe that kava is neither sedating nor tolerance-forming in recommended doses. Some trials report occasional mild sedation, although preliminary data from small studies suggest lack of neurological-psychological impairment. There is growing concern regarding the potential for liver toxicity from kava. Multiple cases of liver damage have been reported in Europe, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure. Kava has been removed from shelves in several countries due to these safety concerns. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings to consumers and physicians. It is not clear what dose or duration of use is correlated with the risk of liver damage. The quality of these case reports has been variable; several are vague, describe use of products that do not actually list kava as an ingredient, or include patients who also ingest large quantities of alcohol. Nonetheless, caution is warranted. Chronic or heavy use of kava has also been associated with cases of neurotoxicity, pulmonary hypertension, and dermatologic changes. Most human trials have been shorter than two months, with the longest study being six months in duration.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • 5-HTP is the precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is obtained commercially from the seeds of the plant Griffonia simplicifolia . 5-HTP has been suggested as a treatment for many conditions. There is some research to support the use of 5-HTP in treating cerebellar ataxia, headache, depression, psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, and as an appetite suppressant or weight-loss agent. There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of 5-HTP for any other medical condition. 5-HTP may cause gastrointestinal disturbances, mood disturbances, seizure, or abnormal blood counts. Some reported side effects might result from contaminants in 5-HTP products.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Chamomile has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is widely used in Europe. It is a popular treatment for numerous ailments, including sleep disorders, anxiety, digestion/intestinal conditions, skin infections/inflammation (including eczema), wound healing, infantile colic, teething pains, and diaper rash. In the United States, chamomile is best known as an ingredient in herbal tea preparations advertised for mild sedating effects. German chamomile ( Matricaria recutita ) and Roman chamomile ( Chamaemelum nobile ) are the two major types of chamomile used for health conditions. They are believed to have similar effects on the body, although German chamomile may be slightly stronger. Most research has used German chamomile, which is more commonly used everywhere except for England, where Roman chamomile is more common. Although chamomile is widely used, there is not enough reliable research in humans to support its use for any condition. Despite its reputation as a gentle medicinal plant, there are many reports of allergic reactions in people after eating or coming into contact with chamomile preparations, including life-threatening anaphylaxis.
    Source:NaturalStandard
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