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Your Tools for Health, Issue #006 is here
January 19, 2005
How did you sleep last night? If it was a peaceful night's rest, you look good, you feel good, and you have plenty of energy. If, on the other hand, you tossed and turned or were otherwise sleep disrupted you aren't feeling to well right now -- and I'm sorry, but you probably don't look that great either. Oh, and energy…what energy?
I sure could have used this information when my 3rd child didn't sleep through the night for two years! It's not a good thing to feel like you're in a fog all day long. Help is here! Enjoy learning how to get a good night's sleep every night in this issue of Tools for Health.
On a side note, it has been suggested that I send shorter newsletters. If I do this I would probably put the majority of content at natural-health-coach-for-women.com and have short introductions to each section in the actual newsletter with links to the rest of the article. Do you have a preference? Reply to this email to let me know what you think.
Now, on to a good night's sleep!
If you subscribe to this newsletter and know someone else who would enjoy receiving Tools for Health, please pass it along. If this issue was passed along to you, take a minute to subscribe by visiting Natural Health Coach for Women, then pay it forward to someone else!
January 2005………………………….Issue #006
In This Issue
NOTE: In order for my clients to have the best results I recommend only high quality resources. Look for herbs, supplements, and other resources mentioned in Tools for Health at My NSP Natural Health Coach or Natural Health Coach for Women.
Guide To A Good Nights Sleep
If you are having sleep problems, whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, don't feel well-rested when you wake up in the morning, or simply want to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, try as many of the following techniques below as possible:
Herbal Sleep Formula
Herbal Sleep is a natural sedative formula containing herbs that calm the body, relieve anxiety and nervousness, and promote restful sleep. Herbal Sleep does not produce the typical "drugged" symptoms associated with pharmaceutical sedatives. Herbal Sleep is particularly beneficial for individuals who awake repeatedly during the night due to nervous tension or an overactive mind.
Herbal Sleep has been found helpful for anxiety, chemical dependency, hyperactivity, insomnia and other sleep disorders, nervous/tension headaches, restlessness. Herbal Sleep may also help reduce high blood pressure resulting from anxiety and nervous excitability.
Hops is licensed in Germany as a standard medicinal tea for promoting sleep. Hops is also used in both Germany and the United States in sedative preparations for calming anxiety and unrest. Hops has been shown to induce a soothing, relaxing calm within 20 to 40 minutes. Although the sedative effect of hops is indisputable, the herb's exact mechanism of action remains unclear. However, the sleep-inducing effect of hops has been found to be strongly dependent upon the quality of the extract used. Hops is commonly employed in conjunction with other herbal sedatives such as valerian root. For example, a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial of patients with exogenous (having a cause outside the body) sleep disorders found that a hops-valerian preparation was equally effective as a benzodiazepine drug, and therefore, would be a sensible alternative to such drug therapy for the treatment of non-chronic and non-psychiatric sleep disorders. In addition to sleep problems such as insomnia, the German Commission E also approves the use of hops for mood disturbances such as anxiety, nervousness and restlessness. Furthermore, hops has been used to help wean patients off prescription sedatives.1-4
Hops is not recommended for use with prescription sleep-aids, CNS depressants or antipsychotic agents, as this may cause additive effects. Due to the herb's potential estrogenic activity, hops is contraindicated during pregnancy and for those with estrogen-dependent tumors such as breast, cervical or uterine cancer.5,6
Passion flower has been used for centuries as a natural sedative for insomnia and nervousness. In 1920, researchers documented the herb's effect on inducing normal sleep with light breathing and little to no mental depression and no confusion upon waking. More recent research confirms the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and central nervous system (CNS) sedative properties of passion flower, although the specific constituents responsible for these actions remain unclear. Today, passion flower is approved for use in Europe for relaxation, nervousness and insomnia. In addition, passion flower has demonstrated some benzodiazepine receptor agonist activity and thus, may be helpful in the treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.2,5-8
Excessive doses of passion flower may potentiate MAOI therapy. In addition, passion flower should be avoided during pregnancy and nursing, as animal studies show that isolated constituents produce uterine-stimulant activity. Furthermore, since passion flower has not been evaluated for use in young children, it is not recommended for children under two.5,6,8
Valerian is regarded as an effective sedative, antispasmodic (relaxes muscle spasms) and mild anodyne (pain-reliever). Valerian is indicated for use for insomnia, mild to moderate anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, emotional stress and nervous tension, hyperactivity, hysteria, migraine/tension headaches, premenstrual/menopausal agitation and tension, as well as nervous cardiopathy. The German Commission E also recommends valerian for restlessness and sleep disturbances resulting from nervous conditions.3,6,8,10-12
Double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have clinically proven that valerian is beneficial for a variety of sleep-disorder parameters. Research shows valerian significantly decreases sleep latency (the time required to fall asleep), reduces the frequency of night-time awakenings, decreases night-time motor activity and restlessness, and improves sleep quality, especially with elderly poor sleepers. One study of individuals with insomnia showed that 44% of those receiving valerian reported perfect sleep, while 89% reported improved sleep. In addition, a double-blind study found that valerian was as effective for reducing sleep latency as small doses of barbiturates or benzodiazepines.6,8,10-17
There are no side effects reported with valerian use-even 20 times the recommended dose is nontoxic; however, too large a dose may cause excitability. Unlike benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax, valerian does not appear to potentiate the effects of alcohol, nor does it affect coordination or driving ability or cause morning drowsiness. However, valerian should not be used in conjunction with prescription sleep-aids or anxiolytics. Although the German Commission E monograph lists no contraindications for valerian use during pregnancy and lactation, other sources recommend against its use until further research is done.5,6,8,10,11,18-20
References: 1Mills, S. & Bone, K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2000. 2Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000. 3PDR for Herbal Medicines, 1st Ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 1998. 4Schmitz, M. & Jackel, M. "[Comparative study for assessing quality of life of patients with exogenous sleep disorders (temporary sleep onset and sleep interruption disorders) treated with a hops-valarian preparation and a benzodiazepine drug]." Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift; 1998, 148(13): 291-298. 5Fetrow PharmD, C. & Avila Pharm D, J. Professional's Handbook of Complementary & Alternative Medicines. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corp., 1999. 6Miller PharmD, L. & Murray PhD, W. Herbal Medicinals: A Clinician's Guide. NY, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1998. 7Milligan, S.R., et. al. "Identification of a potent phytoestrogen in hops (Humulus lupulus L.) and beer." Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism; 1999, 84(6): 2249-2252. 8Newall, C., et. al. Herbal Medicines. London, England: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996. 9Leigh, E. "Phytotherapy Aids in Benzodiazepine Withdrawal." HerbalGram; 2000, 42: 19. 10Foster, S. "Calm Down." Herbs For Health; 1998, 2(6): 41-42. 11Hobbs LAc, C. Valerian: The Relaxing and Sleep Herb. Capitola, CA: Botanica Press, 1993. 12Murray ND, M. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995. 13Werbach MD, M. Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1991. 14Leathwood, P.D., et. al. "Aqueous extract of valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L.) improves sleep quality in man." Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior; 1982, 17(1): 65-71. 15Leathwood, P.D. & Chauffard, F. "Quantifying the effects of mild sedatives." Journal of Psychiatric Research; 1982-83, 17(2): 115-122. 16Lindahl, O. & Lindwall, L. "Double blind study of a valerian preparation." Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior; 1989, 32(4): 1065-1066. 17Balderer, G. & Borbely, A.A. "Effect of valerian on human sleep." Psychopharmacology; 1985, 87(4): 406-409. 18Brown ND, D. Herbal Prescriptions for Better Health. Rocklin, CA: Prima Health, 1996. 19Nebelkopf, E. "Herbal therapy in the treatment of drug use." International Journal of the Addictions; 1987, 22(8): 695-717. 20McCaleb, R. "Leading Herbs for the Mind." HerbalGram; 1998, 44: 19-20. Đ
More emails come with personal health questions than I can reasonably answer. Beginning with our February issue this section will be reserved for that specific purpose - answering your health questions.
Please feel welcomed to submit your questions for inclusion! All posts will be listed with first name, initials, or first half of your email address so for all intents and purposes, it will be anonymous.
What's New At Home
Natural Health Connections is our weekly online discussion. The 'classes' actually started January 5th, but they are flexible and you can drop in any time. I would love to have you join me on Wednesday's at 1 PM Eastern.
After you sign in, please let me know who you are -- I enjoy meeting my subscribers.
In the next few weeks I will also begin regular evening classes at A Touch of Serenity and Palm Island Salon located at 318 S. Scenic Hwy, Suite 104 in Lake Wales, Florida. If you are in Central Florida, stop by! Check the calendar at my herb site for updates on the time schedules and other happenings.
To schedule an appointment, online or offline, go to the Health Questions page, choose the option that best suits you, and follow the directions.
"Those who do not have enough time for good health, will not have good health for enough time."
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