Sleep Aids Valerian and Hops Check Dosage

Natural Sleep aids with Chinese herbsIf you are looking for a natural sleep aid to help you stay horizontal through-out the night, we've got news for you.  The traditional herbs used in the West for help sleeping are valerian and hops. Maybe you've heard of them.   In one of the most thoroughly conducted research studies on these herbs, it was discovered  these herbs only work when extracted together.  

These top researchers in Switzerland conducted a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study to demonstrate the fixed combination of chemical constituents from the plants.  What the researchers found is that only when these two herbs are used in a fixed combination at 500 milligrams valerian extract siccum to 120 milligrams hops extract siccum,  did they reduce sleep latency.  The valerian extract alone was no better than a placebo.  Always check product dosages for the best results.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history of using herbs together.  When using Chinese herbs as an over-the-counter sleep aid, either mixed at a Chinese pharmacy or in prepackaged packets like our iSleep Herb Pac, it is most common to have herbs combined together to create a synergistic action that is much more effective than any one herb working alone.  Chinese herbs are always used in combination formulas for the very same reason this study demonstrates.  They simply work better, together.  Studies can prove this, but it is really history of over a thousand years of using herbs cooked together which has provided this knowledge.  


For more info on this study:

Koetter U, Schrader E, Kaufeler R. et al. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, prospective clinical study to demonstrate clinical efficacy of a fixed valerian hops extract combination (Ze 91019) in patients suffering from non-organic sleep disorder. Phytother Res. 2007 May 8.

The Top 5 Natural Sleep Aid Tips

Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?

Ever count sheep?  Who came up with that idea anyway?  I use to try it and it drove me crazy, I always lost track of how many sheep.  I guess that was the point.. but it never helped me get to sleep.

Here's what I've learned after countless insomnia consults.   Prescription sleep aids may work for some but before you resort to that extreme give a few of these natural sleep remedies a try.

1.  Darkness counts.  Make the bedroom as dark as possible.  No computers in the room, no clock radio light.  If you want to sleep you need to maximize that melatonin production so you need blackness.   When you can't see your hand in front of your face, your sleep space functioning as a natural sleep aid.

2.  Stop Nappiing!!  No more than 1 short.. 30 minutes or less nap, per day.  Sorry folks, if you really want good quality sleep you've got to maximize the efficiency of 7 hours straight.   You shouldn't  need a nap if you have at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.  Power napping  (30 min or less ) is approved but more than that you are sabotaging your night time REM.

3.  Change your mind, 7-8 hours is not a pipe dream.  Although many of us would like to will ourselves to sleep,  this method is fairly ineffective.  But if you truly set a natural sleep goal, this will be a positive influence.   As you go to bed, give yourself the positive affirmation that you will sleep all night. Don't doubt yourself, you may be surprised how strong the mind can be.

4.  Love your mattress, or whatever you sleep on.  If you don't love it,  change it.  Com' on, you spend months/years of your life sleeping.  Do it in style.   

5.   The temperature is one of the most important natural sleep remedies.  We have all experienced the" too hot" summer night or too cold winter morning.  Make it right and enjoy the best sleep you can.  (If night sweats are your "too hot" moment check out our natural Menopause Relief, it will naturally adjust your internal thermostat.)

Bonus tip:   A few drops of Lavender essential oil on your pillow  and behind your ear lobes provides a natural calming effect.

If you are still suffering with poor sleep, try our all natual sleep aid.  Our herbal blend is not a secret, it is written in every Chinese herbal formula book on the planet.  It has been used for centuries.  Drink a small cup of iSleep before bed and we guarantee you will improve the number of hours you sleep.  Best part… it's an all natural sleep aid!

Learn to Unplug and Recharge By Sleeping

“I can’t speak for all women, but I want to get more sleep, says Arianna Huffington, the Co- Founder and Editor-In-Chief of the Huffington Post  a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of twelve books.   Arianna Huffington was a speaker at The Womens Conference 2009 and had this to say about sleep. . .

“The prevailing culture tells us that nothing succeeds like excess, that working 80 hours a week is better than working 70, that being plugged in 24/7 is expected, and that sleeping less and multi-tasking more are an express elevator to the top.”

“I beg to differ.  There is nothing that negatively affects my mood, my productivity, or my effectiveness more than lack of sleep. I’ve had to learn to unplug and recharge. To trade multi-tasking for uni-tasking — and, occasionally — no-tasking. It’s left me healthier, happier, and more able to try to make a positive difference in the world.”

“My eyes have been opened to the value of regularly closing them.”

I couldn’t agree more with Arianna!  Our fast paced, high tech world that never sleeps is creating a world of insomniac’s who wish nothing more than… well a good nights sleep.  Weight gain is blamed on lack of sleep, as is an increase in depression and death, (due to drivers falling asleep behind the wheel).  .

Consider the Nurses’ Health Study conducted by Harvard University found that getting too little sleep is linked to a greater risk of getting breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

If you suffer from a lack of sleep check into natural sleep aids such as iSleep Herb Pack, an all natural sleep aid used in Asian cultures for generations.   Because, a good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures for just about anything that ails you.

Mayo Clinic’s New Book and Thoughts on Disease “PREVENTION”

best natural sleeping aidsThe top 20 health issues are all discussed in the Mayo Clinic’s new book on Alternative Medicine.   The author, Dr. Bauer, details dozens of natural therapies that have worked safely.   Dr. Bauer asserts that “an opportunity has risen that may hold the promise of a new paradigm for better health.”

Firstly:  “The best way to manage an illness is to prevent it from happening in the first place” This is one reason there has been explosive growth in the field of alternative medicine. People are looking for more “natural” or “holistic” ways to maintain good health!!

Secondly:   By combining the best of complementary and conventional health care practices to meet your individual needs, you’ll be practicing integrative medicine.

Sounds simple enough to me!!

Start with reducing stress and get a good nights sleep.  Stanford University recognizes the importance of these two factors.  They are currently recruiting women  for a sleep study, to learn how lack of sleep and too much stress may be linked to breast cancer and breast cancer survival.

You may be surprised that Mayo Clinic now urges you and your doctor to consider yoga, garlic, acupuncture, dietary supplements and other natural therapies. The record is clear. Many of these alternative therapies can help you achieve reduced arthritis pain, healthier coronary arteries, improved diabetes management, better memory function and more.

So find some local fitness classes, get a group of friends together and walk,  go to your local health food store and stock up on quality herbal supplements, there is no excuse. 

Alternative Medicine is “Preventative Health Care” and the new mantra is:

“What’s alternative today will be conventional tomorrow.”


Jujube, What Makes It Such a Great Sleep Aid?

What is this funny little fruit, known as jujube, and why is it known for promoting a deeper, more restful sleep?  In Chinese herbal medicine it is the seed of the fruit or spiny zizyphus.  Laboratory studies of zizyphus extract have confirmed the sedative effects.  In fact,  the latest research from France concluded the seeds of the fruit are rich in fatty acids and a host of other beneficial compounds which can benefit those who are looking for a natural sleep aid.

Jujube seeds are about the same size as a typical apple seed.  The seeds have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and in other ancient cultures for  hundreds of years.  The seeds are most commonly used for their sedative effects especially common as a sleep aid.    Yet, unlike so many other sedative plants or man made drugs, zizphus is extremely safe.     Drinking zizphus tea has been reported to have no toxicity even in huge doses such as 50 grams per kilogram of body weight, even for 30 consecutive days.

Modern pharmacology evaluation of zizyphus seed oil and zizyphus extract suggest that with prolonged feeding (to mice)  they can reduce serum triglycerides and cholesterol (mainly LDL), and reduce fatty degeneration of the liver. These same properties have also been attributed to the triterpenes of ganoderma and ginseng.  Connect here to articles on ginseng and ganoderma.

Jujube has increasingly become popular as a source of over-the-counter natural sleep aid.  In this just released study, different extracts of the Zizyphus exerted antioxidant activity. Hence, it is possible that the antioxidant activity of Zizyphus might be due to the presence of different vitamins and fatty acids.   The study also showed that Zizyphus decoction (cooked in water) exerted an immmuno-supressive activity.  Jujube is one of the main ingredients in our natural herbal sleep tea. For more information on our iSleep Herb Pac sleep aid click  here.


Wu Shuyun, et al., Effects of zizyphus seed oil and zizyphus extract on decrease of serum lipoprotein and inhibition of platelet aggregation, China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica 1991.

The study quoted can be found at:
Zizyphus lotus L. (Desf.) modulates antioxidant activity and human T-cell proliferation
Authors:  Chahid Benammar1§,2, Aziz Hichami2, Akadiri Yessoufou2, Anne-Marie Simonin2, Meriem
Belarbi1, Hocine Allali 3, and Naim A Khan2

Chemo Side Effects Reduced With Chinese Herbs, Says Yale

Chemo patients helped with Chinese herbsThis remarkable research conducted at Yale University is incredible news for Americans.  Asian societies, on the other hand, have used these Chinese herbs for generations and understand that boiling peony root, with licorice root, red dates and skullcap root can help the gastro-intestinal tract especially when one is suffering from diarrhea.

The recently announced research proved a drug made from four traditional Chinese herbs, dubbed PHY906, countered the side effects of chemo in rats.  The researchers decided to give the mice, who were on a chemotherapy drug which has side effects of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, this blend of natural herbs.   Not only did the four Chinese herbs improve the mices symptoms of diarrhea but it simultaneously cut the cancerous tumors growth.

 “This combination of chemotherapy and herbs represents a marriage of Western and Eastern approaches,” said lead researcher Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng.

A study such as this and so many others, are slowly beginning to open up American minds to the incredible health benefits of Chinese herbs. I found it interesting to listen to the interview with Dr. Cheng. He states that the four herbs must be used in combination and cooked together.  Used individually, they did not perform the same function. He says, “deletion of any of those herbs, you have a different impact on three biological endpoints.”  This is exactly what Chinese medicine textbooks have told us for years. It is the combination of herbs cooked together that create the synergy and provide the valuable healing medicinal action.

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has become a core component in  treating cancer patients. Diarrhea is one of the major side effects of the cancer drug irinotecan.  According to  Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng this herbal remedy is based on the formula which was first established 1,800 years ago and is also known as Huang Qin Tang. It was historically used and still is used today for treatment of diarrhea and GI disorder[s].  The popularity of natural herbal medicine has been expanding each year in America as more studies like this are published.

Sleeping Through The Night, Naturally

Best natural herbal sleep aid is Ziziphi or Suan Zao RenHaving a good night of sleep can make all the difference in having a good day ahead.  The video below gives some good ideas about Western herbs for sleep and some foods that may help calm you down in the evening. But unfortunately, the dietitian in this segment of Fox News has obviously not heard of Chinese herbs that are commonly used as sleep aids. Drinking  Ziziphi or Suan Zao Ren tea, otherwise known as  spiny jujube seed, can give you as much if not more relaxation as chamomile tea or valerian tea.  Americans are not as familiar with Chinese herbs because they are not yet as pervasive on the store shelves, but they are coming. (Ours are already here)  As the world gets smaller, Americans are learnimg more about convention herbal medicines from far away places such as China. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ziziphi seed is widely used with other herbs for the treatment of insomnia.  I was in a health food store the other day talking to people about  iSleep Herb Pac and it was inspiring to hear talk so many people who want to end their addiction to prescription sleep aids.   Natural alternatives to sleepless nights do exist.   Herbs used in Asia for generations like spiny jujube/ziziphi are the new natural drug of choice.

There are many studies which have examined the effective components of this herb. They have all come to similar conclusions, the sedative and hypnotic effects of jujube seeds come from three important compounds, flavonoids, saponins, and polysaccharides all found inside. The combination and concentration of these chemicals and  is truly remarkable in each little seed.  Together these active chemicals prolong sleep time, provide more REM sleep and decrease sleep latency, or the time it takes to fall asleep.  Some studies point more to the saponins, also found in many foods (ie, alfalfa, fenugreek, oats and potatoes) which help you feel that sedative effect.  Asian cultures have known these effects for generations, they never needed a study to know that suan zao ren helps you sleep.  They know from experience, past down from generation to generation. They also know Chinese herbs are more effective when combined together with other herbs. But we're still learning.

Pub Med study on Semen Ziziphi spinosae/ Suan Zao Ren

Sleep More For Natural Weight Loss

Natural Sleep aids help with Weight LossScientists have known for years that sleeping more can actually help you lose weight.  There are many studies to support this conclusion.  One such study published in  2005 which included 8000 adults over several years found that less sleep corresponded to greater risks of weight gain.  Is the answer to the American obesity problem in the bedroom?  It's true that eating and sleeping cannot really occur at the same time.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied a small group of men and women and measured their food intake over 48 hours periods.  One period of time included 8 hours of sleep and another in which the participants slept only 4 hours.   After the night of less sleep the men consumed more than 500 extra calories or approximately 22% more.   

The University of Chicago did a similar study last year and and similar findings in both men and women.  The less sleep the more calories eaten, particularly carbohydrates.   Makes sense to me, when I haven't gotten a good nights sleep I tend to make up for my lack of energy with food.   Some studies blame the gain on hormones.  They argue decreased sleep creates a spike in ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite and an increase in leptin, which signals satiety.  But there seems to be no consensus yet.  Regardless, sleep aids such as Chinese herbs can help you stay asleep and give you the rest you need,  without side-effects or additional calories.  Prescription sleep aids in comparison with placebo pills only provided 11.4 minutes of additional rest but then, that is a subject for another bog. 

What do you think?  Does a night of better sleep equal less food intake the next day?  Eur J Endocrinol. 2008 Dec;159 Suppl 1:S59-66. Epub 2008 Aug 21. Sleep and the epidemic of obesity in children and adults.