The Doctor Will See You Now, If There Is Enough Time?

best natural sleep aidsWhich is more valuable, time or money?

When you go to your doctor, does your doctor have time for you?  Do they listen to you, i.e. why you're not sleeping, why you're so fatigued and does your doctor have time to hear you and respond? 

We all know our health care system has many advantages and disadvantages, I find Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) doctors to be one of the huge advantages.  If you have the opportunity to visit an Integrative or Alternative Medicine practitioner such as a Naturopath, Homeopath or Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist or Herbalist you can find a plethora of caring, responsible health practitioners that have THE most important piece of the health care solution, they have TIME for their patients.

So many good doctors are hampered by insurance company payment systems they simple can't afford to give you their time.  Today, visiting a Homeopathic office I overheard the questions the doctor of Homeopathy was asking his patient.  In depth questions, about the patients stress levels, menstrual cycle, sleep and herbal supplement use.  Although I only heard  a minute of the conversation I knew this doctor was giving the most important medical attention possible.  He was taking the TIME to really listen to his patients problems. 

One reason I believe so many good people are turning to alternative therapies such as Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Herbalist, Naturopaths and Homeopathic doctors is simple for this reason of "Time".  When a CAM doctor hears you have a sleeping problem they won't just scribble the name of a sleep aid pill on a piece of paper and rush out the door.  Rather they actually take the time to investigate your entire health history and look for the root cause of the problem. 

Time can make all the difference.  Wishing you lots of it in 2011.

Are Chinese Herbs A Better Sleep Aid Than Melatonin?

I am often asked this question.   My answer usually is something like this. 

Just because you are not familiar with Chinese herbs does not mean they not as effective as the everyday sleep aids you've often heard about.  Simply because Chinese medicine has not been the predominant form of medicine in the U.S. for the past 200 plus years does not negate the fact that over a billion people on the earth depend on this medicines systems and theories.  The continual use of herbal sleep medicine for over 1000 years, gives it both a safety record unmatched by other sleep remedies, and a success rating no other natural treatment can hold a candle too.

In comparison, Melatonin was discovered in 1958,  it took another 25 years to accumulate knowledge about  melatonin and what effect it had on both physiological and behavioral aspects of people.  It's use as a sleep aid started about 20 years ago and clinical studies on it's use as a sleep aid vary greatly.  This may be partly due to melatonin not being a regulated drug with regulated dosage levels, like other hormones sold only by prescription.This pineal hormone may be more important for overall well being, than as a OTC (over-the-counter) sleep aid. 

Comparing the two as sleep aids is a bit like comparing apples and oranges.  One is a hormone the other botanical medicine, one has only two decades of use while the other over a thousand years. One has thousands of conclusive studies…. do I need to continue? 

Unleash the power of herbal medicine and learn about and try the most famous herbs used in the world to help you sleep.

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.

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

Sleep Tips From The Mayo Clinic, Is Sleeping Now a Luxury?

herbs for sleep Is Sleep a luxury?  As our world has become more modern, more convenient and more well, fast paced sleeping seems to be, more of a luxury than a necessity.  We can take pills to quickly put us to sleep and all kinds of drinks and foods to keep us awake.  We can regulate our bodies for 20 hour work days and 4 hours of rest,  or any combination thereof.   With hundreds of TV stations on 24 hours, movies on demand, internet, anytime, anywhere, there just seems like so many better things to do than sleep.  Even little kids know that it's usually much more fun to stay up late, than to go to bed.

Yes,  but our genetics tell us we need 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Sorry, overriding genetics on this issue will only deteriorate your health.  Here are the  highlights from an eight page report about sleeping well from the Mayo Clinic.  

  • Sleep isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity.
  • Restful sleep is just as important to health as adequate nutrition and exercise.
  • Sleep is necessary to think clearly.
  • Studies have shown that being well rested improves the body’s response to infection.
  • Evidence suggests that brains are hard at work during sleep, possibly forming the pathways necessary for learning, making new memories and insights, and coming up with creative solutions to problems.
  • Inadequate sleep is linked to depression and irritability as well as diabetes, weight problems and cravings for high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods.
  • Sleep problems often can be treated, sleep aids can be both behavioral and medications.
  • In fact, sleep problems often can be traced to treatable health issues. Examples include poor pain control, frequent nighttime urination, or illnesses that cause coughing or shortness of breath.
  • Insomnia and depression often go hand in hand: Many people develop insomnia prior to being depressed. Studies show that unresolved insomnia increases the risk of depression. It’s not clear if one causes the other, but each can worsen if untreated.
  • Antidepressants may have stimulating properties and make insomnia worse. Prescription sleep aids are designed for short term use.

We believe in natural sleep aids here at Pac Herbs.  Our iSleep Herb Pac will help you rest and feel rejuvenated the next day. Get the sleep your body needs to stay healthy, because sleeping is not just a luxury but a necessity for wellness.  Checkout our all natural iSleep Herb Pac, an herbal formula used in Asian cultures for thousands of years.

Tiger Woods May Want to Check Out a Non-Prescription Sleep Aid

I not really much for celebrity gossip but tabloids are reporting Tiger Woods texted his friend Rachel saying “I feel like taking pills is my only alternative” for sleep.  No doubt Tiger has been on the high stress life style for many years.  Fame and fortune do have a price and like millions of people, it’s easy to feel the only way to get a good nights sleep is with the help of a prescription drug.

Would somebody please pass him an  iSleep Herb Pack before he lands in rehab, or pass on an address and I will be happy to send him some.  Poor guy, somebody tell him Chinese herbs have been used for centuries to calm the mind and provide a peaceful, non-addictive way to fall asleep. I  actually feel terrible for anyone who must rely on prescription sleep aids.  It’s a terrible cycle to get into and one that is even harder to break and here is why Tiger should be shining this year.

Fast Facts About Tigers from Jennifer Dubowski, L.Ac.

Are you a Tiger?

You are if you were born in: 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, or 1998.

The Tiger symbolizes character traits such as bravery, competitiveness and unpredictability. This courageous and fiery fighter was admired by the ancient Chinese as the zodiac sign that kept away the three main tragedies of a household: fire; thieves; and ghosts. The Tiger has other strong qualities and is: a natural leader; generous, intelligent and always alert. Tigers love to be the center of attention and are very charming, although they have a slight tendency to be selfish. Just as their jungle counterparts rely on instinct, so do individuals born in the Chinese Year of the Tiger. The best jobs for Tigers are those that will lead them towards positions of leadership. Tigers make interesting partners – they are creative, passionate and will never bore their mates. They’re expressive, polite and trustworthy, but watch out. Partners need to have a high energy level and a sense of adventure to keep up with a Tiger.

Celebrities born under the sign of the Tiger include: Emily Bronte, Leonardo DiCaprio, Karl Marx, Marilyn Monroe, Marco Polo and Queen Elizabeth II.

Those individuals born in the Year of the Tiger are compatible with the Chinese astrological signs of Horse, Dog, and Dragons. They are incompatible with Goat and Ox.

Colors are Green, Purple



Warning, Those Sleeping Pills May Be Causing Other Health Hazards

  1-Pharmacies-thumb-300x354-103Friends just returned from their traditional summer camping trip.   This years’ trip was more exhausting for one particular husband, he was tired all day long.  He wasn’t getting a restful nights sleep even though he loves to camp, was out in the fresh air and ON vacation.  The problem stems from his addiction to his sleeping pills, which he needs even on a camping trip.  Although the nightly pill provided him some sleep it made him extremely drowsy during the day, especially since he's increased the dosage to get the desired effect.  He often wanted to just sit at the camp site and take a nap. If this you or someone you know, it’s time to kick the sleeping pill habit.  

Sleeping pills are an expensive habit both monetarily and physically because of the lingering side effects. Use of sleeping pills is becoming a growing problem.  If your taking them for any length of time,  you will notice the need to increase your dosage as your body's tolerance grows. At a  certain point they become completely ineffective.  The most popular "A" sleep pills and other sleep medications were designed to be taken for only a week or two at most. If you continue on this  medication  longer than two weeks the greatest concern is the side effects, which according to the label “cannot be anticipated”.

Side effects may include: allergies, daytime drowsiness, dizziness, drugged feeling, headache, indigestion and nausea.  If you experience any of these side effects, the price you pay for a good nights sleep just went up ten fold. For some, using "A", along with taking a SSRI or serotonin boosting antidepressant, will produce unusual changes in their thinking and/or behavior, according to  the insert information. Most definitely alert your doctor if this happens to you.  

Side effects of sleeping pills can also develop or change in intensity, so keep this in mind if you suddenly develop indigestion it may be caused by the sleeping pill, not necessarily related to an otherwise digestive/gut  problem.  Other warning from the manufacturers of this medicine can cause a special type of memory loss. It should not be taken on an overnight airplane flight of less than 7 to 8 hours, since "traveler's amnesia" may occur. Yikes, what’s travelers amnesia? Do you completely forget where you are and where your going.  (Apparently this has happened or it would not be a written warning).

The most common risk with prescription sleep aids used long term, is the risk of increasing the dosage in an attempt to keep the effectiveness as your bodies tolerance level increases. The same problem my friends husband was experiencing.   The overdose warning alone scares me from going near this drug. “People who take too much may become excessively sleepy or even go into a light coma. The symptoms of overdose are more severe if the person is also taking other drugs that depress the central nervous system. Some cases of multiple overdose have been fatal.”

All we want is a good nights sleep, this is just getting to complicated. I don’t  want to die.   I’m baffled that a drug with this many warnings can sell as much as it does. There’s more on the label, lets not miss this part of the warning:  “Until you know whether the medication will have any "carry over" effect the next day, use extreme care while driving, and you should be aware that they may be more apt to fall.”   Hope your  taking mass transit if your using a lot of this drug.  Older adults, in particular need to be careful. All I can figure is most people don’t read this stuff, they do print it in extra small writing.   More from the label, “use "A" cautiously if you have liver problems. It will take longer for its effects to wear off.” “If you take this sleep aid for more than 1 or 2 weeks, consult your doctor before stopping."

Sudden discontinuation of a sleep medicine can bring on withdrawal symptoms ranging from unpleasant feelings to vomiting and cramps.” "When taking "A", do not drink alcohol. It can increase the drug's side effects. If you have breathing problems, they may become worse. "If "A" is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either drug could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor ." 

These are direct quotes from the Ambien official website.  Maybe it's time for a natural sleep aid for that restful night of sleep you so desire.