Posted on Sep 13, 2018, 8 p.m.
Many natural agents are available that support relaxation and healthy sleep in addition to popular botanicals and botanically derived substances. The more tools available the better the toolkit will be for interventions to consider when supporting stressed and possibly emotionally challenged patients.
Silk tree is an herb used in a blend of botanicals used in traditional Chinese medicines for its calming effects and ability to support sleep at higher doses. Mood issues such as nervousness, irritability, insomnia, and frustration are seen as collective issues of the heart and liver in traditional Chinese medicines, the blend of silk tree, Gamdir vine, and Jujube seed botanicals is geared at calming down the liver, clearing the heart, removing spasms, and removing obstructions to the flow of Chi and quieting the spirit.
Many of these descriptions and concepts are unfamiliar to Western medicine, research behind these botanicals brings up terms with much familiarity such as GABAergic, neuroprotective, and serotonergic; these botanicals have demonstrated antioxidant effects which are important to consider in mood disorders such as depression.
Silk tree has been shown to have anxiolytic effects, targeting serotonergic systems and 5-HT1A and 5-HT2C receptors in the brain. Bark, and flavonol glycosides isolated from it have been demonstrated to have dose dependent sedative effects helping to reduce sleep latency while increasing sleep duration. Rhynchophylline which is one of the major constituents of Gamdir vine has been shown to modulate sleep increasing total sleep time and rapid eye movement. Jujube seed and its extract have been shown to have GABAergic effects with anxiolytic effects at lower doses, and sedative effects at higher doses. Jujube has been shown to have neuroprotective effects that stimulate neurogenesis and help improve learning and memory. Centuries of traditional use of these botanical weighs heavily in support of their use along with animal studies.
Adaptogens can be helpful when stresses run high, helping the body to adapt to physical, mental, or other challenges of endurance stressors. Commonly used adaptogens include roots of herbs such as maca, ginseng, rhodiola, and licorice root among others. Extracts from the deep sea fish Blue Ling also has adaptogenic effects. This deep water fish is found at depths of 1500-3000 feet where oxygen deficiency, extreme pressure and temperatures have made it develop highly specialized metabolism and physiology. Traditionally extract from this fish has been used by ancient Celts to improve resilience to physical and emotional stress which contains high concentrations of amino acids, small peptides, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, D, and E supporting neurotransmitter production and healthy cellular functions. The extract has been shown to have anxiolytic and antidepressant like effects in animals reducing immobility and increasing exploratory behavior; in humans reduced fatigue and anxiety, improved motivation, concentration, and increased alpha wave activity has been observed with a trend towards reduced anxiety for a prolonged period of time even after discontinuation.
NOTE: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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