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J Med Food. 2018 May;21(5):433-444. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.4064. Epub 2018 Jan 22.

Natural Products from Single Plants as Sleep Aids: A Systematic Review.

Kim J1,2, Lee SL1,2, Kang I1,2, Song YA1, Ma J1,3, Hong YS4, Park S1,2, Moon SI1, Kim S1, Jeong S1, Kim JE1,2.

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1 Ewha Brain Institute, Ewha Womans University , Seoul, South Korea .
2 Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Division of Convergence, Scranton College, Ewha Womans University , Seoul, South Korea .
3 Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University , Seoul, South Korea .
4 Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Ewha Womans University , Seoul, South Korea .


Insufficient sleep, insomnia, and sleep-related problems are important health issues, as their overall prevalence accounts for about 30% of the general population. The aim of this study was to systematically review previous studies investigating the effects of orally administered single plant-derived extracts on sleep-related outcomes in humans. Data sources were PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane Library. The data search was conducted in two steps: step 1, names of plants which have been studied as sleep aids in humans were searched and retrieved; and step 2, each ingredient listed in step 1 was then added into the search term. Only original articles or reviews were applicable to the scope of this review. Studies on human subjects, with or without sleep-related disorders, were included. Sleep-related disorders refer to not only insomnia or sleep behavior disorders but also diseases with sleep-related symptoms. Studies were considered eligible for this review when the plant extracts were administered orally. Outcome measures relevant to sleep quality, duration, or other sleep-related problems were included. Twenty-one plants were listed in the first step of the search as potential candidates for natural sleep aids. Seventy-nine articles using these single plant-derived natural products were included in the final review. Although valerian was most frequently studied, conflicting results were reported, possibly due to the various outcome measures of each study. Other plants were not as rigorously tested in human studies. There was limited evidence with inconclusive results regarding the effects of single plant-derived natural products on sleep, warranting further studies.


insomnia; natural products; plant extracts; sleep; sleep aids

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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