Treating Insomnia With Chinese Herbal Medicine
Insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep, has been and continues to be treated using CHM to the present day.
A recent study in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine evaluated and reviewed the use of CHM for insomnia treatment in Taiwan. The study showed that there were 16,134 subjects who visited traditional Chinese Medicine clinics for insomnia in Taiwan during the year 2002. In addition, several studies have demonstrated that CHM treatments effectively benefit sleep quality, improve sleep duration, and exhibit reduced side effects in comparison to Western medicines.
One of the most efficient formulas is the "Resolve & Stabilize", indicated for the treatment of recalcitrant insomnia which has lasted for more than three months. It can be used when other, more conventional Chinese therapies for insomnia have failed. Patients may not be able to sleep at all or only 1-2 hours per night.
In 38 patients with recalcitrant insomnia lasting for more than three months, 23 were cured, 12 improved, and only three got no effect, for a total amelioration rate of 92.1%. The shortest course of treatment was 10 days, the longest was 49 days.
The most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formula for insomnia was Suan Zao Ren Tang. This formula consists of 5 individual herbs grouped together for the most beneficial synergistic effect. The primary herb in this formula is Ziziphus spinosa, or Suan-zao-ren (a.k.a., sour jujube seed). This herb has been shown to cause a sedative effect at higher doses and an anxiolytic effect at lower doses.
Another study found that the formula Suan Zao Ren Tang produced an increase in non-rapid eye movement sleep, and it is believed that the mechanism was by the stimulation of serotonin receptors. The other herbs in this formula include Chuan-xiong (Szechuan lovage root), Fu-ling (poria), Zhi-mu (anemarrhena rhizome), and Gan-cao (licorice root).
It is important to note that whereas Western medicine attempts to treat insomnia as an isolated symptom, traditional Chinese medicine examines the condition of the body as a whole system, taking into consideration signs and symptoms ranging from appetite, thirst, mood, tongue color, and the quality of the pulse to reach a diagnosis.
Suan Zao Ren adults
Suan Zao Ren pediatrics