Biomol Ther.  2018 Jul;26(4):343-349. 10.4062/biomolther.2018.099.

Sleep-Aids Derived from Natural Products

  • 1Department of Pathophysiology, College of Basic Medicine, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi 33006, China.
  • 2Department of Molecular Medicine and TIDRC, School of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 07985, Republic of Korea.
  • 3Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Chungbuk National University, Osong 28160, Republic of Korea.


Although drugs such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines are often used for the treatment of insomnia, they are associated with various side effects such as habituations, tolerance and addiction. Alternatively, natural products with minimal unwanted effects have been preferred for the treatment of acute and/or mild insomnia, with additional benefits of overall health-promotion. Basic and clinical researches on the mechanisms of action of natural products have been carried out so far in insomnia treatments. Recent studies have been focusing on diverse chemical components available in natural products, with an interest of developing drugs that can improve sleep duration and quality. In the last 15 years, our co-workers have been actively looking for candidate substances from natural products that can relieve insomnia. This review is, therefore, intended to bring pharmacological data regarding to the effects of natural products on sleep duration and quality, mainly through the activation of GABAA receptors. It is imperative that phytochemicals will provide useful information during electroencephalography (EEG) analysis and serve as an alternative medications for insomnia patients who are reluctant to use conventional drugs.


Insomnia; Sleep; Natural products; Pharmacological mechanisms; Electroencephalography (EEG)
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