Herbal Remedies as Non-FDA Approved Sleep Aids

There are many natural and herbal remedies available over-the-counter for sleeping disorders. These include such things as Melatonin, which is a hormone that is known to be involved in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. In addition, herbal products include such things as valerian, chamomile, Kava Kava, and others. It is important to note a few things about these herbal remedy products:

  • they have not been exposed to the rigorous testing by the FDA that is required of all prescription products
  • even though these remedies are sold over-the-counter, they are still “medications” that cause chemical changes in the body
  • these substances can interact with medications in an adverse manner
  • the safety profiles of these products are often unknown.
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The reader may remember that several years ago many individuals used the substance Tryptophan, an amino acid to promote sleep. Dozens of individuals using this substance for sleeping were affected by a serious disorder called eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS) due to a contaminant that entered the product during its manufacturing. Tryptophan has since been removed from the market in the U.S.

This is just an example of how products that are unregulated can be potentially harmful even though they are available for sale over-the-counter. Thus, when considering use of any of these types of products, be sure to consult a physician, research them thoroughly, and “let the buyer beware.”