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Latin Name: Juglans Regia
Part Of Plant Used: Fruit
Walnuts have been used in human nutrition since ancient times. The walnut tree is native to central Asia, the western Himalayan chain, and Kyrgyzstan and was cultivated in Europe as early as 1000 BC. Walnuts have a wide variety of flavonoids, phenolic acids, and related polyphenols which act as antioxidants. They are a good source of fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Walnuts have high levels of free melatonin (sleep hormone and antioxidant) and vitamin E. They are also a rich source of L-arginine, phospholipids, proteins, tocopherols, polysterols, squalene, and unsaturated fatty acids. Walnuts are a great source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin hormones that regulate your sleep-wake cycles (Circadian Rhythm). Several studies suggest that eating walnuts influences melatonin levels and the total antioxidant status of the blood and gets your body’s circadian rhythm in place. In addition, the oil in walnuts makes them special when it comes to cardiovascular as well as brain health. They contain a lot of healthy saturated fats, alpha-linolenic and linoleic acids, which may have anti-inflammatory effects that keep blood vessels healthy, and are neurodegenerative.
- Rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid (Omega 3 PUFA), melatonin, tryptophan, and antioxidants. Omega 3 is also known to relieve stress.
- Walnut acts as natural melatonin and helps regularize the sleep cycle.
- Also a great source of the sleep enhancing amino acid tryptophan that helps make serotonin and melatonin hormones.
- Induce sleep, lower cholesterol levels, and prevent the risk of heart disease.
- Walnuts are known for their rich vitamins and mineral contents.
- It helps promote cardiovascular health by keeping a check on bad cholesterol and lipid.
- Because of the high content of calcium, walnuts are good for bone health.
- Walnuts are good for male reproductive health.
- Reduce high blood pressure problems and prevent blood clotting.
- Improves memory, boosts brain activity, and is useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Enhance metabolism, and treat obesity, diabetes, fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
- Good for pregnant women, children, young as well as older people.
- Supports healthy aging.
Walnuts have a rich history dating back thousands of years. Walnuts are considered the "oldest tree food known to man" and were prized by the Romans for both medicinal and celebratory purposes. The tree was considered a symbol of "intelligence, wisdom, knowledge, and inspiration”. Walnuts were the most important nut from a health standpoint in the ancient Mediterranean world. The first-century C.E. Roman biographer Plutarch, reported that walnut trees were soporific, for they send “forth a heavy and drowsy spirit, which affects their heads who sleep beneath it.” Later to verify the same, scientists have determined that walnuts contain melatonin, which regulates the sleep/wake cycle. Juglans regia was even considered for its medicinal properties in traditional medicine for a wide array of ailments that include diarrhoea, stomach ache, arthritis, asthma, skin disorders, and various endocrine diseases such as diabetes mellitus, anorexia, thyroid dysfunctions, cancer, and infectious diseases.
Himachal Pradesh, India.
Extraction Processes were carried out separately for individual bio actives of walnut.
Melatonin and Polyphenols - A comparative study of the nutritional and bioactive compounds content of walnut (Juglans regia) was conducted by María Isabel Tapia from Instituto Tecnológico Agroalimentario de Extremadura, Spain. In her journal she mentioned the presence of Proteins and fats which accounted for more than 70% of the walnut. The content in bioactive compounds were melatonin, serotonin, and total phenols, high content of magnesium and other minerals, and polyunsaturated fatty which were accounted for as their healthful properties, potentially beneficial to health.
Melatonin: A study conducted by Antía Verde from Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Biología Funcional, Spain. This study investigated the presence of melatonin in nuts using chromatographic techniques and optimized extraction procedures according to the high oil content of nuts. Melatonin was detected in walnuts. The study shows the melatonin content in walnut seeds decreased sharply during the ripening process from the ripe green stage to the mature dehydrated fruit and increased after harvesting when the fruits were edible. Therefore, this study reveals new data on the presence of melatonin in walnut seeds in a natural format.
Valerian Root Extract
Latin Name: Valeriana Wallichii
Part Of Plant Used: Root
Valerian Root also known as Tagara in Ayurveda, is a hairy perennial herb that belongs to the Valerianeaceae family, growing in the temperate regions of the Himalayas and Khasi hills up to an altitude of 3,000m in India. This perennial plant is native to North America, Asia, and Europe and produces white, purple, and pink flowers. Like most herbal compounds, valerian has over 150 individual active ingredients. The roots, rhizomes, and the stolons (horizontal stems) are used in making medicinal preparations. The effects of Valerian supplementation include drowsiness, muscle relaxation, sedation, and a decrease in anxiety which are primarily caused by certain compounds in Valerian called valerenic acid and valerenol which act on the GABA receptors in the body. GABA is a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your nervous system. It is one of the main neurotransmitters responsible for sleep regulation. Increasing the amount of GABA in your body has sedative effects. Valerenic acid and valerenol modulate GABA receptors and increase the amount of GABA available in the central nervous system. Research shows that valerenic acid also acts to inhibit the enzymes that destroy GABA. Compounds in valerian may also interact with receptors for serotonin and adenosine, chemicals that play important roles in the regulation of sleep and mood. Valerian Root has proved to build a gap between the two stages of sleep - The Slow Wave Sleep (SWS, which is the deepest phase of the NREM sleep) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) where the SWS phase tends to be longer.
- Valerian root is a proven remedy for anxiety and insomnia.
- Compounds in Valerian called valerenic acid and valerenol which acts on the GABA receptors in the body increasing sedative effect.
- Bridges the gap between REM and NREM sleep phases, and increases NREM sleep phase.
- It improves sleep quality and leaves no hangover like feeling in the morning.
- Effective mood enhancer and antidepressant.
- Valerian root helps minimize hot flashes commonly affecting women during menopause.
- It’s a known neurotransmitter that helps in controlling nervous function, especially among people who have a history of epilepsy.
- Helps overcome fatigue.
Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Its therapeutic uses were described by Hippocrates, and in the 2nd century, Galen prescribed valerian for insomnia. In the 16th century, it was used to treat nervousness, trembling, headaches, and heart palpitations. while the flowers are sweet smelling, the Valerian root has a very pungent smell. Rats simply can’t resist it, and it is said that the legendary Pied Piper stuffed his pockets with the herb to lure the plague-carrying rats out of the village of Hamelin. Early European physicians were able to overlook the offensive smell to instill a long history of use as a near cure-all for everything that ails. The herb has been used for centuries to treat migraine, insomnia, menstrual cramps, hysteria, and various "nervous disorders."
Himalayan Region of North India.
Has been standardized for Valerenic Acids.
Interactions: Not recommended for
- Pregnant women - As the risk to the developing baby haven’t been evaluated.
- Children younger than 3 years of age - As the safety of valerian root has not been tested in children under the age of 3.
- Combining with alcohol, sleep aids, sedative drugs, or antidepressants.
- Consuming prior to surgery under anesthesia.
Sleep: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis was done by Stephen Bent from the University of California to understand the efficacy of valerian for improving sleep quality. An extensive literature search identified 16 eligible studies examining a total of 1093 patients. The available evidence suggests that valerian improves sleep quality without producing side effects.
A Randomized, Double-blind, Crossover Clinical Trial was conducted on 39 patients in 2021, by the Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran, to determine the effects of Valerian on sleep quality, depression, and state anxiety in hemodialysis (HD) patients. The results found that they had a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms after taking 530 mg of valerian root 1 hour before bedtime for 1 month, compared with a placebo. The treatment significantly improved sleep quality and depression as well.
Halimeh Khaton Zare Elmi from the Student Research Committee, Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Iran conducted a triple blinded clinical trial on the sleep quality of patients after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. After 30 nights, the report suggested that the consumption of oral valerian root extract over 30 nights could significantly improve the patients' sleep quality safely.
A case study was conducted by R A Dominguez from the University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida to understand the sedative effect of Valerian Root on 20 patients who complained of insufficient sleep and were receiving mental health services. After the completion of 2 weeks, the case study suggested that valerian can be a supplement for improving insomnia in a symptomatic population.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, conducted an 8-week pilot double-blind randomized trial using 31 adults who met the DSM-IV-TR criteria for OCD, to access the efficacy of Valerian extract for the treatment of OCD. The results found that those who took 765 mg of valerian extract daily for 8 weeks showed a reduction in obsessive and compulsive behaviors compared with those who took a placebo.
Overcome anxiety and depression: (St John’s Wort combined with Valerian root) - Diethard Müller from the Department of Genetics, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil conducted an open, practice-oriented study of Valerian Extract combined with St. John’s Wort. The study suggested that patients with depression and anxiety disorder can be treated effectively with this combination.
St. John's Wort (Hypericum)
Latin Name: Hypericum Perforatum
Part Of Plant Used: Flowers & Tops Of Plants
St. John's Wort is a yellow, star-shaped flowering plant native to Europe, named after John the Baptist. It has been used for centuries for mental health conditions. St. John's Wort acts as a ‘serotonin reuptake inhibitor’ - a class of drugs that are typically used as antidepressants in the treatment of major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and other psychological conditions. It contains many chemicals that act on the neuro receptors in the brain that regulate mood and sleep. The flowers are used to make liquid extracts, pills, and teas. Hypericin (a reddish pigment) found in the flowers, particularly in the reddish-black dots that are located along with the petals, is known to contain antidepressant properties that helps treat anxiety, sleep disorders or used to ease symptoms of depression. Leaves of the Hypericum contain antidepressant compounds that regulate levels of dopamine, interleukins, melatonin, monoamine-oxidase, and serotonin. St. John's Wort is also used for symptoms of menopause. Studies suggest that St. John's Wort benefits in the management of 'sleep deprivation-induced anxiety' like behavior and oxidative damage.
- Benefits sleep by helping regulate mood and increasing the production of melatonin. Leaves of the Hypericum contain antidepressant compounds that regulate levels of dopamine, interleukins, melatonin, monoamine-oxidase, and serotonin.
- Anti-Anxiety – St John's Wort is considered a popular medicine to treat anxiety.
- Anti-Depressant: It is known for its effectiveness for mild or moderate depression.
- Eases Symptoms of Menopause and Pre-menstrual syndrome.
- It is used to treat people who suffer from Hyperactivity and Impulsivity.
- Has antibacterial properties and may act as an antiviral agent.
St. John's Wort owes its name to the fact that it flowers at the time of the summer solstice on or around St. John's Day on 24 June. Its Latin name Hypericum perforatum is derived from a Greek word, which means “over an apparition,” referring to the belief that the herb was so offensive to evil spirits that the merest whiff of it caused spirits to depart. The Tincher's of the plant was administered as a remedy by the Roman military doctor Proscurides as far back as the 1st century AD and became popular in medicinal elixirs and magic potions in the Middle Ages to ward off diseases and demons alike.
One of the legends states that the red spots appeared on the petals on the anniversary of John the Baptist’s beheading, the spots being symbolic of his blood. Back in those days, it was also believed that if a person placed a piece of St. John’s Wort under his pillow on St. John’s Eve, St. John would appear in that person’s dreams to bless him or her and prevent that person from dying in the year to come.
By the early modern period in Europe, St. John’s Wort became known as a popular anti-nausea agent, among many other treatments. In an ancient book of the 17th century, it was mentioned that St John’s Wort contained so many medicinal properties that it could help treat many types of ailments including the ability to treat bruises. Later on, it was administered for mental disorders which are now what we call anxiety or depression.
Eastern regions of China.
Was carried out for Hypericin.
Sleep Inducing: A study was conducted by A.L. Sharpley, C.L. McGavin, R. Whale P.J. Cowen of the University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, UK using healthy volunteers having no history of psychiatric or sleep disorders. They were administered with two doses (0.9 mg and 1.8 mg) of Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) on the sleep polysomnogram using a placebo-controlled, cross-over design. Both doses of hypericum significantly increased the latency to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep without producing any other effect on sleep architecture.
Depression: A retrospective, 12-month, open-label, observational, controlled trial was conducted by Francesco Di Pierro of the Department of Scientific Research and Development, Velleja Research, Italy to study the antidepressant clinical activity of a Hypericum Perforatum. The study administered that hypericum extract gave better clinical outcomes in volunteers with depression without determining an increased risk of toxicity or reduced tolerability.
Depression and menopausal symptoms: Randomized controlled study was conducted on 80 postmenopausal women aged 45-60 in Izeh, Iran by Alieh Eatemadnia of Midwifery Department, Menopause & Andropause Research Centre. Two groups received 270-330 μg of Hypericum perforatum(n = 40) or placebo (n = 40) tablets three times a day for two months. Seventy women completed the study and the results show that the treatment with Hypericum perforatum is an efficient way of reducing hot flashes, menopausal symptoms, and depression in postmenopausal women.
Depression and tiredness: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was conducted by W D Hübner , S Lande, H Podzuweit from Lichtwer Pharma GmbH, Berlin, Germany. The study was done on 39 patients with depression with somatic symptoms who were treated with Hypericum perforatum extract LI 160. The volunteers were administered with hypericum extract 300 mg dose thrice a day for 4 weeks. Seventy percent of the patients treated with LI 160 were free of symptoms after 4 weeks. Typical symptoms of depression such as lack of activity, tiredness, fatigue, and disturbed sleep, were especially responsive. In no case were any undesirable side effects observed.
Fatigue: A randomized, double-blind, parallel-group comparison was done among 240 subjects with mild-moderate depression was done by E Schrader from Praxis Klinische Arzneimittelforschung, Pohlheim, Germany. The patients were treated with hypericum and fluoxetine. After 6 weeks' treatment, it was concluded that hypericum and fluoxetine are equipotent with respect to all main parameters used to investigate antidepressants in this population, although hypericum may be superior in improving the responder rate.
Latin Name: Passiflora Foetida
Part Of Plant Used: Leaves & Whole Flower
Passionflower is native to the southeastern United States and Central and South America. Commonly known as Jhumka Lata in Hindi, it is a perennial climbing vine with herbaceous shoots. Each flower has 5 white petals and 5 sepals that vary in colour from magenta to blue. The bracts of the flower serve to trap insects as a defence mechanism. The above-ground parts (flowers, leaves, and stems) of the passionflower are used for medicinal purposes. The Passion flowers extract contains flavonoids such as quercetin, vitexin, isovitexin, and phenolic compounds - that accelerate the antioxidant and antibacterial properties and help boost health when consumed. Vitexin, a key flavonoid found in Passionflower, has the ability to induce sleep with anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects. The extracts are used in patients to reduce anxiety and insomnia. It was evidenced that the extract of Passiflora foetida significantly increases the time spent in Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), also referred to as Deep Sleep while that of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep showed a tendency to diminish. Some people also take passionflower for stress, ADHD, pain, and many other conditions.
- Calms the mind: It appears to boost the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain. This compound lowers brain activity, which may help you relax and sleep better.
- Soothes the stomach: Useful in treating stomach related ailments and ulcers.
- Passionflower is a good sleep inducer and helps treat insomnia.
- It reduces symptoms of anxiety.
- Passionflower has promising properties for the treatment of nervous disorders.
- It reduces some symptoms of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder.
- It has anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Helps reduce menopausal symptoms in women, especially during their perimenopausal period.
Historically passionflower has been used by the Native American tribes, in the southeastern United States, like food or medicine dating back to 3500 BC. The Native Americans used it as a sedative and were carried to Europe by Spanish explorers where it was used in Traditional European medicine. They believed the flowers symbolize Christ's passion. Forty years later, it was introduced to Europe as an ornamental plant, for, long before the passion flower was included in the Europe's treasury of medicinal plants, botanists were fascinated by this climber's inflorescence. The passionflower began to be used as a herbal remedy in the second half of the last century and was introduced via American homeopathy. It is a well-known sedative in low doses. Passionflower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid only as recently as 30 years ago and has now become a common household ingredient popularly used in tea concoctions and supplements for inducing sleep.
Has been standardized for extraction of Vitexin.
Overall benefit of Passionflower: (Anxiety and Sleep) - Aleksa Ristic an MS from the University of Belgrade quoted all the medicinal benefits of Passion Flower in his journal. Passion Flower is rich in Flavonoids such as vitexin, isovitexin, apigenin, chrysin, orientin, essential oil, Phenolic, and fatty acids. The unique blend of these components in the passion flower, makes it a good component for brain health, heart health, metabolism, and inflammation. In a larger clinical trial (182 patients), an herbal mixture with passion flower relieved anxiety without any significant side effects. In a clinical trial, 91 patients were administered with passion flower extract and the result was a boost in sleep quality and duration.
Relieves insomnia: In the Journal Medicinal Plant in Viet Nam by World Health Organisation, it is mentioned that the whole plant is considered to have sedative properties and is used in the treatment of neurasthenia, insomnia, nightmares, and anxiety. It is also indicated that Passiflora is capable of treating hypertension.
Vitexin as neuroprotective: A brief review was conducted on the neuroprotective properties of Vitexin, the primary bioactive present in Passiflora. After reviewing the effect of vitexin on different neurological disorders. It was concluded that Vitexin contributes to the reduction of neural cell death observed in neurodegenerative diseases and contributed to improving the disabling symptoms observed in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients. Vitexin proved to be safe and increased cell viability, and improved cognitive and locomotor activities in vivo models.
Jaiphal / Nutmeg
Latin Name: Myristica Fragrans
Part Of Plant Used: Nuts
The irresistible flavour of the jaiphal seed is known in many Indian cuisines, whether it is your Hyderabadi Biryani or one of the several Indian desserts, the distinctive taste of the sweet jaiphal seed adds a delightfully piquant flavour to your food. Despite its name, jaiphal is actually the seed found inside the ripe fruit of the tree after it's been picked and split open. There is a delicate lacy membrane that surrounds the seed which once removed and dried is another spice used in cuisines called mace. The trees were originally native to the spice islands of Indonesia, however, they are now cultivated in Malaysia, the Caribbean, and Southern India as well. Jaiphal is a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect against the signs of aging and serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and liver disease. Jaiphal is rich in fiber, which helps keep the digestive system healthy and controls blood sugar.
- Brain Health: The essential oils are effective in alleviating stress. The adaptogen nature of nutmeg works both as a stimulant and a sedative.
- Potent Anti-inflammatory Effects: Jaiphal has essential volatile oils like myristicin, elemicin, eugenol, and safrole with powerful anti-inflammatory properties that are well-known to ease muscle and joint pain and lessen swelling.
- Nutmeg has a calming effect when consumed in smaller doses. Various ancient medicinal practices credit it for its sleep inducing and de-stressing effects. According to Ayurveda, you should add a pinch of Nutmeg to a glass of warm milk and have it before sleeping.
- It helps in the secretion of digestive enzymes, bringing relief and promoting bowel movement. The carminative effect helps remove excessive gas from the system and easing any digestive issues you may be suffering from.
- Jaiphal helps eliminate toxins from the liver and kidneys and cleanse the system.
- The antibacterial properties help against harmful bacteria that cause dental cavities and gum disease. Additionally, the essential eugenol oil aids in easing toothaches.
- The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of Jaiphal help the skin’s natural glow and radiance. The cleansing property wards off blackheads, treats acne, and unclog the pores. The bioactive compounds mace lignan in Jaiphal aids in slowing down premature ageing and oil is well-known for its skin rejuvenating properties.
- Its high mineral content makes jaiphal a good ingredient for regulating blood circulation and pressure. It contains calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese which are all essential for various functions in the body.
The jaiphal tree originates in Banda, the largest of the Molucca spice islands of Indonesia. The English word jaiphal comes from the Latin nux, meaning nut, and muscat, meaning musky. Both jaiphal and mace were discovered as early as the 1st century A.D. when Roman author Pliny spoke of a tree bearing nuts with two flavours. Later, Emperor Henry VI had the streets of Rome fumigated with jaiphal before his coronation. In the 6th century, jaiphal was brought by Arab merchants to Constantinople. In the 14th century, half a kilogram of jaiphal cost as much as three sheep or a cow. But it was the 1600s when jaiphal became worthy of starting wars! The Dutch waged a bloody war, including the massacre and enslavement of the inhabitants of the island of Banda, just to control jaiphal production in the East Indies. All this because jaiphal was fashionable among the wealthy as a hallucinogenic and could make you feel as if you were floating.
Has been standardized for volatile oils ensuring the content of Phenyl-Propanoid remains unchanged in the extraction process.
Interactions: Nutmeg should always be used in smaller doses whether in cooking or in home remedies for treating various ailments. If used in larger doses, it can cause nausea, hallucination, and palpitations.
Managing Insomnia: A pilot clinical trial was conducted by Prathibha C. K., Anandaraman P.V and Gopal G Nanda the Incharge of Dr. A. L. Research Centre for Ayurveda in Tamil Nadu on 10 individuals who were suffering from insomnia. They were administered with Myristica fragrans powder daily after food for 14 days. After 14 days of regular administration of jaiphal, it was concluded that jaiphal is an effective drug in managing insomnia.
Antibacterial: A research was conducted by Ben Lagha, O.M from the Department of Food Science, University Putra Malaysia to understand the antibacterial activity of Nutmeg extract on against foodborne pathogens. The nutmeg extract along with crude oil and distilled water was used on food under various conditions and temperatures. After the 10th and 14th day of examination, it was concluded that Nutmeg (M. fragrans Houtt.) extract exhibited antibacterial activity against foodborne pathogens and can be used as a natural preservative.
Antioxidant and antibacterial: A review on Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of Nutmeg was conducted and published in Academic Press by Ashish Deep Gupta from Mangalayatan University, Uttar Pradesh. He cited in the journal that various extracts and the essential oil of nutmeg seeds have presented strong antimicrobial activity and due to its high antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, nutmeg could be considered as a significant natural source of antioxidants and antimicrobials. Nutmeg, being a natural product, can offer more safety to people and the environment and is considered to be less of a risk for resistance development by pathogenic microorganisms.
Immunity Report: A review was conducted by Rafia Rehman from the University of Okara, Pakistan on the uses and biological properties of Nutmeg. She cited that Nutmeg is considered an essential ingredient in numerous industrial applications ranging from food to cosmetics. Its pharmaceutical products are also important due to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Her finding on the Immuno-modulatory and radio-protective activities of nutmeg was similar. The lignans present in fresh nutmeg show radio modifying and immune-modulatory properties, present in the aqueous extract of fresh nutmeg.