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Herbal Remedies and Their Possible Effect on the GABAergic System and Sleep

1
Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, Sapienza University, 00185 Rome, Italy
2
Department of Neurology, Ospedale San Raffaele Turro, 20127 Milan, Italy
3
Sleep Disorders Center, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, 20132 Milan, Italy
4
Department of Medical Affairs, Sanofi Consumer HealthCare, 20158 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Megan A. McCrory
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020530
Received: 13 January 2021 / Revised: 29 January 2021 / Accepted: 2 February 2021 / Published: 6 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Phytochemicals and Human Health)
Sleep is an essential component of physical and emotional well-being, and lack, or disruption, of sleep due to insomnia is a highly prevalent problem. The interest in complementary and alternative medicines for treating or preventing insomnia has increased recently. Centuries-old herbal treatments, popular for their safety and effectiveness, include valerian, passionflower, lemon balm, lavender, and Californian poppy. These herbal medicines have been shown to reduce sleep latency and increase subjective and objective measures of sleep quality. Research into their molecular components revealed that their sedative and sleep-promoting properties rely on interactions with various neurotransmitter systems in the brain. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that plays a major role in controlling different vigilance states. GABA receptors are the targets of many pharmacological treatments for insomnia, such as benzodiazepines. Here, we perform a systematic analysis of studies assessing the mechanisms of action of various herbal medicines on different subtypes of GABA receptors in the context of sleep control. Currently available evidence suggests that herbal extracts may exert some of their hypnotic and anxiolytic activity through interacting with GABA receptors and modulating GABAergic signaling in the brain, but their mechanism of action in the treatment of insomnia is not completely understood. View Full-Text
Keywords: gamma-aminobutyric acid; GABA receptors; sleep; insomnia; herbal medicine gamma-aminobutyric acid; GABA receptors; sleep; insomnia; herbal medicine
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bruni, O.; Ferini-Strambi, L.; Giacomoni, E.; Pellegrino, P. Herbal Remedies and Their Possible Effect on the GABAergic System and Sleep. Nutrients 2021, 13, 530. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020530

AMA Style

Bruni O, Ferini-Strambi L, Giacomoni E, Pellegrino P. Herbal Remedies and Their Possible Effect on the GABAergic System and Sleep. Nutrients. 2021; 13(2):530. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020530

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bruni, Oliviero, Luigi Ferini-Strambi, Elena Giacomoni, and Paolo Pellegrino. 2021. "Herbal Remedies and Their Possible Effect on the GABAergic System and Sleep" Nutrients 13, no. 2: 530. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020530

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