Natural Products from Single Plants as Sleep Aids: A Systematic Review

Jungyoon Kim, Suji L. Lee, Ilhyang Kang, Youme A. Song, Jiyoung Ma, Young Sun Hong, Shinwon Park, Seog In Moon, Soojeong Kim, Semi Jeong, Jieun E. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Insufficient sleep, insomnia, and sleep-related problems are important health issues, as their overall prevalence accounts for about 30% of the general population. The aim of this study was to systematically review previous studies investigating the effects of orally administered single plant-derived extracts on sleep-related outcomes in humans. Data sources were PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane Library. The data search was conducted in two steps: step 1, names of plants which have been studied as sleep aids in humans were searched and retrieved; and step 2, each ingredient listed in step 1 was then added into the search term. Only original articles or reviews were applicable to the scope of this review. Studies on human subjects, with or without sleep-related disorders, were included. Sleep-related disorders refer to not only insomnia or sleep behavior disorders but also diseases with sleep-related symptoms. Studies were considered eligible for this review when the plant extracts were administered orally. Outcome measures relevant to sleep quality, duration, or other sleep-related problems were included. Twenty-one plants were listed in the first step of the search as potential candidates for natural sleep aids. Seventy-nine articles using these single plant-derived natural products were included in the final review. Although valerian was most frequently studied, conflicting results were reported, possibly due to the various outcome measures of each study. Other plants were not as rigorously tested in human studies. There was limited evidence with inconclusive results regarding the effects of single plant-derived natural products on sleep, warranting further studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-444
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medicinal Food
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (IPET) through High Value-Added Food Technology Development Program, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) (116004-2), Fire Fighting Safety & 119 Rescue Technology Research and Development Program funded by the Ministry of Public Safety and Security (MPSS-Fire Fighting Safety-2016-86), and the Brain Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2015M3C7A1028376).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. and Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition 2018.


  • insomnia
  • natural products
  • plant extracts
  • sleep
  • sleep aids


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