Can Herbal Tea Help You Get to Sleep?

Many herbal teas makers claim that their products will help you get to sleep at night.  A recent episode of the British television series Food Unwrapped asks: “Can bedtime teas really help us sleep?”

In season 13 episode 6, the program talks with herbalist Katie Pande.  Pande explains that some teas can help relax you.  Chamomile contains chamazulene (which relaxes the nervous system) and apigenin (a mild sedative).  Lavender can also relax the mind and body.

However, neither tea has any direct impact on your sleeping patterns.

The good news is that there is an herb – valerian root – that is scientifically proven to help with sleep.  The bad news is that it smells like cat urine.  While some teas contain small amounts of valerian, Pande says, you would need to drink eight cups for it to have any effect.  (This, of course, would cause a different challenge for you sleeping through the night… )

What is the connection to Agilent?  The episode also visits Tilman, a Belgian tea company that is making valerian into herbal tablets.  Tilman’s laboratory prominently features an Agilent High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph.

Sadly, the episode of Food Unwrapped is no longer available online.  But a video on Tilman’s website also features the Agilent HPLC instrument.  Agilent employee Andrew Coffey has pointed me to an English version on YouTube.  Check it out at about the 1:00 minute mark.

Thanks Andrew!

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