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Sedonium - I occasionally take diazepam, but wonder if there is an alternative I could try for anxiety and insomnia?

I occasionally take diazepam, but wonder if there is an alternative I could try for anxiety and insomnia?

Valerian is one of the most effective herbal remedies for stress, anxiety and insomnia. A pharmacy-only standardised extract called Sedonium, which has been licensed by the Medicines Control Agency for sleep disorders, is now available.

Clinical trials in both Germany and the UK have shown that Sedonium (600mg taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime) improves the ability to fall asleep, and the onset and development of deep, short-wave sleep. It is also effective for mild anxiety, when taken at a dose of 600mg up to three times daily (about 5.99 for 30 tablets, from pharmacies).

Another option is an ayurvedic tea called Higher Calming, which contains soothing chamomile plus Brahmi, a herb used in Indian medicine to help balance the nervous system (about 2.45 for 20 sachets; for stockists and mail order, tel: 020 7483 2681). Avoid caffeinated drinks which may increase anxiety and insomnia.

Niacinamide (a particular form of vitamin B3) is used by some nutritional therapists to help reduce anxiety, as is inositol. St John's wort seems to improve anxiety as well as mild depression, and is worth trying if you also feel low (check with a pharmacist for interactions, if taking any prescribed medications - it is best not combined with diazepam).

Rhodiola is an interesting alpine herb that helps you adapt to stress, and improves physical and mental fatigue as well as sleep (try Quest's Standardised Rhodiola, about 5.99 for 30 tablets, from healthfood shops).

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