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I have recently had to make a decision about meds for anxiety and insomnia. I would prefer to take herbs and my question is will their be any interaction if I take Valerian for sleep, St.Johns wort for anxiety, Fenugreek & Thyme for energy. I was also given Holy Basil, Liquid green tea complex and liquid Ginkgo Biloba. I don’t feel that I was given adequate instructions. Could you Help Me?


There are no known negative interactions with the above listed herbs you mentioned.  Valerian can be very helpful for sleep but it largely depends on the severity of the insomnia.  I find it most helpful for mild to moderate cases.  Adding melatonin or magnesium may improve your results if your insomnia does not respond to the valerian alone.  It is important to note that a small percentage of people are stimulated by valerian. 


If you are struggling with depression and anxiety in addition to your insomnia you may want to consider 5-HTP.  This amino acid promotes the production of serotonin and melatonin.  When taken before bed (50mg-200mg) it can be a great sleep aid and will also support mood.  You can try taking a small amount in the morning and then a larger dose before bed.  *Discontinue the 5-HTP if you decide to start prescription anti-depressants.


St. Johns wort can be very helpful for mild to moderate depression.  It is safe to combine with the 5-HTP if you keep the doses of 5-HTp on the lower end (50mg-100mg).  L-Theanine is an extract from green tea that often works very well for reducing feelings of anxiety.  Your green tea liquid will not contain high enough amounts to significantly influence your anxiety.  Like 5-HTP, discontinue the St. John’s Wort if you start prescription anti-depressants. 


I have never used Fenugreek or Thyme for boosting energy levels.  They are more commonly used for digestive complaints.  I would be more likely to suggest things like B-complex and sublingual B12 for energy.  Holy basil is a wonderful herb and can be great at helping the body to cope with stress.  The liquid green tea extract should also help to support energy levels.  


Gingko biloba is traditionally used for memory enhancement.  It is thought to increase blood circulation to the brain.  It does have some potential blood thinning properties like fish oil, so be careful if you are combining it with other blood thinning medications or over the counter products like aspirin. 

Back to all Questions     View More by Dr. Kevin Passero

Lead Medical Director

As a certified and fully trained Naturopathic Doctor, Passero has trained and preceptored with some of the nation's leading doctors in the field of natural medicine, working under the guidance of MD’s, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists. Furthermore, he is currently the Vice President of the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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