How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks: 15 Home Remedies

How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks: 15 Home Remedies

Stretch Marks can be a source of insecurity for many people, both men, and women. If you’re looking for how to get rid of stretch marks, there are a few things you can do at home that may help lessen their appearance.

Join our herbal expert’s here at to find out 15 of the best ways to reduce the appearance of stretch marks at home and keep your skin nourished and hydrated.

15 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Stretch Marks

1. Aloe vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is well known for soothing and treating many skin conditions, including stretch marks.

The active ingredients in aloe vera such as gibberellins, glucomannans, and polysaccharides can help repair skin tissue.

Aloe vera Gel for Stretch Marks
Aloe vera also contains rich amounts of vitamins A, C, and E, which can help improve the appearance of stretch marks.

Simply apply the gel to the affected area and massage it in. Alternatively, you can snip leaves open on your Aloe Vera plant and apply them directly to your skin.

The best way to do this is to refrigerate the leaves for about an hour before applying them, as this will help numb the skin and reduce any redness or irritation.

Applying aloe vera to your stretch marks can help them heal and fade away quickly. It’s also a natural remedy with very few side effects, making it safe for most people to use.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another popular home remedy for stretch marks. It contains acetic acid, which may help improve the appearance of stretch marks by making them less visible.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Stretch Marks

Apple cider vinegar also helps to balance the pH levels of your skin, which can prevent further damage.

To use it, mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water. Apply the mixture to your stretch marks using a cotton ball. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.

You can do this once or twice a day, depending on how sensitive your skin is.

3. Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is another popular remedy for stretch marks, particularly during pregnancy.

The fatty acids in cocoa butter help to nourish and hydrate the skin, which can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Cocoa Butter for Stretch Marks
You can apply cocoa butter to the affected area several times a day for the best results. Use a quality product that is high in cocoa butter content for the best results.

4. Egg Whites

Egg whites are another inexpensive and easily accessible remedy for stretch marks.

The protein and amino acids in egg whites help to repair and regenerate skin tissue.

Egg Whites for Stretch Marks
Simply apply egg whites to the affected area and allow them to dry for about 15 minutes before rinsing off. Do this once or twice a day for the best results.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that can also help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It contains vitamins E and A, which are both excellent for healing skin.

Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, which help to repair and protect skin from further damage.

Coconut Oil for Stretch Marks
Simply massage the oil into the affected area for a few minutes each day. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil to help reduce inflammation.

Apply coconut oil to the affected area twice a day.

Simply massage the oil into the affected area in a circular motion. Leave it on for at least 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

6. Castor Oil

Castor oil is another natural remedy that can help with stretch marks. Apply it to the skin and massage it in, then cover the area with a warm towel. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off.

Castor Oil for Stretch Marks
Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Castor oil also contains omega-9 fatty acids, which can help to moisturize the skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

7. Baking Soda

Another option is to make a mixture of one part baking soda and two parts water. Apply it to the skin and massage it in, then rinse it off with warm water.

Baking soda contains anti-inflammatory properties that can

Baking Soda for Stretch Marks
help to soothe the skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

It also contains properties that can help to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells.

8. Lemon Juice

You can also try using lemon juice on your stretch marks. Apply it to the skin and let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

Lemon juice contains citric acid, which can help to fade the

Lemon Juice for Stretch Marks
appearance of stretch marks. Lemon juice also has bleaching properties, so it may also help to lighten the skin around the stretch marks.

9. Cocoa Butter and Vitamin E Oil

Another home remedy is to mix equal parts of cocoa butter and vitamin E oil. Apply it to the skin and massage it in, then cover the area with a warm towel. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off.

10. Aloe vera Gel and Vitamin E Oil

Mix 1/2 cup of aloe vera gel and 1/2 cup of vitamin E oil. Apply it to the skin and massage it in.

Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off. Vitamin oil is used to help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

Aloe vera has also been shown to be effective in reducing the appearance of scars.

Vitamin E oil contains antioxidants that can help to repair damaged skin cells. Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer that can help to keep the skin hydrated.

11. Olive Oil, Aloe vera Gel and Vitamin E Oil

You can also try a mixture of 1 tablespoon each of olive oil, aloe vera gel, and vitamin E oil.

Apply it to the skin and massage it in. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off.

12. Olive Oil and Sugar

To help reduces the appearance of stretch marks, apply a mixture of 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of sugar to the skin.

Massage it in and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off.

Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off. Olive oil is full of nutrients that can help to nourish and repair the skin.

13. Sugar Scrub

A sugar scrub on the skin is also effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Sugar is a natural exfoliant, so it will help to remove dead skin cells and promote new cell growth.

Mix equal parts of sugar and olive oil, then massage it into the skin in circular motions.

Rinse it off after a few minutes. Olive oil has moisturizing properties that can help to keep the skin soft and hydrated.

14. Coffee Grounds

You can also try using a coffee scrub. Coffee grounds can help to exfoliate the skin and improve circulation.

Mix 1/2 cup of coffee grounds and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Massage it into the skin in circular motions, then rinse it off.

Coffee also has antioxidant properties that can help to protect the skin from damage.

15. Vitamin C Serum

Finally, you can try using vitamin C serum on the skin. Apply it to the skin and let it sit for at least 15 minutes before rinsing.

Vitamin C contains antioxidants that can help to promote collagen production and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

And to end on…

I hope you found the recipes here useful to help reduce stretch marks and hopefully you may try some!

Many of them use ingredients you will find already in your food cupboards and all are relatively cheap and easy to get hold of.

There are of course many herbal products you can buy too, so don’t forget to head over before you go and  check out our review of Revamin stretch mark cream here.

10 Best Herbs for Sleep: Efficacy & Usage

10 Best Herbs for Sleep: Efficacy & Usage

Recent research by the National Institutes of Health shows that nearly one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep.

This means that millions of people are dealing with the effects of sleep deprivation, which can include irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

So, what can you do to get a better night’s sleep?

While many products on the market claim to help you sleep, not all of them are effective—or even safe.

So, our experts on herbs here at have put together a list of the 10 best herbs for sleep, all of which have been proven to be effective in helping you get a good night’s rest.

First, let’s get a quick takeaway before we look at these herbs in more detail.

  1. Chamomile
  2. Valerian Root
  3. Hops
  4. Lavender
  5. Skullcap
  6. Passionflower
  7. Ashwagandha
  8. Lemon Balm
  9. Magnolia Bark
  10. St. John’s Wort

1. Chamomile

Chamomile is a daisy-like herb that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of

ailments, including insomnia. The

sedative properties of chamomile are

really helpful for the quality of sleep.

Img_Chamomile for Sleep
Chamomile has two varieties: one is German chamomile and the other is Roman chamomile. But German chamomile is good for sleep.

Chamomile tea is a popular way to consume the herb, and it is generally considered safe with few side effects. Apart from that, chamomile can also be consumed in various forms.

Clinical Efficacy of Chamomile for Sleep

A 2011 study found that chamomile tea was effective in reducing Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores—a measure of the severity of insomnia symptoms—in a group of adults with mild-to-moderate insomnia.

Another 2016 study found that chamomile tea ameliorated the quality of sleep in postpartum women.

Chamomile also bears good news for elderly people. Because medical scientists found proof of chamomile to improve the sleep quality of elderly people.

As in 2017, a single-blind study on 60 elderly people for a period of 28 days demonstrated that chamomile extract at a dose of 200 mg twice a day improved the quality of sleep among them significantly and safely.

Likewise, another 2017 study on 77 elderly people ranging for 4 weeks showed that oral supplementation of 400 mg of chamomile extracts twice a day improved sleep quality among them.

Experience of the Chamomile Users

The experience of the people with chamomile tea and supplements is highly satisfactory.

After observing the customer reviews, I found that the users of the tea produced only with the ingredient of chamomile didn’t mention anything about their sleep conditions. Rather they gave positive reviews stating the good scent, quality, and calming effects of the tea.

But the customers who took chamomile tea produced in the combination with other herbs like lavender, lemon balm, and valerian directly mentioned their improvement in sleep quality after taking the same. I found no customers to complain of any side effects of the said tea.

Likewise, chamomile supplement users also reviewed that they experienced better sleep at night.

In this respect, several brands of chamomile in supplement and tea forms are found to be favorite to consumers.

How to Use Chamomile for Sleep

One of the best ways to take chamomile for sleep is by drinking chamomile tea before bed to help you get a restful night’s sleep.

Chamomile is also available in capsule and tincture form.

How to Prepare Chamomile Tea

You can follow your own style of preparing chamomile tea. But you should always prepare chamomile tea in a covered pot to prevent evaporation, as medicinal properties may go away through evaporation (1).

In chamomile tea preparation, you may follow the following method:

Take 2 grams of dried flowers and mix them with 300 ml of hot water. Then steep them for 10 to 15 minutes (2).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Chamomile for Sleep

There is a common practice of taking chamomile as tea 1 to 4 cups daily. But an ideal dose of chamomile tea for sleep is one cup daily half an hour before bedtime as proved by human trials (3).

If you use it in tablet or capsule form, you may take at a dose ranging from 400 mg to 1500 mg of chamomile daily.

In liquid extract and tincture forms, no research is available. In this respect, you have to depend on the doses mentioned on the level of the product.

Chamomile is generally safe at doses equivalent to those found in tea (4).

But in different studies, there is proof of using chamomile extract in the form of tablets or capsules at a dose of 400 mg to 1500mg without any side effects.

Certainly, it is convincing that 400 mg to 1500 mg is the safe dose of chamomile. But it may vary from person to person. So, in using chamomile start from the lowest dose, then increase the dose slowly as per the capacity of your body. But in no way you should exceed the highest dose of 1500mg.

Use of Chamomile in Pregnancy

One of the causes of giving chamomile the highest position in the list of the best herbs for sleep is due to its safety and efficacy during the period of pregnancy.

Though Herbal Safety warns that chamomile may cause uterine contractions, a recent research article of 2020 available in PubMed database shows that chamomile in tea and infusion forms is safe in moderate dosage during pregnancy (5).

However, there is a prohibition to consume a higher amount of chamomile due to the risk of adverse maternal and perinatal effects.

Side Effects

Though uncommon, chamomile has some side effects such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Allergic reactions
  • Vomiting in the case of a higher dose

In the rare case, there is also a record of Anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction) due to the use of chamomile products.

Risk & Interactions

Chamomile may interact with some prescription medicine like cyclosporine (medicine to prevent organ rejection)  and warfarin (blood thinning medication) (6).

2. Valerian Root

Valerian root is one of the top-rated

herbs for sleep. For inducing sleep, it

has no alternative. It is an herb that

has been used to treat insomnia and

anxiety for centuries.

Img_Valerian Root for Sleep
It is thought to work by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.

Clinical Proof of Valerian Root for Sleep

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 128 participants found that valerian root significantly improved sleep quality without morning grogginess or side effects.

A 2020 research journal article after reviewing 60 studies on valerian root reached the conclusion that valerian root is an effective herb as a natural sleep aid (7).

Experience of the Valerian Root Users

Most of the valerian root users on amazon gave positive reviews stating that they got the benefit in the improvement of their sleep quality.

However, valerian in supplement forms is found to work better for sleep.

In the case of the usage of valerian tea, the consumers expressed their satisfaction with the taste and quality of valerian without mentioning its effect on their sleep quality.

But as recognized by the consumers, tea produced in a combination with valerian, passionflower, lemon balm, and peppermint gave the expected result in improving their sleep disorders.

How to Use Valerian Root for Sleep

Valerian root is available in capsules, tablets, teas, and tinctures. It can be taken orally or applied topically in a cream.

How to Prepare Valerian Tea

Take one cup of hot water. Add the dried valerian root to the hot water. Let it stay 10 to 15 minutes and then strain it. Now your valerian tea is ready (8).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Valerian Root for Sleep

Since there is a lack of sufficient research, Mayo Clinic suggests not taking valerian for more than several weeks at a time.

In accordance with different studies safe and therapeutic dosage of valerian root for sleep ranges from 300mg to 600mg in capsule form and 2 to 3 g in the form of dried root (9).

Use of Valerian Root in Pregnancy

It is not possible to say with certainty that valerian root is safe or unsafe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Because enough research is not available as to the risks of valerian root during pregnancy.

For this reason, experts discourage taking valerian during the period of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Side Effects

A lot of studies, though not sufficient, found valerian to be safe as a sleep aid for the short term (10).

A 2020 review study after reviewing 60 research articles on valerian root found no severe adverse effect of valerian root among the subjects between 7 and 80 years of age (11).

But people may experience some side effects of valerian:

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness

Risks and Interactions

Avoid driving after taking valerian because valerian may cause drowsiness. There is a risk of the interaction of chamomile with anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs. Apart from that, it may also interact with drugs having sedative properties (12).

3. Hops

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant, which is used to flavor beer.

But hops can also be used as a sedative herb due to their bitter compounds, which have a calming effect on the nervous system. So, it has usages for the improvement of sleep quality.

Img_Hops for Sleep
Hops have different varieties. But Saaz and Saphir Varieties of hops show more efficacy to promote sleep compared to other varieties of hops (13).

Clinical Efficacy of Hops for Sleep

A study of hops uncovered that it has a positive effect on preserving the circadian activity/rest rhythm.

In clinical studies, it is found that for the improvement of sleep quality single use of hops did not show the expected result.

Rather hops with valerian demonstrated the best result for improving mild insomnia or reducing sleep latency (14, 15).

A comparative study between NSF 3 (a formulation of valerian, passion flower, and hops) and Zolpidem found that NSF 3 could be used as an alternative to Zolpidem for the short term.

Experience of the Hops Users

On marketplaces, most of the hops supplements users reviewed that hops improved their sleep condition.

But the experience of the customers with hops tea is very disappointing. They commented that far from being beneficial, it is so bitter as to be highly inedible.

How to Use Hops for Sleep

Hops are also available in capsules, teas, and tinctures. They can be taken orally or applied topically in a cream or ointment.

How to Prepare Hops Tea

Mix two cups of boiling water with 5-6 cones of hops flower. Let the mixture steep for 5-10 minutes. Then strain them. You may sweeten the tea as per your taste (16).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Hops for Sleep

The safe and therapeutic dosage of hops for sleep is 2 mg in capsule form (17).

As per the recommendation of the German Commission E monograph,

the usual dose for insomnia in the form of tea or a dry extract is 0.5 grams (18, 19).

In the form of tinctures, you can take 1/4–1/2 teaspoon two or three times per day (20).

Use of Hops in Pregnancy

Not enough research is available to confirm whether hops are safe during pregnancy. It is for this reason leading herbal companies, especially Gaia Herbs recommend not consuming hops during pregnancy.

Side Effects

Though very few, hops may have the following side effects (21):

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Hypersensitivity reactions

Risks and Interactions

Hops may interact with CYP2C substrate drugs such as anticoagulant, anticonvulsant, anti-diabetic, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (22).

4. Lavender

Lavender is a plant with a pleasant, fragrant aroma that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation.

The scent of lavender has been shown to slow down the activity of the nervous system, helping to promote sleep.

Img_Lavender for Sleep
Along with its relaxing aroma, this popular herb has a wealth of studies performed on its effectiveness and is one of the most used herbal remedies for sleep. 

Clinical Efficacy of Lavender for Sleep

A 2013 study by the University of Maryland Medical Center found that lavender oil may be an effective treatment for insomnia.

A 2015 4-week pilot study on 10 insomnia patients reported that lavender improved the quality of sleep significantly (23, 24).

Another 2015 study on 79 college students reported that lavender improved the quality of sleep.

Moreover, a 2020 review study found that lavender oil improved anxiety-induced sleep disorders.

Experience of the Lavender Users

Amazon customers using lavender oil reviewed that it helped them to fall asleep.

Apart from that, the consumers claimed that the lavender oil gave them dozens of benefits like relaxation, sedation, pain relief, etc. Also at the same time, they also described that the scent of the lavender oil is excellent.

I did not find tea made only with lavender in the market. So, it is not possible to know about its effect on sleep.

However, teas made in a mixture of lavender and chamomile are available in the market. Certainly, consumers of this tea claimed that it gave them a sound sleep.

How to Use Lavender for Sleep

Lavender is available in oil, capsules, teas, and tinctures.

For improving the quality of sleep, lavender is popularly used as an oil. The oil can be taken orally or inhaled. However, the oil can also be applied topically for treating numerous skin diseases.

For a restorative night’s sleep add 3 drops of lavender oil to a tablespoon of apricot oil and add to a deep running bath before bed.

How to Prepare Lavender Tea

Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh lavender buds into 250 ml of boiling water and let them steep for 10 minutes (25).

How to Inhale Lavender Oil

As suggested by the experts, you should inhale the lavender oil for about half an hour in a well-ventilated room (26).

Now the question is- what is the way of inhaling lavender oil?

Yes, you can inhale lavender oil in the following ways (27, 28):

  1. Spray a few drops of lavender oil on a cloth and inhale directly; or
  2. Put a few drops of lavender oil into an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer and then diffuse it into the air in the room; or
  1. Mix 2 to 4 drops of lavender oil into 2 to 3 cups of boiling water. Then inhale the vapors arising out of the oil mixed with boiling water.

Best Lavender Oil for Sleep

There are various brands of lavender oil that show efficacy in improving sleep quality in their proper use. But Silexan lavender oil available in the 80-mg capsule was found to be clinically effective to improve anxiety-related sleep disturbances without causing any adverse effects and drug interaction (29, 30).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Lavender for Sleep

Lavender oil in the form of a capsule at a daily dose of 80 mg or 160 mg is found to be safe, tolerable, and effective for sleep as well as anxiety (31, 32, 33). But some suggest 20mg to 80mg as an effective dose of lavender (34). However, the most popular effective dose is 80mg per day.

For inhalation recommended dose is 2 to 4 drops of lavender oil (35).

The dose of lavender tincture is 20 to 40 drops, three times a day (36).

As a tea, you can take 1 to 3 cups a day using 1 to 2 teaspoons of whole herbs per cup (37).

Use of Lavender in Pregnancy 

University of Maryland Medical Center recommends avoiding using lavender during pregnancy and breastfeeding (38).

Side Effects

Though lavender is safe, when taken orally it may cause the following side effects (39, 40):

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness in the case of excessive consumption
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Increase of appetite or diarrhea

Besides, in the case of inhaling lavender, people may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, chills, and irritation of the lungs and eyes (41).

In using lavender oil take care so that it cannot come into direct contact with your skin. Because concentrated lavender oil causes severe skin irritation.

Risks and Interactions

As per the study of the New England Journal of Medicine, there is a risk of gynecomastia, and breast development in boys in the case of using shampoos, soaps, and lotions that contained lavender and tea oils (42).

The German Commission E Monographs did not report any sort of interactions with lavender (43). But University of Maryland Medical Center apprehends that lavender may interact with sedative medications (44).

5. Skullcap

Skullcap is a member of the mint family that is native to North America. It has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia.

Skullcap is thought to work by increasing levels of GABA in the brain.

Img_Skullcap for Sleep

Clinical Efficacy of Skullcap for Sleep

One study found that taking skullcap extract can improve sleep quality in people with chronic insomnia.

The University of Westminster in a study found that the American skullcap has anxiolytic and mood-enhancing capacity.

But ScienceDirect after reviewing the literature on skullcap concluded that skullcap is not effective as a sleep aid.

Experience of the Skullcap Users

The consumers using skullcaps in supplement forms expressed their satisfaction stating that they got a good sleep at night.

But the consumers using skullcaps teas said nothing as to their effect on insomnia. Rather they spoke of the quality, and taste of the product.

How to Use Skullcap for Sleep

Some of the most popular ways of taking this herb are by drinking skullcap tea or taking it in supplement form.

Skullcap tastes a little like mint but does have a bitter taste. So many people also add a natural sweetener like honey to taste when taking tea before bed.

How to Prepare Skullcap Tea

Take 1-2 grams of dried skullcap and then mix the same in 150 ml of boiling water. After that let the mixture steep for 5 to 10 minutes and strain (45).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Skullcap for Sleep

Skullcap is generally considered safe when taken in small doses. As per different studies, the following specific doses have been found to be safe and effective.

Whole herb: 1 to 2 grams daily (46).

Supplement: 100-350 mg three times daily (47).

Use of Skullcap in Pregnancy

It should not be taken by people who are pregnant or breastfeeding (48).

Side Effects

Researchers found several instances of liver injury in the case of the usage of skullcaps (49).

Besides, it may cause other side effects such as irregular heartbeat, stomach pain, anxiety, drowsiness, and mental confusion (50, 51).

Risks and Interactions

Skullcap may interact with sedative medications moderately by way of causing breathing problems and too much sleepiness (52).

6. Passionflower

Passionflower is a climbing vine that is native to the southeastern United States.

Its leaves and flowers have been used for centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety and insomnia.

Img_Passion Flower for Sleep

Clinical Efficacy of Passionflower for Sleep

According to recent research, passionflower is effective in treating mild-to-moderate anxiety. It can also help improve sleep quality in people with insomnia.

A 2011 study demonstrated that passion flowers in the form of tea provided improvement in sleep for a short period of time.

Experience of the Passion Flower Users

The passionflower supplement users gave positive reviews as to its efficacy in the improvement of their sleep quality.

Likewise, passion flower teas produced in combination with other ingredients also gave the expected results in solving the sleep problems of the consumers.

How to Use Passion Flower for Sleep

To use passionflower for sleep can be consumed in tea form or taken in supplement form.

For a restful night’s sleep, try sipping a cup of passionflower tea just before you go to bed.

How to Prepare Passion Flower Tea

Mix 2 grams of dried passion flower in a cup of boiling water and steep for 10 to 15 minutes and then strain the mixture (53).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Passion Flower for Sleep

Tea: Research shows that one single cup of passion flower tea is enough to improve your sleep (54).

Supplement: As per Nootropics Expert, the dose of passion flower extract for sleep is 200 to 400mg before bed.  In a study, NIH found 800mg of passion flower extract to be safe. NIH further provided that the flower extract in an excessive amount of 3.5 grams may be unsafe.

Use of Passion Flower in Pregnancy

The National Institute of Health (USA) forbids to use passion flowers because they may cause uterine contraction (55). With regard to its use during breastfeeding, the statement of NIH is that there is little knowledge as to the safety of using passion flowers while breastfeeding (56). 

Actually, in this respect, no research is available as to the impact of passion flowers on pregnant and breastfeeding women.

But 5 individual cases as to the effect of passion flowers on pregnant women have been recorded (57, 58). In these cases, any sort of birth defects or abnormalities as to growth was not found. Rather there was neonatal death in one pregnancy and premature rupture of membranes in two pregnancies. Also at the same time, two infants were found with meconium aspiration syndrome and one with persistent pulmonary hypertension.

Side Effects

Passionflower is generally considered safe when taken in small doses.

However, it may cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion (59, 60). Apart from that, in some cases, it may also cause cardiac dysrhythmia, headache, allergic reactions, and asthma (61). Moreover, an overdose may cause depression, nausea, and vomiting (62).

Risks and Interactions

There is no specific data on the interaction of passion flowers with other medications.

As a general rule since herbal products may interact with anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, and anesthesia drugs. Certainly, in absence of specific information with regard to the interaction of passion flowers, it is commonly said that passion flowers may interact with the above-mentioned medications.

So, if you want to undergo anesthesia and surgery, stop using passion flowers two weeks before surgery.

Although before surgery there is a suggestion of avoiding passion flowers, surprisingly there is proof of the successful using passion flowers for reducing anxiety before surgery (63).

7. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine. It is classified as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body cope with stress. Consequently, it is helpful for improving sleep quality.

Img_Ashwagandha for Sleep

Clinical Efficacy of Ashwagandha for Sleep

Many studies have found that ashwagandha may also help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also help improve sleep quality in people with insomnia.

An animal study shows that ashwagandha root or leaf powder has the capacity to improve the quality of sleep. Specially ashwagandha leaves contain TEF, a sleep-inducing small molecule.

Experience of Ashwagandha Users

It is convincing from the reviews of ashwagandha supplements that the consumers got the expected result to get rid of anxiety and sleep problems. In this respect, the ashwagandha of Gaia brands seems to be the favorite brand to the consumers.

With regard to the ashwagandha tea the consumers reviewed that Tipson ashwagandha blueberry gave them relaxing, and calming effects.

How to Use Ashwagandha for Sleep

Most people take it in powder form or a capsule which can fit with your nighttime routine to promote a restful night’s sleep. It can also be taken as a tea.

How to Prepare Ashwagandha Tea

You can prepare tea in the following methods (64):

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of ashwagandha powder to 250 ml of boiling water. Let the powder steep for 10-15 minutes. Then strain the powder, if you think it necessary.
  2. Take a few pieces of Ashwagandha root and put the same in 250 ml of boiling water. Then steep them for 15 to 20 minutes. After steeping, strain the water.

Ashwagandha Sleep Tonic

For improving sleep quality, you can drink the following sleep tonic made with ashwagandha (65):

Add 1 teaspoon of ashwagandha powder to one cup of cow milk and then add honey as per your taste. Now your sleep tonic is ready to drink.

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Ashwagandha for Sleep

Except in the extracted form of ashwagandha, there is no specific dosage recommendation for sleep.

Supplement: 500 to 600mg per day for 6 to 12 weeks (66)

For whole herbs and tea, the typical dosages are (67):

  • Whole herbs: 5-6 grams daily
  • Tea: 3 to 4 cups daily

Use of Ashwagandha in Pregnancy

As per a leading health website, ashwagandha is likely unsafe during pregnancy. There is a record that ashwagandha has the possibility to cause miscarriages. 

Side Effects

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe when taken in small doses. However, a higher dose of ashwagandha can cause side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting (68).

Risks and Interactions

Ashwagandha may interact with sedative medications, thyroid hormones, antidiabetic drugs, and antihypertensive drugs.

8. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb that is part of the mint family. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety, insomnia, and indigestion.

Img_Lemon Balm for Sleep

Clinical Efficacy of Lemon Balm for Sleep

Recent studies on lemon balm have uncovered that it may indeed be effective in treating insomnia and anxiety.

One study by the University of Maryland showed that lemon balm was able to significantly improve sleep quality in a group of test subjects.

Lemon balm is thought to work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.

This is important because GABA helps to regulate nerve cells and has a calming effect on the nervous system.

Experience of the Lemon Balm Users

The consumers using lemon balm supplements expressed their utmost satisfaction that the said supplements really worked to give them a good night’s sleep.

Also at the same time, the consumers of lemon balm tea reviewed that the gave them relaxation and calmness.

In my research, I did not find anyone to complain of any adverse effects of lemon balm, both in supplements and teas.

How to Use Lemon Balm for Sleep

You can find lemon balm supplements in most health food stores. It can also be taken as tea and tinctures.

Lemon Balm tea Recipe for Sleep

To make a lemon balm tea, steep 1 teaspoon (2 grams) of dried lemon balm leaves in 1 cup (237 ml) of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Lemon Balm for Sleep

Supplement: For both sleep and anxiety one effective dose of lemon balm pill is 300mg twice daily for 2 weeks (69). As a supplement cyracos lemon balm showed clinical efficacy to relieve anxiety and improve sleep quality.

Tea: As to the efficacy and dosage of lemon balm tea no research is available. As a tea for overall health benefits, you can take 4 cups of lemon balm tea daily. But Sleep Foundation suggests taking one cup of lemon balm tea before bedtime for quality sleep (70).

Tincture: In the form of tincture, you can take up to 60 drops daily (71).

Use of Lemon Balm in Pregnancy

America Pregnancy Association identified lemon balm as likely safe to use during pregnancy in the form of tea. So, if you want to use lemon balm tea while pregnant, you should use it with due care and caution with a limited dose under the supervision of your physician.

However, you should keep in mind that though the lemon balm does not contain any toxic constituents, it has not experimented in human pregnancy.

Although there are some opportunities to use lemon balm tea during pregnancy, lemon balm supplements should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Side Effects

Though lemon balm is well tolerated, it may cause some side effects occasionally. Different research reported the following side effects in some rare cases (72):

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Wheezing

Risks and Interaction

Avoid lemon balm while using thyroid hormone. Because it may decrease the effects of thyroid hormone.

9. Magnolia Bark

Magnolia bark is in the 9th position on our list of best herbs for improving sleep conditions.

The bark comes from the magnolia tree and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries.

Img_Magnolia Tree
It’s thought to be beneficial for sleep because it contains a substance called honokiol.
Img_Dried Magnolia Bark for Sleep

Clinical Efficacy of Magnolia Bark for Sleep

A recent study by researchers looked at the effects of magnolia bark on sleep quality in postmenopausal women.

After eight weeks of treatment, the women who took magnolia bark had significantly improved sleep quality, compared to those in the placebo group.

Another recent study on the palliative effect of magnolia tea on postpartum depression recommended taking magnolia tea as supplementary to improve sleep quality and alleviate the symptoms of depression (73).

Experience of the Magnolia Bark Users

The feelings of the magnolia bark users are mixed. On amazon, ratings of magnolia bark for sleep are satisfactory. Most of the customers reviewed that they experienced good sleep, and relaxation and also got rid of anxiety and depression. But few customers reviewed that they found no benefit from magnolia barks.

Regarding magnolia bark tea, consumer experience is mixed. Some found the tea delicious and helpful for anxiety, and others found it ineffective and tasteless. It has also come to my attention that magnolia bark tea is not so popular on the marketplaces.

How to Use Magnolia Bark for Sleep

Magnolia bark is available in supplements and can also be brewed into tea. But tea has some unpleasant taste due to its preparation from magnolia bark. So, if you do not like the taste, you can take it in the form of a supplement.

How to Prepare Magnolia Bark Tea 

You may prepare magnolia tea in the following way (74):

  1. Rinse the bark with cold water to remove the surface pollutants.
  2. Then soak the rinsed bark for 30 minutes.
  3. After soaking the bark, keep on heating the water with the bark.
  4. When it reaches boiling point, then simmer it covering with a lid at least for 30 minutes.
  5. At last strain the liquid.

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Magnolia Bark for Sleep

Tea: Research suggests taking one cup of magnolia tea at night to ameliorate sleep quality (75).

Supplements: For different purposes, the recommended dosage of magnolia bark extract is 200mg to 800mg/daily (76). It is pertinent to mention here that the dosage has been determined mainly on the basis of animal study.

One animal study shows that magnolia bark at a dose of 5-15mg/kg decreased sleep latency in mice (77).

For sleep purposes, only one human trial using magnolia bark is available. The human trial was conducted on menopausal women and was found to be effective to improve sleep quality.  But there was no single use of magnolia bark. Rather there was the use of magnolia bark in a combination of magnesium and other ingredients. Magnolia bark extract was 60mg and magnesium was 50mg.

Use of Magnolia Bark in Pregnancy

Avoid using magnolia bark during pregnancy due to the following reasons:

  1. Magnolia bark is not totally toxic-free, though the toxicity is in a very low amount (78).
  2. The safety of magnolia has not been experimented in human pregnancy.

Side Effects

Magnolia bark is generally safe and well tolerated for the short term.

But in very rare cases, people may experience some side effects. As they include (79):

  • Peri labial numbness
  • Heartburn
  • Shaking hands
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Sexual dysfunction

Besides, one animal study recorded an increase in kidney weight and reduction of food consumption in females of a higher dose group and slight fatty degeneration of the liver. So, there is some risk of kidney disease and liver damage.

Risks and Interaction

It may interact with anticoagulant and sedative medications.

Since the magnolia bark is a sedative, so it may cause drowsiness. Hence you should abstain from driving and operating heavy machinery.

Using a higher dose of magnolia may cause excessive sleepiness.

10. St. John’s Wort

St john’s wort is a plant with yellow flowers that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety and depression.

Img_St. John's Wort for Sleep

Clinical Efficacy of St John’s Wort for Sleep

Many studies have concluded that St. John’s wort may improve sleep quality in people with mild-to-moderate insomnia

Researchers believe the herb works by increasing levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that plays a role in sleep.

Experience of the St John’s Wort Users

Experiences of the St John’s Wort users are mixed. After reviewing different brands of St. John’s Wort available on Amazon, I found that customer reviews ratings range from 5.4 to 5.7. Most of the customers claimed that St john’s wort improved their anxiety and depression without any sort of side effects.

Apart from this, some customers got some extra benefits such as relief from pain, inflammation

A few customers giving negative reviews complain of some side effects of St john’s wort such as bloating, headache and heart palpitation, etc.

In my search, I have not found anyone to comment directly that St John’s wort improved their quality of sleep. Rather they frequently mentioned the improvement in their anxiety and depression. So, my observation is that St john’s wort may work for anxiety-induced sleep disorders.

How to Use St John’s Wort for Sleep

St John’s wort is available in supplements and teas.

St John’s Wort Tea Recipe for Sleep

Mix one teaspoon of dried St John’s wort with 150 ml of hot water. Then steep the herbs for 10 minutes.

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of St John’s Wort for Sleep

Actually, no direct research as to the effect of St John’s wort on sleep is not available. Rather anxiety and depression-related researches are available. Researchers while experimenting with the efficacy of St John’s wort on anxiety and depression found that the same has also improved the sleep quality of the subjects.

Since there is a direct association of insomnia with anxiety or depression, here dosages for sleep have been given in accordance with the dosage found in anxiety and depression-related research.

Supplement: 300 to 600 mg three times daily (80)

Tea: One cup per day.

But how many days, is St John’s wort safe?

In this regard, NIH and Mayo Clinic opine that it is safe for up to 12 weeks in proper dosage (81, 82).

Use of St John’s Wort in Pregnancy

Research published on Evidence Based Safety shows that the use of St John’s wort during pregnancy is safe (83).

But Mayo Clinic and European Medicines Agency suggest not using St John’s wort during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to a lack of sufficient studies (84, 85).

Moreover, NIH found in laboratory animal birth defects in the case of St John’s wort during pregnancy. Further, it also observed that breastfeeding children of mothers taking St John’s wort may expose to colic, drowsiness, and fussiness (86).

Side Effects

St John’s wort has various side effects. Even though it is used to treat anxiety and depression, and improve sleep quality, conversely it may in itself be the cause of anxiety and insomnia.

National Institutes of Health from the USA listed the following side effects of St John’s wort:

  • Sunlight sensitivity in the case of higher doses
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (Diarrhea, constipation, stomach discomfort)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual dysfunction

Risks and Interactions

As per NIH Mayo Clinic, St John wort may interact with the following medications:

  • Antidepressants
  • Birth Control Pill
  • Cyclosporine

Some Important Words for Dosage

The doses of commercially produced herbal supplements may not be consistent with the dosage mentioned in this article. Because doses may vary with the variation of the ratio of chemicals used in the process of extraction. In that respect, you should follow the dosage mentioned on the level of the product.

And to end on…

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about the best herbs which can promote a peaceful restful night’s sleep.

If you’re struggling with sleep, start by trying one or two of them. You may find that a combination of different herbs works best for you.

You may find by taking a supplement from one herb and tea with another for example, that you have the most success.

As with anything, working with a doctor or an expert herbalist can be helpful to make sure you are taking what is best for your specific needs.

Often sleep can be improved by making other lifestyle changes too, such as exercising during the day and having a regular sleep schedule.

Creating an environment that promotes relaxation in your bedroom can also be helpful.

5 Best Herbs for Stretch Marks Backed by Science Journals

5 Best Herbs for Stretch Marks Backed by Science Journals

The problem of Stretch marks occurs very often among women. So, if you suffer from stretch marks, do not worry. Because remedies are available in herbs that are grown without a care in your garden. Most of the world-class stretch marks creams are produced from these herbs. Among those herbs, we shall discuss the best ones that have a scientific basis. Let’s go ahead…

Best Herbs to Reduce Stretch Marks

1. Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola)

Centella Asiatica is popularly known as Gotu kola. It is called an elixir of life. Gotu kola has a strong scientific basis to prevent stretch marks and stimulate cell production and fibroblasts in striae distensae (stretch marks)  (1).

In a study on 25 volunteers, the researchers found that cosmetic formulations consisting of Centella Asiatica have moisturizing and anti-inflammatory effects (2). It is mentionable that formulation with 5% Centella Asiatica provided the best result.

In another study, it is found that Gotukola Extract Lotion (Centella Asiatica) is effective to decrease skin pigmentation, and stretch marks and also to increase skin moisture (3).

In a study of 80 pregnant women ranging from the 12th week of pregnancy until delivery, application of Trofolastin cream consisting of  Centella Asiatica extract, α-tocopherol, and collagen–elastin hydrolysates gave the following outcomes:

1. Striae Gavidarum  developed in a lower number of pregnant women in the treatment group compared with the placebo group.

2. The intensity of striae gravidarum was significantly lower in the treatment group than the placebo group.

3. The cream prevented the formation of striae gravidarum in 89% of the Women having a history of striae during puberty whereas in the placebo group all women formed striae gravidarum.

So, it is clear from the clinical trials that Gotu Kola is highly effective for stretch marks.

How to Use Centella Asiatica for Stretch Marks

You can use centella asiatica (Gotukola) to remove stretch marks making a paste (4).

1. Collect Gotu kola leaves and crush them into fine particles.

2. Use them in the affected area.

3. Leave it for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then rinse it off.

4. Use moisturizer.

Also at the same time, you can use it as a cream having 1 percent Centella Asiatica.

You may raise a question- Why to use 1 percent of Centella Asiatica instead of 5 percent of the same?

Certainly, there is a good reason.

The reason is to avoid the side of effects of the same.

Side Effects

In very rare cases, there may be skin allergy and burning sensation with the external use of Gotu kola (4).


2. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera gel is undoubtedly effective in wound healing (6).

But what about stretch marks?

In this regard, Cleveland Clinic opines that Aloe Vera is such a useful herb that may contribute to preventing and treating stretch marks (7).

It has a deep penetrating capacity in the skin (8, 9).  It is most effective to retain skin moisture (10). Besides, Aloe Vera increases collagen synthesis (11).

For these qualities mentioned above, Aloe Vera has been proven to be one of the best herbs for stretch marks.

In a study of 90 nulliparous women for 8 weeks long starting at the gestational age of 18/20 weeks, the researchers found Aloe Vera gel to be effective in preventing striae gravidarum (stretch marks during pregnancy) and alleviating itching and erythema (12).

How to Use Aloe Vera for Stretch Marks

1. Mix aloe vera gel and virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil equally.

2. Massage the mixture on your affected area.

3. Let it stay overnight.

4. Use the mixture twice daily.

Side Effects

Topical Aloe Vera may cause some skin allergies such as redness, burning, stinging sensation, and itchiness.


3. Onion

It is scientifically known as Allium cepa L. Onion. Onion is full of amazing health benefits. It is packed with an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory,  anti-biotic, and anti-septic properties (13, 14). So, it is impressively beneficial for overall skin health.

Interestingly, researchers found the onion to be highly effective to prevent and improve scars on the skin (15).

How to Use Onion for Scars?

You can use onion making gel in a combination with aloe Vera. Because onion with Aloe Vera can boost the result impressively.

Preparation and Usage

1. Mix 1 teaspoon of fresh onion juice with 1 tablespoon of Aloe Vera.

2. Use the gel on your affected area.

3. Leave it for 10 to 30 minutes and then rinse off with water.

4. Then use cold pressed olive oil on the area. In this respect avoid hot pressed olive oil.

Side Effects

Along with the side effects of Aloe Vera, onion may also cause some side effects such as skin irritation and eczema.


4. Crowberry

Crowberry is a fruit that has an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal effect (16). It has no single use for skin. Rather it is used as a supportive element in skin care products.


5. Siegesbeckia

Siegesbeckia Orientalis had traditional use as a topical anti-inflammatory and analgesic (natural pain reliever) agent.

A 2011 animal study demonstrated a promising result as to the topical use of kirenol extracted from Siegesbeckia Orientalis for inflammatory disease and external pain (17, 18).

In the modern world, there is widespread use of Siegesbeckia as a supportive ingredient in anti-stretch marks products.

Actually, it does not contribute to removing stretch marks directly. Rather it contributes indirectly by its capacity of increasing the rate of wound contraction and anti-inflammatory agents (19).

It is also mentionable that only single use of Siegesbeckia does not provide good results rather it gives better when used in the herbal formulation.

Herbal Formulations Found to be Effective in Medical


Topical Oil Formulation of Plant Extracts and Vitamin

Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in its research article published in 2021 claims that topical oil formulations composed of plant extracts and vitamins are safe and effective for the reduction of stretch marks (20).

In a study, it is found that cosmetic oil containing vitamins A and E and a mixture of oils calendula, lavender, rosemary, chamomile, and PurCellin Oil™ have subjectively and objectively improved stretch marks in all patients (21).


Aloe Vera and Sweet Almonds Oil Creams

In a clinical trial on 160 nulliparous women (who have not given birth before), the researchers found that the formulation alleviated the itching of stretch marks and prevented the progression of stretch marks (22).


Cosmetic Containing Punica granatum Seed Oil and Croton

Lechleri Resin Extract

In a clinical study, a cosmetic formulation having Punica granatum seed oil and Croton lechleri resin extract showed effectiveness in preventing and curing the striae distensae (stretch marks) (23).


Simple Safety Test

In order to determine the safety of any herbal juice, gel, or scrab, apply a small amount of the same to the inside of your wrist. If you have any allergic reaction, it is not safe for you and if don’t it is safe for you.


Among the herbs mentioned above, Gotu Kola is a top-rated herb that is best suited for preventing and treating stretch marks.  Apart from Gotu Kola, Aloe Vera has also wide use for stretch marks, and other herbs have usage as a supportive ingredient for reducing stretch marks.

In order to get benefit from the herbs, you should use them regularly. Apart from using herbs, you should take foods rich in collagen and elastin.

Besides, before using herbs, you should undergo a simple safety test. Because all herbs may not be beneficial for you.

Amur Cork Bark for Weight Loss – Its Efficacy & Dosage

Amur Cork Bark for Weight Loss – Its Efficacy & Dosage

Amur Cork or Phellodendron is a unique and rare type of herb available in the Amur River Basin in East Asia. It has prolonged usage in Chinese, Japanese, and Indian traditional medicine for different health issues. Nowadays, there is a great tendency of using Amur Cork Bark for weight loss purposes.

So, this article aims to examine the reality of this recent tendency for the use of the bark of the herb for the reduction of weight. Our examination must base on scientifically proven data.


What is the Amur Cork Bark?

Amur Cork Bark is a protective outer covering of the Amur Cork tree. Phellodendron is the common name of this tree. Its scientific name is Phellodendron amurense. It belongs to the family of Rutaceae. It is native to China, Japan & Korea.

Constituents of Amur Cork or Phellodendron

Amur cork or Phellodendron contains many beneficial ingredients. So far, researchers identified 140 compounds of Amur Cork or Phellodendron (1, 2). Among those, the main ingredients are as follows:

Alkaloid: Berberine


Phenolic Acid

Quinic Acid


Flavonoid: Amurensin, quercetin, phellmurin, phellatin, phellavin & phellodendroside




Is Amur Cork Bark Effective for weight loss?

There is a recent tendency to use Amur cork bark as a weight loss aid. Naturally,  the question arises – how much is it effective to lose weight?

In this regard, let us look at the various clinical trials conducted at different times. But the studies did not involve the extracts of Amur cork alone. Rather, those were related to a mixture of Amur cork and other herbal extracts.

Magnolia and Phellodendron

Medical Scientists conducted a pilot clinical trial on a dietary supplement containing Magnolia Officinalis and Phellodendron amurense. The respondents received 250 mg capsules three times daily for 6 weeks. After completion of the trial, the scientists found that the supplement ingredients were well tolerated. Also at the same time, they opined that obese people might benefit from this dietary supplement.

Phellodendron and Citrus extracts

Researchers conducted a human trial to ascertain the effectiveness of Phellodendron and Citrus extracts on cardiovascular defensive characteristics in overweight and normal-weight adults with osteoarthritis in the knee.

In addition to the above, its other essential purpose is also to monitor the weight loss situation of the respondents.

The dietary supplement is known by its symbolic name NP 06-1. It is produced in a combination of two herbal extracts: one is from Phellodendron amurense tree bark and another is from Citrus sinensis (orange) peel. The supplement belongs to Next Pharmaceuticals of Canada, which is available in the market under the name of Flavoxine™ / Citrofen™.

In the trial, the respondents were separated into four groups. Such as:

Group                   Treatment

Overweight           Placebo

Overweight           Dietary Supplement

Normal weight      Placebo

Normal weight      Dietary Supplement

After 8 weeks of the trial, the researchers observed that alongside the beneficial effect of the supplement on the cardiovascular risk factors such as lipid levels, blood pressure & fasting glucose, there was a significant decrease in weight both in overweight and normal-weight treatment groups compared to their respective placebo groups.


Amur Cork as a Source of Weight Loss Compound Berberine

Berberine is a powerful agent for producing weight loss supplements. It has a strong scientific basis for weight loss. So far, two reliable studies experimented with the efficacy of beberine on weight loss. Interestingly, the studies showed that beberine not only reduced weight but also significantly lowered blood lipid levels and blood glucose count (3, 4).

The significance of Amur cork lies in the fact that it is one of the great sources of this berberine. Research shows that Amur cork extracts contain 33% berberine. As a result, Amur cork has attracted the attention of well-reputed herbal brands in recent days.


For therapeutic doses, I have found no single use of Amur cork bark extracts. Rather, the clinical trials were conducted in a mixture of Amur cork bark and other herbal ingredients. So, I shall mention here the dosage of combined extracts of Amur cork bark with other herbs. The doses are in the following:

Phellodendron and Citrus Extracts: At a dose of 370mg twice a day, there is no adverse effect (5).

Magnolia and Phellodendron Extracts: At a dose of 250 mg thrice a day was found to be at a tolerable limit (6).

Side Effects

Usage of the Amur Cork in the mixture of magnolia or citrus extracts at the above-mentioned doses causes no side effects.

But what about the single-use of Amur Cork or Phellodendron?

In this respect, ScienceDirect provides that long usage of Phellodendron may cause deficiency of yin and fluids in the body.

But some leading health websites mentioned some more side effects without citing the source of information. They include headache, tiredness, heartburn, shaking hands, sexual dysfunction, or thyroid dysfunction. However, they also revealed that they are unsure if Phellodendron is directly linked to these side effects. (7, 8).

Special Precautions to a Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mother

If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mother,  avoid Amur Cork or Phellodendron. Because it may cause harm to your fetus or newly born child.

Now, question is-  how?

Yes, this is berberine. Certainly, you have already known that Amur Cork contains a lot of berberine.

It is this berberine that may harm the fetus crossing the placenta. Likewise, it may pass to the infants through breast milk and may harm them by causing or worsening hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice). And thus, it may lead to kernicterus (brain damage), a life-threatening disease ( (9, 10, 11, 12).

But for this effect of berberine on fetuses and newborns, do not take the wrong message as to berberine. Because it is full of medicinal qualities. Everything beneficial in this universe may be harmful in a special situation. So, berberine is also not free from this reality.

Please note that like Amur cork, Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) and Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) are great sources of berberine. This is why you will find the names of these herbal plants in the references above.


From this discourse, it is clear that amur cork is effective to lose weight in combination with other herbal extracts like magnolia or citrus extracts. But the most important is that amur cork provides berberine which is the most effective to lose weight. Despite the innumerable benefits of Amur cork bark and other herbal ingredients, over-dose of the same may cause troubles in your health. So, be careful about the dosage of the supplements.

IIEF15 and IIEF5: How to Solve ED with Natural Remedies

IIEF15 and IIEF5: How to Solve ED with Natural Remedies

Are you Searching to learn the terms IIEF15 and IIEF5? No problem, I will make it clear in easy language. Also at the same time, some exclusive herbal remedies which are highly effective to improve ED will be focused here based on scientific data.

What Are IIEF15 and IIEF5?

IIEF15 and 5 are related to sexual performance. Now question is- what is IIEF15 and what is IIEF5?

The full form of IIEF is International Index for Erectile Function. IIEF is a questionnaire comprising 15 questions designed to measure the various dimensions of sexual performance and to determine the disease severity of ED. To imply these 15 questions, IIEF is otherwise called IIEF15. (1, 2).

On the other hand, IIEF5 is an abridged 5-item version of the 15-item International Index Erectile Function (IIEF15). This abridged version has been developed to identify the presence and severity of erectile dysfunction (ED). IIEF 5 is otherwise called SHIM (Sexual Health Inventory for Men) (3).

In both research and clinical trials, IIEF is a very reliable and multidimensional scale to measure sexual performance in men (4).

The 15-question International Index Erectile Function questionnaire is divided into 5 domains. The domains are as follows (5):

1. Erectile Function

2. Orgasmic Function

3. Sexual Desire

4. Intercourse Satisfaction

5. Overall Satisfaction

Understanding Some Terms Relevant to Sexual Performance

1. Sexual activity: an act of physical intimacy between two people for sexual pleasure.

2. Ejaculation: discharge of semen from the body

3. Sexual stimulation: any stimulus that leads to sexual arousal

4. Sexual intercourse: sexual contact between individuals involving penetration.

5. Orgasm: the climax of sexual excitement that happens following sexual stimulation or intercourse.

It is noteworthy that there is a difference between ejaculation and orgasm. Ejaculation is the discharge of semen from the body. Orgasm is a sensation of extreme pleasure, relaxation, and intimacy that happens at the peak of sexual excitement. However, orgasm and ejaculation occur concurrently in most cases but they are indeed different physiological occurrences that may happen separately (6).

Difference Between IIEF15 and IIEF5

IIEF 15 is a questionnaire comprising 15 questions for measuring various dimensions of sexual performance, whereas IIEF 5 is a shortened 5-item version that has been introduced by choosing 5 specific questions from IIEF 15 to measure the existence and severity of erectile dysfunction.

Scores for International Index for Erectile Function

IIEF15 Score

Each of the first 9 questions is awarded 0-5 points and the last 6 questions are awarded 1-5 points. IIEF15 Score indicates the sum total of the points earned for answers to the 15-item International Index for Erectile Function Questionnaire.

IIEF5 and SHIM Scores

Now, let’s have a look at what IIEF 5 and SHIM scores indicate.

IIEF5 or SHIM implies the sum-total of the ordinal responses to the 5-item International Index for Erectile Function Questionnaire and Sexual Health Inventory for Men Questionnaire respectively.

Indeed, keep in mind that IIEF 5 and SHIM are the same but the only difference between these two lies in answer options and scoring. All the questions of the IIEF 5 questionnaire contain 5 answer options having a score range of 1 to 5. On the contrary, the 1st question of the SHIM Questionnaire contains 5 answer options having a score range of 1-5 and the remaining 4 questions of the SHIM Questionnaire contain 6 answer options having a score range of 0-5.

The potential score range for the IIEF 5 is 5 to 25 and for the SHIM is 1-25. The existence and severity of ED have been shown as per IIEF 5 and SHIM Scores in the following (7, 8):

IEEF5 Scores           SHIM Scores             ED Status

5-7                                 1-7                         Severe

8-11                              8-11                         Moderate

12-16                           12-16                        Mild to Moderate

17-21                            17-21                       Mild

22-25                           22-25                      No ED

The causes of ED

Erectile dysfunction (ED)  is an inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance (9).  Now the question is- why does it happen?

Vascular, neurologic, psychological, and hormonal factors are responsible for ED. The most common causes are

diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, testosterone deficiency, and prostate cancer treatment.

Performance anxiety and relationship issues are common psychological causes.

Precisely it can be said that ED is caused by vascular damage as well as testosterone deficiency (10).

Natural Remedies for the Improvement of ED

There are many herbs and foods for the improvement of ED. The most important of those are:

  1. Black Seed
  2. Honey
  3. Fenugreek
  4. Tongkat Ali
  5. Ashwagandha
  6. Maca Powder
  7. Watermelon
  8. Panax Ginseng
  9. Saffron
  10. Tribulus Terrestris
  11. Catuaba Bark
  12. Muira Puama
  13. Talmakhna
  14. Shotomul
  15. Shimul Root
  16. Akarkora
  17. Moringa
  18. Horny Goat Weed
  19. Yohimbine
  20. Musoli
  21. Shilajut
  22. Ginger
  23. Garlic
  24. Walnuts
  25. Almonds
  26. Pumpkin Seed
  27. Talbina
  28. Sareed

Besides these, there are many more natural remedies to destroy ED. For using this, you have to choose the ones which are fit for your own health condition. Before consuming this, know the rules of usage and dosage at the very outset.

Best Herbal Supplements for Mild to Moderate ED


Viasil is famous for its dual-action formula. It functions naturally by way of supporting the body’s routine work of producing nitric oxide and ATP.

It is good for the persons suffering from mild to moderate ED because of age, stress, and anxiety. But the patients with severe ED may try this supplement composed of all thorough natural ingredients. Because it has no adverse effect.

Alpha Strength

Alpha Strength is the best natural supplement in the world. It contains scientifically proven natural ingredients. Viagra-like ingredients like l-citrulline from watermelon, Tongkat Ali from Malaysia, and fenugreek gave the supplement uniqueness. The supplement used the extracts of the ingredients in a safe and therapeutic dosage. Besides, it has also added some most common essential ingredients so that the pill can function synergistically to give patients with erectile dysfunction optimal results.

Male Extra

Male extra is good for harder erection and powerful orgasm. It has used more unique ingredients necessary for sexual problems. It has used much more ingredients than other supplements in this arena.

Treatment for Severe ED

For treating severe ED, FDA approved four drugs introduced by modern medical science:

  1. Viagra
  2. Cialis,
  3. Levitra, and
  4. Stendra

These supplements are highly effective to remove severe ED. But these supplements have an acute adverse effect. So, you should consume this pill in accordance with the prescription and supervision of a skilled physician.


Viagra is a brand-name drug. It has used Sildenafil Citrate as an active ingredient. So, its generic name is Sildenafil. Its generic versions are also available.

Viagra generally requires 30 t0 60 minutes to work. Its functionality lasts 4 hours in the body.


Cialis is a brand-name drug. Tadalafil is its active ingredient. Consequently, its generic name is Tadalfil. Its versions are also available. It works up to 36 hours in the body. In a long-term study, the researchers found tadalafil (Cialis) safe and well-tolerated for 18 to 24 months (11, 12, 13).


Levitra is a brand-name drug. Vardenafil hydrochloride is its active ingredient. Naturally, its generic name is Vardenafil. Its generic versions are also available. Its duration in the body is 4-5 hours.


Stendra is a brand-name drug. Avanafil is its active ingredient. So, its generic name is Avanafil. But its generic versions are not available. It lasts 6 hours in the body.

Brand Name Drug Vs. Generic Drug

When a company introduces a new drug, it gets a patent and sells the drug under a brand name. It is called a brand-name drug.

After the expiration of the patent, other companies may produce and sell the drug using the same active ingredient of the brand-name drug. This is called a generic drug.

So, you can say a brand-name drug means the name given by the inventor company, and a generic drug means a drug produced using the active ingredient of the brand-name drug.

It is pertinent to mention here that generic drugs are marketed in two ways: sometimes using generic names and sometimes using different brand names (14).

But keep in mind that whatever brand names are used, the status of the drugs remains as generic drugs.

Pfizer, for example, invented a specific ED drug ingredient named sildenafil, obtained a patent, and sold it under a brand name Viagra. Thus, Viagra is the brand-name drug, and sildenafil, the active ingredient of Viagra, is the generic name of the drug.

When the patent of Pfizer expires, many more companies start producing and selling drugs using the same active ingredient of Viagra, i.e. sildenafil. These drugs are generic drugs.

It is to be noted that the inventor company of a brand-name drug itself can produce the generic drug of the same. As for example, in the UK Pfizer itself marketed  over-the-counter (OTC)  ED pill named Viagra Connect which is the generic drug of Viagra.

To have a clearer idea of brand-name drugs and generic drugs, look at the following image:

Brand Name Drug Vs. Generic Drug
On the left side of the image, there is a picture of the brand-name drug Viagra. On the right side of the image, there are three pictures of generic drugs of Viagra namely Vedafil, Viagra Connect, and Sildenafil.


IIEF is the most famous standard to measure the various dimensions of sexual performance especially erectile dysfunction. Using this standard, you can measure yourselves. You can get rid of the problem of erectile dysfunction by simply following a healthy lifestyle and consuming some natural foods and herbs. But in using a prescription drug, you must consult your physician. Though these drugs are highly effective to solve the severe ED problem, improper usage of the same without the supervision of a skilled physician may destroy your conjugal life causing permanently impotent.