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Melatonin in medicinal herbs

GUELPH, CANADA. A low level of melatonin in the body has been associated with chronic migraine headaches. It is also known that the frequency and severity of migraine attacks can be reduced in some patients if they take the herb feverfew. Now researchers at the University of Guelph report that some herbs recommended for treatment of migraine and several nervous conditions contain significant levels of melatonin. The researchers analyzed samples of feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), and Huang-qin (Scutellaria biacalensis). The melatonin content of feverfew varied between 1.37 and 2.45 micrograms per gram of leaf depending on the preparation method. The flowers of St. John's wort were found to contain 4.39 micrograms per gram while the leaves contained 1.75 micrograms per gram. Huang-qin, a herb used in Chinese medicine, had the highest content of melatonin at 7.11 micrograms per gram. Prior research has shown that consumption of herbs and edible plants containing melatonin increases the supply of circulating melatonin in mammals. The researchers conclude that the beneficial effects observed with feverfew, St. John's wort, and Huang-qin may be at least partially due to the melatonin content of these herbs.
Murch, Susan J., et al. Melatonin in feverfew and other medicinal plants. The Lancet, November 29, 1997, pp. 1598-99

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