Background: Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder that reduces quality of life. Objectives: Due to side effects of hypnotic drug and the increasing demand for alternative medicine substitutes, violet oil (VO) was used in this study. VO is a known medication in Iranian traditional medicine that induces sleep in insomniac patients.
Patients and Methods: This study was conducted as an experimental pretest-posttest evaluation on VO efficacy in 50 patients with chronic insomnia in Iranian Traditional Medicine Clinic of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran. Treatment consisted of intranasal drop of VO, two drops containing 66 mg of VO in each nostril nightly before sleeping for one month. All patients were asked to complete an Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) questionnaire before the start of the trial and after one month of treatment.
Results: Improvements in sleep and ISI scores were significantly greater in patients after a month receiving VO drop in comparison with before starting treatment (P < 0.05). A few patients reported some complications about VO consumption, most of which were mild and no serious adverse event was encountered.
Conclusions: VO can be presented as a safe, well-tolerated, and effective herbal preparation in patients with chronic insomnia.
Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep disorder in the general population and it is defined as the subjective perception of difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation, or quality that occurs despite adequate opportunity for sleep, which results in some form of daytime function impairment (1). It has been shown that almost one-third to one-fourth of the population in industrialized countries report sleep disturbance problems at some point in their lives and approximately 10% have chronic insomnia (2). Insomnia affects many aspects of patient’s life; for example, fatigue, day time drowsiness, reduced memory and concentration, depression, anxiety, high sensitivity and irritability, work disturbance, and reduced quality of life are amongst the adverse effects of insomnia (3). To treat insomnia, benzodiazepines are frequently prescribed that increase the probability of adverse effects such as amnesia (4), sedation, slowness, sleepiness, fatigue, headache, irritability, and dizziness (5). Recently, complementary therapies are increasingly used worldwide. When conventional medicine fails to treat chronic diseases efficaciously and without adverse events, many people seek unconventional therapies including herbal medicine (6). Numerous studies in herbal medicine have shown beneficial effects of medicinal plants to treat insomnia (7). Considering patients’ complaints of insomnia and side effects of drug treatments, finding treatments with fewer adverse effects and using complementary treatments becomes more important.