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Herbs for insomnia and immune system?


My new doctor believes I have minor fibromyalgia and although the fibromyalgia medicine Savella helped, I want to manage it without medications. I also had low white blood cell counts for a long time which my previous doctors think are normal, but I still want to try and raise it. I have trouble falling asleep and fatigue is more of an issue for me than pain. Acupuncture has already helped decrease my inflammation significantly and keep me asleep. I don't know if my fatigue is due to unrestful deep sleep or low white blood cells, but I've just started taking Reishi mushroom supplements to see if it can help build up my immune system. I was wondering if you could recommend any Chinese herb formulas that could help with insomnia (especially for falling asleep and deep sleep) and/or increase white blood cell counts.


for blood deficinecy insomnia, the herb formula is " Suan Zao Ren Tang/ Wan".


What Chinese diagnosis did your acupuncturist give you? They are in a much better position to make recommendations that we are not knowing your entire case.

With regards to your white blood cell counts, what are they are why do you think they are low? They are either low or they are not.... Are you perhaps using the phrase low white blood cell counts to describe some set of symptoms? For us that is more useful. No one would actually want low white blood cell counts - it&#39s fairly serious and often comes from some underlying conditions that range from bad to really bad. What are your actual symptoms?

With regards to sleep, what happens when you go to sleep? Trouble falling asleep (if so, how long does it take), staying asleep (if so, how often do you wake and how long do you stay up each time), you sleep but feel tired (how do you feel the rest of the day), you sweat at night (if so, how much and how often)....?


First, WBC>4.0x10(9)/L is OK, your WBC is OK.

Second, there are at least 5 patterns of Low WBC,

1, Qi & Yin Def., 2, Heart & Spleen Def., 3, Liver & Kidney Yin Def., 4, Spleen & Kidney Yang Def., 5, Wind heat.

Different pattern use different herb formula, basic on your diagnosis.

Third, normaly people sleep 7 hours daily is enough, you can sleep 9-10 hours, so your sleep also is OK.


Thank you for your input, Mr. Mei. From what we&#39ve deduced, my WBC is indeed most likely fine. I get enough hours of sleep but the problem is that when I wake up, I feel tired and not refreshed. I think I feel this way because my body isn&#39t getting enough deep sleep. I&#39ve read that Alpha EEG Anomaly may be a cause of fibromyalgia since it prevents people from falling into a deep sleep and so many fibromyalgia patients have it. The stiffness in the morning makes it uncomfortable to get out of bed too but I&#39m more concerned with the fatigue.

I do remember there was one herbal formula an herbalist recommended for the spleen and heart (I think it was Gui Pi Wan). I forgot to mention that my acupuncturist told me in addition to heart yin deficiency, I also have a problem with my spleen qi so that was probably why I was taking the Gui Pi Wan. I forgot why I stopped taking it, but I remember taking it 3 times each day and it made me sleepy and relaxed during the day which is amazing because supplements for inducing sleep never work for me! I wonder if I can just take it before going to sleep. There was even a Chinese formula called True Man Peaceful Mind which was recommended by an herbalist for insomnia but this didn&#39t work for me and was much more expensive than Gui Pi Wan.


There is a common sense, that TCM medincine for sleep, always eat before sleep, don&#39t eat 3 times daily. Gui Pi Wan is very good.


My Japanese acupuncturist believes it could be heart yin deficiency (though she believed it was spleen qi deficiency with blood stagnation in the first place), but a Chinese medicine doctor I consulted with online said that I have a kidney yin deficiency and it was the underlying cause of the heart yin deficiency, according to the information I gave him on my condition and tongue photo. I was taking a few prescription herbal formulas he ordered for me from China which I had to take for about a month. Unfortunately, I didn&#39t feel one bit of improvement even though he said I should&#39ve felt some improvement and my acupuncturist isn&#39t an herbalist so she can&#39t recommend herbs to me, but I can ask one of the Chinese herbalists in the Chinatown here. I guess my case is a little difficult because the very first Chinese acupuncturist I saw told me that I had a qi imbalance and had me take red ginseng and a powdered astragalus formula. I&#39m assuming he was treating me for spleen qi deficiency according to the herbs he told me to take, but I surprisingly didn&#39t feel any improvements with the 2 months of acupuncture and herbs.

I brought up low WBC counts because I thought it could have something to do with my condition but I could be wrong. I was referred to an oncologist a few years ago because the doctors weren&#39t sure whether the low WBC counts were due to the TB antibiotics I had been taking. My last WBC count was taken August last year and it was 4.3 with the clinic&#39s standard range being 4.8-10.8. The doctor I was seeing during that time commented that it was a little low but thought it was normal. My WBC counts have averaged around the 4.6 range over the last few years and cell counts like monocytes and lymphocytes didn&#39t look abnormal. The new doctor I&#39m seeing now put leukopenia on my blood work paper after seeing my blood test records from past clinics and probably to let the blood test lab worker know to keep an eye on it. Maybe I&#39m overreacting though because I hardly catch colds.

The main symptoms I&#39m having now are fatigue, perceived muscle weakness (weak kind of feeling you get when you have a cold), stiffness when waking up in the morning, and pain when staying in one position for too long (e.g. soles hurt when standing, back hurts when sitting, or upper back hurts while standing and reading). Minor symptoms are sensitivity to loud noises (particularly utensils clinking together), teeth sensitive to cold things (dentist recommended I use Sensodyne but it didn&#39t do anything), and feel a little weak and shaky after hot showers (especially baths). Occasional bronchial sounding coughs without phlegm are probably normal but I didn&#39t mention this to my doctor.

In regards to sleeping, it takes me about half an hour to more than an hour to fall asleep. Lately I&#39ve been using an iPod to fall asleep more easily to soothing sounds. I stay asleep fine and occasionally wake up once or twice, and I don&#39t sweat at night. I&#39m currently not working so I sleep about 9 or 10 hours, but I rarely feel refreshed when I wake up. I can do housework around my house but I get fatigued after and have to rest. I&#39ve tried many Western supplements like Valerian, 5-HTP, chamomile, melatonin, kava kava, etc. but they don&#39t have any effect on me.



So should Suan Zao Ren Wan only be taken before bedtime and not 3 times a day?


There is absolutely no way to answer that directly as it would vary on a person by person basis. Generally speaking in our clinic because my personal preference is to use a minimalist approach we start most (not all) people on just an evening dose of suan zao ren (if that is the appropriate formula for their diagnosis and they are coming with a primary concern of insomnia) and then add in dinner and evening if necessary. In many cases just one dose in the evening along with acupuncture is enough to get the clinical results we are seeking. Using the formula for anxiety disorders or any of the other uses would be different possibly and again vary from case to case.


Thank you for the reply,

I realise that this would of course also be relative, but how large a dose in the evening would you commonly start with when you determine that suan zao ren is the appropriate formula? someone online said 7 pills at the same time in the evening.


That would be determined by the manufacturer of your particular version of suan zao ren (we generally use two and the dosages are different). Most bottles will say something like 4 3x/day or 5-8 2-3/x day. The night-time dose would generally just be one dose as it is printed on the bottle, on the higher end if there is a range.


Thanks for the reply

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