Stachytarpheta cayennensis is a flowering plant in the verbena family that is thought to have anti-anxiety and sedative properties.
The plant, also known as cayenne porterweed, snakeweed or false verbena is considered by some to be a natural alternative to benzodiazepines.
In order to experience the plant's sedative effects, the leaves are used to make a tea. In some cultures, this tea is also used to treat ailments ranging from diabetes to ulcers, diarrhea and even malaria.
An African study undertaken last year found that extracts from the leaves of this plant did indeed have sedative effects in mice and that the consequent reduction in time taken to fall asleep and extension of sleep duration were comparable with hypnotic drugs such as diazepam and chlorpromazine.
An extra bonus: In many places, stachytarpheta cayennensis is considered an invasive species; so if you give this a try, you could end up improving your sleep and your local ecosystem at the same time!
Last updated: October 10, 2014