Professor of Pharmacognosy
Dr. Ain Raal

Dr. Ain Raal is a Professor of Pharmacognosy at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He obtained his MSc (Pharmacy) degree in 1984 in Tartu, Estonia, and PhD (Pharmacognosy) in 1989 at The Institute of Chemistry and Pharmacy of Leningrad, U.S.S.R. In 2014-2022 he was the Head of the Institute of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tartu. Over the last two decades, his research works have focused on pharmacognosy, phytochemistry and biological activity of medicinal plants in Europe and Asia. He also specialises in pharmacy history and social pharmacy in medicinal plants.


Evidence-based medicinal plants for relief of sleep disorders

In the introduction and background part of the presentation, a brief overview of the importance of medicinal plants and herbal medicines in the evidence-based medicine of the modern Western world will be given. Various aspects of medicinal plant research are introduced, such as phytochemical studies (qualitative and quantitative analysis), main physicochemical research methods (gas chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, spectrophotometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, etc.), standardization of plant material, study of effects (in vitro and in vivo), clinical trials, tolerability, side effects and possible dangers. Criteria for evidence-based use of medicinal plants are explained. Examples are given from the monographs of the European Medicines Agency and the European Pharmacopoeia. The main part of the presentation introduces the

most important medicinal plants acting on the central nervous system and relieving sleep disorders. Attention is drawn to the preparation, chemical composition, effect and possible dangers of these preparations. The focus is on the following traditional medicinal plants in the modern Western world: valerian (Valeriana officinalis), motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), hops (Humulus lupulus), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), passiflora (Passiflora incarnata), German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), etc. The results of the author and his research group’s study of plant extracts improving sleep disorders using natural plant extracts and extracts enriched with different amino acids are also presented.