As a trained herbalist, I am always glad when people formulate products based on good science and high-quality, organic herbs. As a lazy herbalist, I am always glad when it’s “other people” doing it, and not me. As a Mom of a little one who works full-time outside of the home, I could always use some stress relief. As a Mom with taste buds, I would love it if the product actually tasted good…but this is by no means a deal-breaker. Meaning, if it tasted bad, but it worked well, I would still use it. And that is exactly how I would characterize the latest natural stress relief product to hit the market, 1Hour Break: not wonderful-tasting, but effective.
1Hour Break uses nervine, antispasmodic, and anxiolytic herbs such as organic Kava Kava root (Piper methysticum), organic Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), organic St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), organic Lobelia (Lobelia inflata, also known as Indian tobacco), and Pulsatilla (I’m not sure of the Latin name, actually, never having studied this herb) to take the edge off of stress and help promote relaxation. As a Master Herbalist, I can tell you that these herbs are pretty much the all-star poster children of anxiety-combating herbs. But, they’re not without some controversy, especially Kava Kava and Lobelia inflata (in some herbal circles).
The Scoop on Kava Kava
With respect to Kava Kava, you may have heard some noise about the Kava Kava ban that is in effect in 5 Western countries, which came about as a result of suggestions that the herb might cause severe liver damage. Beginning in 2002, Kava was banned in Germany, the UK, Switzerland, France, and Canada, with Australia issuing a recall of all products containing Kava. In the U.S., Kava is not banned, but all products containing Kava are sold with a label that warns us of potential liver injury. However, more recent research (several clinical trials and a systematic review conducted in 2006 by the Cochrane collaboration) suggests that Kava is effective in treating the symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorders. Kava experts postulate that the rare cases of liver damage resulted from the use of poor quality Kava herbs or incorrect plant parts. Whatever the case, the Commission E monograph on Kava does warn against using Kava if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have “endogenous depression.” (Note: Germany has since repealed the ban, but has placed all Kava registrations on hold indefinitely, until further notice).
The Skinny on Lobelia
Lobelia is an herb that has a history of use as a “quit smoking” aid. The text given to me during my Master Herbalist training states that Lobelia contains an alkaloid that can accumulate in the body over time, giving it a low therapeutic margin. The text also warned against using Lobelia for a prolonged period of time. Of course, I can’t seem to find this text anymore (!). When I brought this concern up to the gentleman who asked me to review 1Hour Break, he replied that this formula was created by a founding member of AHPA (the American Herbal Products Association), that Lobelia was used in the formula to “potentiate” the effect of Kava Kava, and forwarded me a monograph that contained no cautions against the use of Lobelia, other than during pregnancy and in the presence of low blood pressure. Hmm. I did an Internet search and came across this very informative article detailing Lobelia’s history of use, research, and cautions/contraindications, and it mentions nothing about Lobelia’s therapeutic margin or the dangers of the alkaloid accumulating in the body over time. It does state to use Lobelia with extreme caution, as it has strong emetic properties (causes vomiting). Okay. I must just be crazy or remembering incorrectly or something.
My Final Verdict
As a Mom who is still breastfeeding, I was probably not the ideal candidate to review the product. So, I enlisted a couple of fellow Moms in the Holistic Moms Network (a group I am proud to belong to), who also tried it and provided feedback to me. But, I did use it half a dozen or so times because a) I do have a hard time sleeping; b) I do sometimes suffer from anxiety and stress; and c) my child is almost 20 months now and only nursing twice a day (and it’s questionable how much breastmilk she’s actually getting).
How to Use It: The instructions state to spray into the mouth 5 times and hold on the tongue for 10 seconds, then swallow.
My experience: When I did this, I was immediately overpowered by the strong “Wintergreen” flavoring, followed by an immediate numbing of my tongue (that’s the Kava at work). Then, I would feel an immediate mellowing feeling throughout my body, which is hard to explain. The best way for me to describe it is as a “softening around the edges,” or “taking the edge off” my anxiety. A couple times, I used it before sleep and I am pretty sure I was able to fall asleep faster as a result, but it was not consistently effective as a sleep aid for me.
Mom #1′s Experience: The first Mom who provided feedback also used it 6 times. She wrote:
It did taste mildly icky, really more peppery than anything. Sure better than valerian. I used it when trying to fall asleep (less successful) and when I was having an anxiety attack (took some of the edge off) and when I was trying not to lose my cool with the kids: this was the most successful, it helped me calm down and get it under control much faster than before. My husband tried it once but really hated the taste, though in my observation it was very effective to stop him from brooding.
Mom #2′s Experience:
Thanks for the sample. I found it was effective. At the end of a long day, when my patience was wearing thin, I used the 1Hour Break to calm me down so that I could finish the night’s activities without getting upset or raising my voice. I used it a couple of times when I felt stressed and found it effective…I liked that it took the edge off a reactive mama without side effects.
When I asked her about the taste, she replied:
I knew it would be numbing and that was a surprise when I felt it. However, I was focusing on the positive effects and my taste buds are not too picky!
Would YOU Like to Try 1Hour Break?
Cool! I’m excited to offer my readers the chance to try 1Hour Break for themselves! I am giving away a 3-pack of 1Hour Break to 3 lucky readers, worth $30 apiece at retail. Here are the rules:
- There can be only 3 winners.
- You must reside in the United States to be eligible.
- You must “LIKE” the 1Hour Break Facebook page and post how you would use 1Hour Break on the Wall.
- You must then come back here and leave a comment (including your email) letting me know you have completed the entry requirements.
- This giveaway will close on April 15, 2012 at 5pm PST.
- I will then draw 3 winners via Random.org and provide your names and email addresses to 1Hour Break, who will then contact you for your mailing addresses and send the 3-packs directly to you.
Any questions about the giveaway? Email me!