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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

A Natural Solution to Sleep Apnea

Many people believe sleep apnea is caused by a sagging soft pallet in the throat. According to master herbalist Steven Frank, it actually results from a diminishing signal from the brain to the diaphragm during the transition from semi-wakefulness into the next stage of lighter sleep. In some people, breathing goes beyond being shallow and completely stops.

As the brain realizes the need to breathe, it forces a rapid inhalation that drags the sagging soft tissue into the airway, as reported in Frank’s Sleep Apnea: A New Approach to an Emergent Problem. For some, there’s no indication of potential problems when they are awake as the tissue remains in its normal state and the throat doesn’t close off.

Many resort to surgery to some tissue or use a machine to force air into lungs. However, natural, herbal solutions can work to increase the pertinent brain signal that maintains healthy breathing without that rapid inhalation. According to the Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, ingesting herbs like lobelia, thyme and camp bark can intensify the signal from the brain to the diaphragm, increase the gas-transfer efficiency of the lungs and relax some of the skeletal muscles that can obstruct the propagation of the signal.

Steven Frank, master herbalist, can be reached at 888-465-4404 or visit