Sleep apnea is a serious health problem in which the sleeper can stop breathing as often as 30 times an hour. Conventional medicine says that apnea is caused by a sagging soft palate or some other obstructive tissue in the throat. Not so, says Master Herbalist Steven Frank, of Nature’s Rite, who believes that it is instead caused by a reduced signal from the brain to the diaphragm, prompting breathing to slow down or even causing the sleeper to stop breathing. 

“After a short period of time, the brain realizes the need to breathe and forces a rapid inhalation, dragging any sagging soft tissues into the airway and disturbing the sleep cycle,” he says, explaining such an obstruction as a consequence, rather than a cause.


Conventional medicine usually addresses sleep apnea with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Using such a device can be costly and cumbersome, as well as uncomfortable, creating its own form of sleep disruption. 

Frank suggests that a more natural solution to sleep apnea can be found by ingesting three simple herbs—lobelia, thyme and cramp bark. These work together to intensify the signal from the brain to the diaphragm, increasing lung efficiency, relaxing related skeletal muscles and so providing relief.

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