Sleep Quality Improves During Treatment With Bryophyllum pinnatum: An Observational Study on Cancer Patients

Integr Cancer Ther. 2015 Sep;14(5):452-9. doi: 10.1177/1534735415580680. Epub 2015 Apr 14.


Hypothesis: Cancer patients frequently suffer from poor sleep quality. Bryophyllum pinnatum is a herbal medication used in anthroposophic medicine, which has been shown to be associated with improvements in sleep quality during pregnancy with only few and minor or moderate side-effects reported. In this study, the sleep quality of cancer patients during treatment with B pinnatum was investigated.

Study design: In this prospective, observational study, cancer patients suffering from sleep problems were treated with B pinnatum (350 mg tablets, corresponding to 50% of leaf pressed juice [Weleda AG, Arlesheim, Switzerland], dosage at physician's consideration, but most frequently 2 tablets with evening meal and 2 before going to bed).

Methods: Sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI]), daily sleepiness (Epworth Sleeping Scale [ESS]), and fatigue (Fatigue Severity Scale [FSS]) were assessed at the beginning of the treatment and after 3 weeks. Possible adverse drug reactions perceived by the patients during the treatment were recorded. From the 28 recruited patients, 20 completed both questionnaires and were considered in the present analysis. Data are expressed as mean ± standard deviation.

Results: Patients were 61 ± 10.4 years old and the majority were female (17 out of 20). During treatment with B pinnatum, the PSQI decreased from 12.2 ± 3.62 to 9.1 ± 3.61 (P < .01), and ESS changed from 8.4 ± 3.18 to 7.1 ± 3.98 (P < .05). There was no change in FSS. The treatment was well tolerated by the majority of patients, with only 6 patients reporting discomfort that might have been caused by B pinnatum (fatigue n = 3, dry throat n = 1, agitation n = 1, difficult digestion n = 1). No serious adverse drug reactions were detected.

Conclusion: B pinnatum may be a suitable treatment for sleep problems of cancer patients. Controlled, randomized clinical trials of the use of B pinnatum in sleep disorders are urgently needed.

Keywords: Bryophyllum pinnatum; Kalanchoe pinnata; cancer; sleep; sleep problems; sleep quality.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Fatigue / drug therapy
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kalanchoe / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Plant Leaves
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Plant Preparations / adverse effects
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tablets


  • Plant Preparations
  • Tablets