Even as a child, Tappan August had trouble falling asleep. Well into adulthood, he often took over-the-counter and prescription medications to ease him into a slumber, but he wasn't happy about it. "It was kind of odd to me to have to take a pill to do something as natural as going to sleep," he says.
So August consulted with local herbalist Laura Davimes of Herban Avenues to create a "healthy nightcap" in 2006. USleep, formerly known as Sleepy Bear, is a synergistic blend of six herbs — South African redbush, valerian, passion flower, skullcap, poppy seed and wild-oat milky seed. The mix of herbs includes some with sedative qualities and others that are anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic, addressing underlying symptoms that often contribute to sleeplessness, August says. The tincture, which is recommended for ages 8 and older, is sweetened with stevia, a vanilla-flavored herb that's sweeter than sugar but doesn't have stimulating properties.
Manufactured in an FDA-approved facility in New Mexico, USleep is available in 48 stores in eight states. It's sold locally at Ellwood Thompson's, Smoothie King, Good Foods Grocery and South River Compounding Pharmacy. In the near future, August hopes to expand his product line with UImmune, an immune-boosting tincture that features zinc and echinachea; UChill, a de-stressing herbal concoction; and UBuzz, an energizing combination that includes yerba mattee and vitamins B12 and 6.