Melatonin is a molecule synthesized in the brain by the pineal gland and in the gastrointestinal tract. Melatonin is also synthesized in other organisms including plants.

Melatonin is believed to be responsible for the synchrony of circadian rhythm, modulating sleep patterns with day and night.

Melatonin is an antioxidant and protects tissues from oxidative damage by free radical elements. Further more, melatonin induces synthesis of endigenous antioxidants such as superoxide dismtase (SOD).

Several researches indicate that melatonin protects the gastrointestinal tract from irritation, reduces stress-induced lesion formation and heals ulcer.

Below are lists containing natural plant sources of melatonin. Melatonin content is in nanogram (ng) per gram of plant sample.

Table 1: Melatonin sources ( Rieter and Tan, 2002).

Melatonin source Melatonin content (ng/g)
Huang-qin 7,110
St. John’s wort, flower 4,390
Fever few, green leaf 2,450
Fever few, gold leaf 1,920
St. John’s wort, leaf 1,750
White mustard seed 189
Black mustard seed 129
Wolf berry seed 103
Fenugreek seed 43
Sunflower seed 29
Fennel seed 28
Alfalfa seed 16
Green cardamom seed 15
Tart cherry fruit (Montmorency) 15
Flax seed 12
Anise seed 7
Coriander seed 7
Celery seed 7
Poppy seed 6
Milk thistle seed 2
Tart cherry fruit (Balaton) 2

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