From the Front Lines: Modern Techniques, Ancient Medicines for Sleep, Digestion


By Amy M. Petrarca, MS, RN, L.Ac

I know that acupuncture is quickly becoming mainstream, and that a growing number of people are willing and ready to try something new for their health-care needs if it’s effective. But I had no idea that convincing patients to put their trust into safe and proven herbal remedies would prove to be such a difficult task.

As it turns out, my patients are not interested in “twigs and leaves and berries,” and they insist on results – clinically proven results.  My patients constantly ask me – “Where is the proof that this stuff really works? Where’s the modern research? Is there a control-group, or is this all just empirical?”

Very few supplement companies understand this. Fortunately, this roadblock led me to discover Tango Advanced Nutrition.  Tango has done all the hard work for me.  They formulate effective herbal supplements and have clinical research to back the efficacy and safety of each of their formulas.

One of my first experiences with Tango involved a safe and gentle herbal formula for constipation called (appropriately) Daily Movement. Many of my patients experience difficulty when it comes to bowel regularity in the absence of a routine daily pattern. Whether it is heightened stress levels or a business trip – constipation can really have its negative effects on the body, mind, and spirit.

What I like about Daily Movement is its very simple ingredient list. These herbs are gentle and moistening, effectively lubricating the large intestine, and incorporating “Qi-movers” to actually move the stool along the colon and assist with proper elimination.

In addition to wanting a formula that can effectively resolve their issues, my patients also want something that will not be habit-forming and that will not cause colonic-spasms, hypermotility, or cramping. After making simple recommendations for diet and lifestyle adjustments, I turn to Tango’s Daily Movement for results with my patients.

Another thing I like about Daily Movement is the ease with which I can adjust the correct dosage for the most effective outcome with each patient – something altogether fabulous about Traditional Medicine in general. I like to start with recommending two capsules every night before bedtime, and then increase up to two capsules, three times daily, if needed, depending on the individual and the desired results.


I had another opportunity to recommend Tango’s SleepCycle last month.  It was a story that I’d heard before, but with different details. One of my patients reported that he was having trouble falling asleep, and difficulty staying asleep. He explained, “I’m going through a break-up, and I just can’t sleep.”

Because of his schedule he has been uncomfortable in the past with other sleep aids.  Diphenhydramine dries him out and leaves him feeling drowsy in the morning. And prescription sleep aids, which can be too strong to use with any regularity, can become habit-forming.  Like many of my patients, he didn’t even know that there were other options.

I told him that I had something that was effective, but gentle. After a long pause he told me, “You know, I’m not really into your herbs.” I responded, explaining, “It’s a traditional herbal formula, but with a Western edge.” That piqued his interest.

I explained that Tango makes a formula that combines the best of traditional herbal formulas with a few special natural ingredients to augment and enhance the formula’s overall effectiveness. SleepCycle is simple and complete with recognizable sleep herbs like Suan Zao Ren (Ziziphus Jujube) and Valerian Root, with a little 5-HTP and Melatonin to assist with both falling asleep, a condition known as onset insomnia, and with staying asleep, a condition known as maintenance insomnia.

I recommended that he incorporate this herbal remedy along with a program of “healthy sleep hygiene” that includes a consistent bed-time, decreased external stimuli, proper exercise and hydration.

“Take two of these SleepCycle capsules twenty-to-thirty minutes before you want to be asleep,” I said. “Take these herbs every night for two weeks. Feel free to call me with any questions you may have.  I look forward to catching up with you next visit.” Upon his return, two weeks later, I inquired, “So, what did you think of SleepCycle?”

This time, no long pause.  He responded jubilantly, “You were so right about that stuff! I slept like a baby. Completely recovered emotionally and physically. I was really skeptical about it initially, but you have been spot-on with all of your recommendations.  I really like SleepCycle.”

Any healthcare practitioner worth his salt would be proud to carry high-quality formulas like Tango’s SleepCycle. Being a Registered Nurse and Licensed Acupuncturist, I like to offer the best of all worlds I prefer to recommend formulas that contain a hybrid of traditional herbal ingredients and conventional wisdom.

Another aspect I appreciate is that Tango offers research-driven, competitive results. I appreciate that Tango supports all of their formulas with on-going research, and investigates clinical outcomes with a qualitative approach. This kind of adherence to detail through a holistic lens really impresses me as a healthcare provider.

And I am confident that I can contact the staff at Tango anytime to ask a question that may involve a specific formula, an ingredient, a patient, a protocol – or just call out of curiosity about new formulas under development. And I know that I will be received with integrity and warmth.  John and Jim have a genuine interest in patient care and good formulas, and I am honored to carry their fine formulas in my clinic. And my patients like Tango formulas too, because they are effective and affordable.

Amy Petrarca
Amy M. Petrarca (above) runs BiaoHealth Acupuncture in San Francisco, California. After graduating from Auburn University School of Nursing in 1993, Amy obtained her professional nursing experience at some of the most reputable hospitals including: The Cleveland Clinic, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and currently works in the Emergency Room at San Francisco General Hospital. (Image: Amy Petrarca in San Francisco General Hospital ER, from the PBS documentary, “Loving the Night Shift.”

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