Insomnia is a widely-recognized sleep disorder affecting a good majority of our population. It can range from acute to chronic, requiring medications that most of the time produces unwanted effects alongside substance dependency.
Going the Natural Way
With the rampant possibility of forming physical habituation on prolonged doses of synthetic drugs, it is best to seek the aid of what Mother Nature had offered as a cure. These top five herbs have been able to give the human race a natural alternative for the treatment of insomnia long before Valium or Xanax had become a staple in our medicine cabinets.
Scientific Name: Matricaria recutita
Chamomile as an herbal remedy helps in soothing the nerves and promoting restful sleep. That is why it is commonly recommended for individuals suffering from mild insomnia. In the same way those benzodiazepines, a group of anxiety-reducing medications (e.g. Valium and Xanax) works in the brain, chamomile also encourages relaxation and the natural feeling of sleepiness. However, it is not accompanied with the potentiality of physical habituation or substance addiction. This mild and gentle herb doesn’t come with the reported side effects that you may acquire with prolonged use of anxiolytics, such as dizziness, headache, uncontrolled trembling, and a sudden state of confusion.
To prevent those sleepless nights and experience a somewhat hypnotic effect, it is recommended to drink a cup of chamomile tea about thirty minutes before you go to sleep. You can make the tea by boiling 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile for 10-15 minutes. If desired, you can sweeten this concoction with honey then drink immediately.
2. Kava Kava
Scientific Name: Piper methysticum
Kavalactones (kavapyrones) is one of the main active ingredients found in the kava root . These include chemicals such as kawain, dihydrokawain, and also methysticum which have been found to be an effective treatment for anxiety. Individuals suffering from insomnia will benefit from this herb as studies suggest that it helps in reducing convulsions, promoting better sleep quality, and relaxing the muscles.
This herb is recommended to be taken before bedtime. You can also take 100-250 milligrams of kava extract up to 3 times in a day as deemed necessary. Kava kava, also helps in alleviating pain which explains why consumption of its root can cause a temporary feeling of numbness and a slight tingling sensation on the surface of the tongue.
Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol when taking kava extract. This herb is not suited for people with liver problems, for those who need to drive, and for individuals who need to operate machinery.
3. Valerian Root
Scientific Name: Valeriana officinalis
With small pink and white flowers, you will not think that this perennial plant is widely praised as a natural sleep aid. According to studies, taking 600 milligrams of valerian extract is comparable to the effect when an individual has taken an insomnia drug such as oxazepam. The best part is that it has lesser side effects compared to the usually given prescription drugs.
Valerian helps insomniacs experience sound sleep, and have an immediate feeling of sleepiness with just 200-400 milligrams taken one to two hours before bedtime. The so-called sleep potion can also be found in health-food stores. You can ask for expert advice from your doctors if you want to determine the standard amount of this remedy suited for your case of insomnia.
Try valerian root and learn why it's one of the best natural herbs for insomnia.
Scientific Name: Myristica fragrans
Nutmeg is widely-known as a flavoring agent, however not everyone is aware of its mild sedative properties which aids in the promotion of better sleep for all the ‘night owls’. In its native habitat, Indonesia, it is already being used for the treatment of insomnia. Higher doses of this herb are also proven to have aphrodisiac properties and psychoactive ones as well.
Sufferers of insomnia are recommended to take ¼ teaspoon of this freshly ground herb. Ground nutmeg can be dissolved in juice extracts and also in warm water. Make sure that the herbs are fresh as dried nutmeg tends to produce lesser efficacy. For a restful slumber, take this concoction about 4-5 hours before sleeping or you can increase the dosage as you regulate your natural sleeping pattern. Toxic dose, however starts to occur at a 5-gram dose.
Scientific Name: Lavandula officinalis
Herbal treatments for insomnia are usually taken orally. However, lavender is used instead as an aromatherapy for sufferers of insomnia and depression. Studies show that the ambient odor of this herb’s essential oils, when used with a diffuser, can result in the same experience as when an individual is taking prescription sleep substances. Satisfactory sleep is almost identical with a drug treatment without having to sacrifice one’s general health.
Also, this kind of remedy does not compromise the insomniac’s immune system while naturally producing better sleep quality.