6 Herbs for a Sound Sleep

Fall asleep faster with help from these sedative herbs.

| November/December 2010

Hops (Humulus lupulus) have been used as a sleep aid for centuries. The dried fruits’ volatile oils have a significant sedative action. Try hops just before bedtime, or stuff the strobiles (hops cones) into a sleep pillow.
Dose: About 1 heaping teaspoon hops per cup of boiling water for tea

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) leaves are used as a tea, often with chamomile, to relax the body and induce sleep.
Dose: Steep 1 to 2 teaspoons in a cup of boiling water for tea

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has alkaloids and flavonoids that tranquilize the central nervous system, reducing anxiety and aiding sleep.
Dose: 1/2 teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiling water to make a tea

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) calms, reduces anxiety, helps overcome environmental distractions and regulates blood sugar.
Dose: Three 1-gram tablets three times a day

Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) contains a calming antispasmodic.
Dose: 15 to 40 drops of tincture two to three times daily or use 1 to 3 teaspoons of the root per cup of boiling water to make a tea.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a strong sleep aid that can be mildly habitforming, so take it continuously for no more than one month, or occasionally for serious sleep disturbances.
Dose: 300 to 400 mg of valerian standardized to 0.5 percent essential oil about an hour before bedtime. (Pregnant women should not use valerian.)

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