Tylenol and Advil are the big ones: the names everyone knows. We don’t call it Ibuprofen, we say Advil. But we’re only turning to these drugs because of Big Pharma’s deep pockets and relentless attitude to keep us sick while they make a buck.
Johnson & Johnson’s revenue last year was $74.3 billion.
Pills vs. Herbs
Most of these herbal remedies can be found in pill form. They, however, are usually just the herb in a capsule free of scientifically developed chemical ingredients and potential toxins that harm your body more than they help.
And when you’re looking to calm down and feel at ease enough to get some sleep you don’t want side effects.
Big Pharma doesn’t want you knowing about these herbal remedies because they’re actually useful. Some of these herbal remedies have been used for centuries in Ancient Asian remedies. Others have medicinal properties that are just being revealed.
Top 10 Herbal Sleep Remedies
Always talk to your healthcare professional before starting any new treatment. Many of the herbs on this list are emmenagogues meaning they stimulate blood flow to the pelvic region, and should not be taken while pregnant.
Voted “Best Herb of 2007” by our friends at Kitchen Table Medicine this adaptogenic herb is a great stress reliever. Most of the herbs on this list are known for their easing and sleep-inducing properties, but Ashwagandha – taken as a tea or capsulated form of the organic root – can be used to calm aggravated minds during stressful days.
Referred to as “Chinese Prozac” Schisandra is commonly underused and underappreciated in Western herbal medicine circles. Another adaptogenic herb, Schisandra is a terrific day time herb but is also a powerful stress-easing night-time medicine.
A cup of Schisandra tea in the morning and afternoon, or a capsule with breakfast and lunch can calm a worried mind and will prepare you for sleep as the day closes. The berries of this plant can be used to enhance blood flow and libido.
3. California Poppy
The leaves and bright orange flowers of this plant have many uses, from mild pain relievers to natural sedatives. This herb is used to fight colic and agitation in children.
Lavender comes in many shapes and forms, from the beautiful fragrant flower to an extract of the essential oils made from its petals. Lavender is known for its aromatherapeutic properties – many find just a few drops of lavender EO in a pillow case gets them off to dreamland.
5. Lemon Balm
A common and simple herb to grow, Lemon Balm can be used as a calming sedative. And it’s easy to make your own sedative tincture: harvest the lemon balm, rinse, let dry then pack in a sealable jar. Cover with vodka. Shake the jar once a day for two weeks.
The vodka extracts the herbal constituents, and after a few weeks you can strain out the plant leftovers and mix half a teaspoon of this “anxiety medicine” with a small amount of water to help calm you down.
A great mild sedative but it is important to point out that catnip absolutely should not be used during pregnancy. Catnip won’t have you rolling around on the carpet chasing beams of light – a nice tea or herbal supplement may have you easing off to sleep.
If you’ve read about calming, sedative herbs you’ve definitely read about Valerian. One of the more potent herbal sedatives, Valerian is also great for fighting chronic pain.
Valerian is to be used at nighttime as it causes grogginess and the strong desire to sleep. Teas using a mixture of herbs have such a low dose of Valerian so that you won’t experience a “herbal hangover.”
Strengthens a weak heart and helps ease nervous palpitation, Motherwort is best taken over a long time to heal nagging and chronic worries. Like most of the herbs on this list, Motherwort should not be taken during pregnancy.
Used for nervous fear, restless sleep, and high blood pressure, Skullcap is a cooling herbal sedative used to calm kids with ADHD. Skullcap can also be used to get some much-needed sleep during periods of high stress.
Of course, Chamomile turns up on this list. You can make a strong Chamomile tea by tossing a full tablespoon into 8 oz of boiling water. The real trick with Chamomile tea is to cover it while steeping or you will lose the essential oils to evaporation.
Other herbal sedatives are natural sleep aids: Hops, Kava kava, St. John’s Wort, etc… The list I’ve outlined above was to showcase lesser-known herbs that can be used as alternatives to Big Pharma pills and medicines.
Store bought medicines can wreak havoc on your liver and kidneys, and deliver unwanted side effects. The herbs outlined here are safe for most, but you should always check with your doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting a new treatment.