¯ Chamomile - Considered a pain reliever, an antispasmodic, and has general relaxant properties. Chamomile extracts are also sought by parents seeking effective but gentle ways to relieve insomnia in young children .

In children’s sleep problems related to excitement, worry, stomachache, or teething, chamomile is a treasure.

Of perhaps more interest to middle-aged people is chamomile’s use in menopausally induced insomnia. Underscoring the plant’s use, is a wide variety of female reproductive complaints, such as painful periods, mastitis, morning sickness and PMS.

Additionally, chamomile is a “cooling” herb, making it clinically, very useful for hot flashes, especially those that come on at night, causing anxiety and sleeplessness.

¯ Lemon Balm – (a.k.a. melissa) – Both a sedative and stomach soother by Commission E. Chemicals in plant called terpenes result in a sedative action. I suggest trying a tea made with 2-4 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water. Pleasant taste.

¯ Valerian – (valeriana officianalis) – Powerful sedative effects from its volatile oils, esters known as valepotriates and alkaloids. Must be understood it does not force one to sleep like a time sedative in the manner of many prescription drugs. Valerian instead is gentle and effective for most types of insomnia. In sleeplessness caused by anxiety, it quiets the mind that often interferes with the ability to fall asleep.

In the United Kingdom, there are more than 80 over the counter sleep aids containing valerian. Why? It works! In one study, a combination of 160 mg of valerian and 80 mg of lemon balm extracts brought on sleep as well as a standard dose of one of the drugs of the Valium family of pharmaceuticals called, benzodiazepines.

Capsules are recommended over the dried root powder because of the horrendous odor. I suggest 150-300 mg of a standardized extract (0.8% of valeric acid.)

¯ Hops – (humulis lupulus) – Used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness for more than 1000 years! The sedative ingredient is apparently the compound, methyl-butenol, which has a sedating effect on the central nervous system.

Hops pillows (cloth sacks stuffed with fresh hops and used as a nighttime pillow) are another popular way that this herb is used for insomnia. It can have a slight depressive effect, like beer. So, avoid in case of depression.

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