Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Herbal Remedies for Insomnia

Specific Herbal Remedies for Insomnia

More than anything else, the side effects that accompany conventional drugs have been the reason behind the marked shift in the general approach towards treatment. The long list of warnings that accompany drugs for serious ailments has helped in the resurgence and acceptance of herbal remedies.

Treating depression and the various symptoms like insomnia that accompany the issue are a point in case. Conventional drugs that are used to treat depression are habit forming. Even discontinuing these drugs is not easy because it causes withdrawal symptoms. Further, the patient needs to undergo a detoxification program to ensure the complete removal of the drugs from the system. On the other hand, herbal remedies for depression and insomnia are safe. They do not have any side effects, they treat the root cause of the problem, and they have a holistic approach towards the condition.

Valerian is a wild herb and a natural sedative. Its main constituent, valeric acid, is used in drugs and perfumes. Valerian has been in use for many years for its calming and soothing properties. Valerian is usually taken as tea with calcium and magnesium tablets to enhance its effectiveness. It also reduces anxiety and tension and therefore aids in sleep.
Lemon Balm is a bushy perennial Old World mint that has lemon-flavored leaves. These leaves contain aromatic essential oils. Lemon Balm is highly recommended for relieving tension. It is normally used in conjunction with valerian for maximum effect.
Lavender contains volatile oils. The aroma from the oils has a soothing effect that induces natural sleep. Lavender has been an integral part of treating depression naturally. Inhaling the essential oils or applying a few drops of lavender under the pillow induces a sound sleep throughout the night.
German Chamomile is used medicinally to aid in gentle sleep. It is also effective against a sour stomach and irritable bowel syndrome (which are also a cause of insomnia at times). The white-rayed flowers can be taken as an herbal tea. Two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea should do the trick.
California poppy extract acts as a mild sedative when smoked. It should not be confused with opium that contains different type of alkaloids. The effect is far milder than that of opium and this herb is not addictive. A tincture of California poppy is very effective in treating nervousness. Larger doses are used for treating insomnia.
Kava can be used to make a moderately potent drink. The plant is an ancient Pacific crop and acts like a tranquilizer. A drink of higher potency brings sound dreamless sleep for a considerable time.
Ginseng has been a mainstay of herbs. Apart from providing energy and vitality, it also helps in inducing sleep in people with mild insomnia.
Dried female buds of hops have a mild sedative effect on the central nervous system. It is a useful treatment for insomnia, stress and anxiety. In addition, antibacterial qualities stimulate the production of gastric juices.
By any means, this is not a comprehensive list of herbal or natural remedies for depression. Marshmallow root, spearmint, passion flower, St. John’s Wort, red clover and reishi mushroom have also been known to have properties that help in inducing natural sleep without any side effects.

Even though herbs are generally safe, it is advisable to understand the effect that each herb has on the system and the quantity that is safe to consume. There are some exceptions to the rule and certain herbs should not be taken in certain conditions. For example, valerian should not be taken if you are driving or operating machinery. Similarly some herbs are not meant for pregnant women and lactating mothers. Some herbs need to be avoided if you are already taking some other drugs for insomnia. It’s helpful to consult a qualified professional when starting herbal remedies for insomnia.



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