I've been looking for a natural way to get better sleep. Prescription sleeping pills make me quite ill. So, researching the ingredients of a popular over the counter remedy has revealed the following. I'd rather not spend a small fortune on a few weeks worth of manufactured pills. But, I figure I can try out some of the ingredients by making a simple tea before bed time.
Melatonin -A naturally occurring compound that is secreted in the brain. It's available in pill and liquid form. I prefer the liquid drops. The pills upset my stomach. I don't think this would be a good tea. I love melatonin. It puts me to sleep quite easily. Unfortunately, it doesn't always KEEP me asleep. So I would have to combine something else.
L-Theanine -Commonly found in green tea. I found a reference that said theanine has been shown to help reduce stress levels as well as produce a calm and soothing effect. That's interesting because most think tea has caffiene and therefore would have the opposite affect. I love my green tea, and always feel soothed by drinking it. Perhaps there is soemthing to this Theanine stuff.
Valerian Root Extract -Valerian root has long been used to treat insomnia. You can find valerian root in many different forms, including sprays, elixirs, drops and tea. It is my understanding that the molecular components have been refined by chemists to create the drug, Valium. Don't know how true that is, but thought I would mention it.
Hops -Hops are actually the primary stabilizing agent in beer, but have also been shown to have the same effects as Valerian root.
Passion flower - The components in passionflower have calming, sleep inducing, and muscle spasm relieving effects. In one reference I found, it is compared to Lorazepam. It looks like I could get this in a liquid extract, which would be nice, because I could titer my dosage instead of guessing with a tea. Perhaps I could just grow my own on the backyard fence. It is a very pretty vine!
Lemon balm contains components that seem to have a sedative, calming effect. High doses of purified lemon balm extracts were found to be effective in the amelioration of laboratory-induced stress in human subjects, producing "significantly increased self-ratings of calmness and reduced self-ratings of alertness."
Chamomile Flower - There is Level B evidence to support the claim that chamomile possesses anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties and may have clinical applications in the treatment of stress and insomnia.
Catnip - Though not known for producing sleep, is considered a relaxing herb as well as useful for calming the stomach. Though it gives excitement to cats, it does not have that effect for humans
Lobelia - In the photo above that I took in my garden, I do not particularly like it. Even though it has some sedative properties, it takes a larger dose to produce that effect. Since, in larger quantities is is known to be toxic, I do NOT recommend it for assistance to sleep.