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Top 7 Tips To Prepare Sleepy-Time Herbs

By Raymond Lee

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Most health-conscious people steer clear of sleeping pills because of concerns about side effects and possible addiction. But, ah, the convenience…Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a little something you could take to soothe you gently into sleepiness? Actually, there is. Unlike sleeping pills, herbal sleep aids are nonaddicitive, can be used every night and cause no side effects. The amounts recommended here are for healthy adults. Pregnant women and those with medical conditions should consult a physician familiar with medicinal herbs before using these plants. Do not give these herbs to children under age 2. For older children and those over 65, start with low-strength preparations and increase strength if necessary.

  1. Valerian

    When the elders of thirteenth-century Hamelin, Germany, refused to pay an itinerant flute player for ridding the town of rats, the Pied Piper used his music – and the aroma of valerian – to hypnotize the town’s children and lure them away. Valerian has been used as a sedative/tranquilizer ever since. In one experiment, researchers gave 128 people with insomnia either 400 milligrams of valerian root extract or an inactive placebo. Those who took the placebo showed no change in sleep quality, but the herb users showed significant sleep improvement, with no morning grogginess. When using commercial preparations, follow package directions. With the bulb herb, use two teaspoons of powdered root per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 15 minutes. Drink one cup before bed. Taste: earthy and unpleasant; add sugar, honey or lemon or mix it with an herbal beverage tea.

  2. Skullcap

    Chinese physicians have used skullcap as a tranquilizer/sedative for centuries, and it was a popular sleep aid in nineteenth-century America. Some experts continue to debate its merit, but it is an ingredient in many European herbal sedatives. When using commercial preparations, follow package directions. With the bulb herb, use one to two teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 15 minutes. Drink one cup before bed. Taste: bitter, add sugar, honey or lemon or mix it with an herbal beverage tea.

  3. Balm

    Arab physicians began recommending balm, also known as lemon balm, for anxiety during the tenth century. Charlemagne was so impressed with its sedative/tranquilizing effects that he ordered it grown in all the medicinal herb gardens in his vast European realm. Modern researchers have discovered that balm oil has tranquilizing properties. In Germany, where the herbal medicine is more mainstream than it is in the United States, balm is widely used as a tranquilizer and sleep aid. When using commercial preparations, follow package directions. With the bulb herb, use two teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 20 minutes. Drink one cup before bed. Taste: pleasantly lemony.

  4. Catnip

    The plant famous for its intoxicating effect on cats has a mild sedative/tranquilizing effect on people. Catnip has been used to treat anxiety and insomnia since ancient times. Scientists have discovered that the chemicals responsible for this plant’s amusing effect on cats are quite similar to the natural sedatives in valerian. When using commercial preparations, follow package directions. With the bulb herb, use two teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 20 minutes. Drink one cup before bed. Taste: pleasantly minty.

  5. Passionflower

    Some misinformed herbalists recommend this gorgeous South American flower as an aphrodisiac. Sorry, but the name has nothing to do with sexual passion; it is a reference to the Passion of the Crucifixion. Passionflower has been used as a tranquilizer/sedative by South Americans for centuries and was adopted by U.S. physicians in the 1830s. Passionflower contains potent tranquilizing chemicals. In Europe, it is an ingredient in many herbal sedatives. When using commercial preparations, follow package directions. With the bulb herb, use one teaspoon of dried flowers per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 20 minutes. Drink one cup before bed. Taste: pleasant.

  6. Hop

    When German brewers began using this herb to flavour beer around the ninth century, demand soared and farmers began planting large fields with hop. At harvest time, they noticed that hop pickers fatigued easily, and since then the herb has been used as a sleep aid. During the nineteenth century, it was an ingredient in many American sleep aids. When using commercial preparations, follow package directions. With the bulb herb, use two teaspoons of dried leaves and flowers per cup of boiling water. Steep five minutes. Drink one cup before bed. Taste: warm and pleasantly bitter.

  7. Chamomile

    This popular beverage tea has been used since ancient times to soothe upset stomachs and jangled nerves. Modern researchers have discovered that chamomile oil has a mild depressant effect on the central nervous system, calming people so they can fall asleep. There are two ways to use this herb as a sleep aid. Either fill a small cloth bag with a few handfuls of the flowers and add it to a hot bath or brew a tea. When using commercial preparations, follow package directions. With the bulb herb, use two to three heaping teaspoons of flowers per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 20 minutes. Drink one cup before bed. Taste: pleasant with an aroma of apple.

Raymond Lee is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is the Founder of Bodyfixes Group specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.

Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Raymond_Lee

Article Submitted On: January 30, 2008