Insomnia is a nasty and life disrupting disorder that can shatter your health and relationships. Not everyone likes the idea of having to use pharmaceutical drugs to tackle it, but fortunately nature has provided plenty of herbs to put us back to sleep.
Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that is most commonly associated with the difficulty of falling into, and maintaining sleep. Generally speaking, if you are suffering from insomnia you will find it hard to get to sleep, wake up constantly, have difficulty getting back to sleep again, wake up too early, and wake up tired.
As a result of this, those suffering are often irritable, constantly fall asleep during the day, suffer memory problems and have a generally hard time functioning at a normal capacity.
The most common cause of insomnia is stress and anxiety, however, such things as depression, schizophrenia, and a range of other ailments can cause it. One often overlooked cause of sleeping problems is simple and plain overuse of caffeine. While being healthy in proper amounts, insomnia and caffeine can create a vicious circle.
Rick‘s cannabis oil has lately been making the rounds through the documentary „Run from the cure“, which tells the story of Rick Simpson‘s success in fighting cancer with a very concentrated and potent cannabis oil preparation. This is oil is made from the buds and leaves of cannabis, it is not to be confused with shop bought hemp oil. Regular hemp oil is usually cold pressed hemp seed, and whilst highly nutritious, is not going to stop insomnia.
To make Rick Simpson oil („RSO“), about half a kilogram or more of cannabis flower is reduced to just a few grams of oil, making it an extraordinarily potent medicine, loaded with THC and CBD. Widely used to treat and cure cancer, the oil is highly effective for a number of ailments. One of its characteristic traits is sedative effects, it puts you in deep, profound slumber within a few minutes.
Depending on the dosage, the oil is more or less psychoactive. In small doses it doesn‘t cause a cerebral high like smoking, but in higher doses it can induce tiredness and the couch lock.
To learn more about RSO, check out Rick‘s website: www.phoenixtears.ca
Valerian is a plant found growing in both Europe and Asia. It is the root of this plant that is used for medical purposes. Whilst its individual compounds have not been studied in great detail, it is the combination of them that is though to regulate and effect the amount GABA within the brain. It has been found that a reduced amount of GABA can cause insomnia, and valerian's ability to help regulate it can greatly reduce the effects of insomnia.
While not as powerful as a prescription drug, Valerian shouldn‘t be underestimated. The herb looks back on a long history of use and is a staple in western herbal medicine. Many people don‘t get satisfying results from Valerian because of bad preparation. Boiling the root destroys the actives, yet many people do so, wondering where the effect has gone. To make a potent sleep tea, put 1 to 2 teaspoons of root in a cup of cold water, and let it sit for some 12 hours.
Valerian is also used to reduce anxiety and thereby reduce the effects of insomnia, effectively treating the cause of the condition, rather than the symptoms. Unlike many pharmaceutical drugs, Valerian does not leave you with the same groggy “hangover” that some of these drugs can cause.
While Valerian shouldn‘t be use for longer periods of time, the herb has been shown to be safe. There have been people trying to kill themselves by massively overdosing on Valerian, but it didn‘t do more than cause stomach discomforts and a headache.
Passiflora incarnata is a very effective herbal remedy that can help you beat insomnia without leaving you spaced out or hungover. It is a flower whose medicinal properties were recognized by the ancient Aztecs, and it has been used ever since as a sedative. In clinical settings, it has been shown to reliably improved the length and quality of sleep.
However, compared to Valerian, Passion Flower is milder, but shows a larger range of action. The herb has pain relieving properties, and is often used as a mild anti-depressive due to the presence of harmala alkaloids. For the chemically intrigued, this same group of alkaloids is found in Banisteriopsis Caapi and Peganum Harmala, both strongly psychoactive plants. It should be noted that harmala alkaloids are MAO-Inhibitors and dietary restrictions should be followed.
A word of caution, long term and over use can lead to fatigue and a feeling of weakness - so start with small doses until you know what you can handle and how it effects you. The most common way to take this is to brew a tea from it, taking it in a relaxing environment half an hour or so before you go to bed.
Originating from along the banks of the river Nile in Egypt, blue lotus historically held a position of reverence and cultural significance in ancient Egyptian civilization as a sedative, painkiller and aphrodisiac. Today, it is known largely for its sedative effect, making it a good option for those looking for new ammo in the war on insomnia. It is most commonly brewed into a tea, but can also be ingested directly or taken as a tincture. It contains aporphine, a chemical that induces a calm, sedative euphoria.
Blue lotus is not thought to have any negative side effects itself; any problems usually stem from instances where it is mixed with other drugs. So make sure if you are giving it a try, you are not on anything else.
Catmint, or catnip, is a herb originating from the south of Europe. Its tops can be cut and dried out to prepare a medication that can help reduce stress and beat insomnia. It offers other health benefits, such as improved digestion and improved mood. Nepeta cataria is a very common garden plant, and has no issues of legality. You can brew the dried tops into a tea for consumption at your own leisure. Take it throughout the day and have an extra strong brew just before you go to bed.
While not technical a herbal remedy, Melatonin is a hormone found naturally within the body and is the chemical agent that regulates your internal body clock. It is something that the body should naturally produce to help you sleep, as you sleep. As your environment gets lighter, the body gradually produces less, helping you wake up.
Melatonin supplements have been shown to be very effective and are the choice of professionals how have to deal with sleep disturbances, such as pilots. Melatonin is pretty much a surefire way to put you to sleep, without showing strong side effects. It can cause increased grogginess in the morning, but is generally safe and legal in most countries.
L-Tryptophan & Vitamin B6
If you want to get fancy, you can get your body to increase melatonin production by itself. To do so, use the chemical precursors of melatonin - Tryptophan and Vitamin B6. In this combination, the B6 will trigger the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, which eventually converts into melatonin. But having your body synthesise the melatonin itself might prevent any hormonal dependency on ready-digestible products. Tryptophan is also used to maintain emotional stability and boost your mood.
As you can see, there are quite a few options available to beat insomnia naturally. It is very important to understand that there is no “cure all”, easy solution, or straight forward answer to this disorder. In order to effectively treat it you need to assess the potential underlying causes and address them. Are you a particularity anxious person? Have you been under a lot of stress? Are you depressed? All of these can cause insomnia, and whilst the above will help, you will need to fight it on every front to be rid of it for good. Understanding the cause will go a long way in helping you decide what kind of medication is for you, and how you can best combat it.