By Jemma Wards, Medical herbalist >

Insomnia is a common phenomenon. Here are three common herbs that may be growing in your garden that can be used with the guidance of a medical herbalist for supportive care. Herbal medicine, dietary and lifestyle changes can provide safe and effective solutions to this dilemma. Mild sedative herbs can be taken at night as tea or in a tincture (a small amount of alcoholic mixture) 1-2 hours before bedtime.

Chamomile is a relaxing herb that calms the nervous system reducing restlessness, easing tension and anxiety. Chamomile can be used specifically to reduce flatulence and bloating in the upper gastrointestinal tract and promote sleep.

Lavender is another useful herb used in sleep blends. It is effective in lifting people’s moods and is used successfully in depressive states. It was traditionally used to ease digestive dysfunction in biscuits. The aerial parts are used in a tea and tincture, a herbal bath or herbal bed pillow can encourage a night of deep and relaxing sleep.

Valerian is considered another mild sedative. However, a few individuals find valerian stimulating and should avoid its use. The roots and rhizome of this herb are generally used in tincture form, as the tea can be challenging to take. Traditionally it was used in hysterical states, excitability, and in nervousness. Useful in times of stress and for reducing intestinal colic and spasm. Modern research states that it increases REM sleep and can significantly reduce morning sleepiness.

Jemma Ward, Medical Herbalist is working within the scope of Western Herbal Medicine approved by The National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH). Focusing on the patient and the root cause of illness rather than on the symptoms presented. The choice and application of herbs prescribed is based on detailed information given during the consultation and a result of any clinical examination conducted during the consultation. This allows for a bespoke personalized prescription to be created for each person. Follow up treatments are on a monthly or fortnightly basis until the treatment is resolved at the patient’s discretion.

Picture Joshua Woronieci