Lately, it's been kind of hard for me to fall asleep.  Since I need 8 hours of sleep to be a happy, sane human, actually falling asleep is kind of important...

Time to open the herbal medicine cabinet!  I based this tea recipe on a blend by a wonderful herbal apothecary in my area, and used what I had around the house.  It makes a warm, relaxing sleep aid tea you can drink before bedtime.

~ 2 parts lemon balm leaf
~ 2 parts catnip flower/leaf
~ 2 parts skullcap leaf
~ 1 part lavender flowers
~ 1 part passionflower flower/leaf

+ 2 parts oatstraw (I didn't have any, but if you do use it!)

Measure your herbs into a mortar (or heck, a bowl works).  You don't need to be super precise, I just eyeballed it.  I specified 'parts' in the recipe so you can make as much or as little tea blend as you like. 

Grind the herbs with your pestle (or spoon, fingers, whatever) so everything is broken up pretty well.  If you're starting with pre-cut or pre-ground herbs, just stir all the ingredients together well.

Store your tea blend!  I put mine in an clean plastic gelato container - mason jars, plastic bags, and old tins work well too.  Use what you've got, just make sure it's relatively airtight and is not exposed to too much light (especially if you made a lot and plan to store it for a while). 

Ta da!  You made an herbal sleep aid tea blend. 

But wait... what if you don't have all these herbs just lying around, like I did?  You can:
  1. Buy the herbs from bulk at a local apothecary or natural foods store.
  2. Grow the herbs yourself (yeah!)
  3. Use other herbs.  Seriously.  There are lots of herbs that relax your nervous system (nervines) and induce sleep (hypnotics)... read on!
Check out Plants for a Future's medicinal herbs database - you can search for nervine and hypnotic herbs, and see which ones you have/have access to.  Use those, but make sure to read their full descriptions so you know what you're getting into.

Here's some info (gathered from Plants for a Future and Rebecca's Apothecary) on the herbs used in my sleep aid blend.  Enjoy and be informed!

Lemon Balm
Melissa officinalis


"Lemon balm is a commonly grown household remedy with a long tradition as a tonic remedy that raises the spirits and lifts the heart.
The leaves and young flowering shoots are... sedative.
The essential oil contains citral and citronella, which act to calm the central nervous system.
It is used to relax and rejuvenate, especially in cases of depression and nervous tension, [and] for nervousness and insomnia."

Nepeta cataria

"Catnip is a famous herb for its fun and excitatory effects on our feline friends, but it also has many powerful medicinal properties for us too!
Catnip also has mild sedative effects and combines nicely with your other favorite sleepy time herbs.
Catnip can be prepared as a traditional tea in a warm water infusion. It is also refreshing as a cold water infusion, and is very effective in a tincture for sleep."

Scutellaria lateriflora

"A widely valued restorative tonic for the nervous system, [Skullcap has] muscle-relaxing, and gently sedative properties.
It is specific for anxiety and "raw nerves" rooted in exhaustion.
A strong infusion is wonderful when I need help shutting off my mind at the end of the day.
It is specific for acute drug and alcohol withdrawal, and fortifies long-term recovery by deeply nourishing the nervous system while quieting obsessive thought patterns.
Avoid during pregnancy."

Lavendula angustifolia

"Lavender... is an important relaxing herb, having a soothing and relaxing affect upon the nervous system.
The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Lavandula angustifolia for...nervousness and insomnia."

Passiflora incarnata

"Maypops is a valuable sedative and tranquillising herb with a long history of use in North America. It is frequently used in the treatment of... insomnia, nervous tension, is also slightly sedative.
The plant contains alkaloids and flavonoids that are an effective non-addictive sedative that does not cause drowsiness... The plant is not recommended for use during pregnancy."
There you go!  Extremely edifying, yes?  And so soothing...

How do you help yourself fall asleep?  Herbs?  Meditation?  I'd love any tips!

You might like:
- Wild Forage:  Mullein
- Kombucha:  Brew Your Own 'Booch
- Chocolate Almond Milk:  How-To
- Earth, Will You Be My Valentine?

This post shared at Monday Mania, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Your Green Resource, Seasonal Celebration, Homestead Barn Hop and Pennywise Platter!

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4/1/2012 10:23:25 pm

Neat! Thanks for sharing, I will have to give this a try!

4/2/2012 11:34:41 am

I have used catnip tea as a relaxer before bedtime but I haven't combined other things with it.
I have been having a lot of fun growing herbs lately and am enjoying adding more herbs each year. I don't have to buy tea any more and that is pretty cool!

4/6/2012 02:25:52 am

Thank you so much for sharing this with us on Natural Mothers Network's Seasonal Celebration and best wishes for a very Happy Easter!
Warmly, Rebecca x

7/17/2012 12:40:35 am

I was scorching aroung the google commands for experiments, and since I have trouble with my sleep also ... I do not take any medicine chemicals, but only natural herbs, most recipes I have tried didn't work, I will try this on my own as soon as possible.

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Natural herb doesn't always mean no side effects. herbal teas may help you fall asleep and stay asleep.Looking for more updates from your side.Thanks

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This is a great combination of natural plants for having a delicious tea kind of drink and getting some sleep at night. Thanks for sharing.

7/4/2013 09:49:50 pm

Thanks a lot for the tea recipe. My husband had a bit of a trouble falling asleep lately and feels tired after waking up. I got to know about this blend from a friend of mine> I have been using it ever since and it has done wonders.

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7/29/2017 03:20:16 am

I put mine in an clean plastic gelato container - mason jars, plastic bags, and old tins work well too. Use what you've got, just make sure it's relatively airtight and is not exposed to too much light.

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