Lack of sleep impacts our daily lives although sometimes we are quite unaware of it. If you are constantly moody and lack focus, that’s probably because your body is telling you to get more shuteye. If you visit your doctor, you will likely be prescribed a sleep aid like diazepam which is commonly known to us as Valium. These pharmaceuticals are potent but can also have nasty side effects if used improperly. Its risk of overdose and drug interactions can be fatal. So, let’s explore a homemade natural Valium alternative.
Do You Struggle with Sleeping Problems?
Sleeplessness happens when you are having trouble sleeping at night. It does affect us at times but it is nothing worth worrying about.
However, it is more likely insomnia when your bouts of sleeplessness last for a prolonged time. Insomnia can be acute (primary) or chronic (secondary).
Primary insomnia is when the sleep problem is the disease itself while secondary is a symptom of another disease like depression.
Insomnia is manifested by having trouble going to sleep. It may also cause:
- Difficulty in concentration
- Trouble going back to sleep when awakened
- Feeling tired when waking up
What Fights Insomnia?
Often, removing the cause and doing some behavioral and lifestyle changes cure insomnia. Avoiding smoking, alcohol and caffeine may help.
Some people may take melatonin to help them sleep but there are also better options. Melatonin is good for jet lag and changing the circadian rhythm or your intrinsic clock time. But, it does little when it comes to chronic insomnia.
What doctors recommend though are sedatives and antidepressants like Valium to improve sleep quality. It helps you sleep uninterrupted through the night so you can get your daily sleep requirement. But we’re here to explore how we can replace conventional medicine with powerful herbs.
Fortunately, some botanicals work just as well as prescription medicine. They deal with sleep disorders and can heal a wide range of illnesses.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is considered as “nature’s valium” for its powerful sedative properties. In homeopathic treatment, valerian is used in patients with extreme mood swings.
Valerian root is the most commonly used part of the plant. Consuming it can induce brain activities and suppress insomnia and other neurological disorders.
Unlike prescription drugs, valerian can affect blood pressure. It lowers the blood pressure level which can bring benefits for the heart. Valerian may also help manage migraine pains and menstrual pains that affect how women sleep.
Amongst the effective insomnia and anxiety-fighting botanicals, passionflower is valued because of its milder effect. In fact, it is preferred over valerian by many.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a bittersweet herb that can induce calmness and sound sleep. Unlike other sedatives, passionflower lowers muscle tension and twitching. That is why it is also traditionally used for treating convulsions.
Passionflower serves as a brilliant option for those experiencing insomnia due to drug or alcohol withdrawal. It controls blood pressure levels and reduces restlessness and other withdrawal symptoms.
Passionflower may increase the effect of sleeping pills, so do not take passionflower with any sleeping aid.
Sleepless nights can make you wake up to lethargic mornings. If you are taking sedatives, you may also experience drowsiness that can get between your functional days.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is considered a well-tolerated herb for insomnia and depression. It is safe to take without leaving you groggy and restless the following morning. Lemon balm is also best for treating gas and bloating which may or may not be related to depression.
As a nervine and adaptogenic herb, it not only solves insomnia but also boosts the immune system to improve overall health.
Chamomile is a staple tea as far as sleep problems are concerned. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is popularly used to bring deep sleep and relaxation. It has an effect similar to that of a mild tranquilizer.
This calming herb has a sedative property that reduces brain activity. It has been used for thousands of years to calm anxiety and alleviate stress.
Sometimes, chamomile tea is given to infants more than 6 months old to cure colic. It helps relieve digestive symptoms and relaxes the baby to sleep.
I personally prefer to grow my own medicinal herbs at home, so I can make teas, decoctions, tinctures or salves whenever an ailment bothers me. I recommend this kit that provides ten different types of medicinal plant seeds. It also comes with a guide on how to prepare easy yet effective remedies out of your plants.
Homemade Natural Valium
Our recipe will feature passionflower which is most favorable for excellent sleep without nasty side effects.
If you want to de-stress and sleep longer for the night, you can trust this tea for the job. It is very straightforward and simple to make:
- 1 tbsp dried passionflower in a teabag (around 2 grams)
- 1 cup hot water
- Honey, to taste
- Put the passionflower teabag in a cup and pour hot water.
- Let steep for 6 to 8 minutes for a milder cup, or about 10 to 15 minutes for a stronger tea. Take out the teabag and sweeten it with honey.
Alternatively, you could make a passionflower tincture using 4 tablespoons of dried passionflower and 3.4 fl.oz of 80-proof alcohol.
How To Use:
Take 1 cup of passionflower tea every night before bedtime for 7 days. Children can take one tsp of this infusion twice a day. But then again, always consult with your doctor before giving passionflower to children.
The tincture will help you slip into sleep while calming your nerves. You can take 15 drops of the tincture as needed, up to three times a day. Depending on your preferences, you can pour the drops under your tongue or mix them with an ounce of water.