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Botanicals for Stress & Sleep

Botanicals for Stress & Sleep

A wide variety of  botanicals are used to help support a healthy sleep cycle and relieve occasional insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep).

These botanicals are considered to be nonhabit-forming and do not leave a sense of grogginess upon awakening.

Drinking a hot cup of tea with “relaxing” herbs is a common and enjoyable way of delivering their benefits.

Many of the active ingredients are also extracted and concentrated and taken as a dietary supplement, capsule gel or tincture.

Here are some botanicals that are used to reduce stress and/or promote restful healthy sleep:

Ashwagandha – is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic. Long known for its ability to help the body deal with stress. Helps reduce elevated cortisol (produced in the adrenal cortex in response to stress) levels at bedtime. Can help with insomnia especially if sleep difficulties are related to stress and being too exhausted to sleep.

Chamomile – used as a bedtime tea for centuries for its mild relaxing properties.

Hops – a popular sleep aid, as well as a preservative in beer. Used to treat anxiety insomnia and restlessness; for more than 1000 years used as an ingredient in beer.

Lavender – lavender oil is used in relaxing bath oils and by aromatherapists. When taken as a supplement it can promote relaxation, calm nervousness and reduce irritability. It is used to address insomnia and help bring on sleep.

Lemon balm – commonly used as a sedative and stomach soother.

Passionflower – a popular herbal sedative, the fresh or dried Passionflower herb has been used for centuries to treat nervous tension, anxiety, exhaustion from overwork, and insomnia. It is a mild sedative and gentle sleep inducer.

Rooibos – used in South Africa as a tea for many years to calm the digestive tract and reduce nervous tension. Rooibos has become a very popular herbal tea more recently in the United States.

Valerian Root – has been a sleep aid for more than 1000 years. It provides a calmative effect and promotes relaxation.  It is not considered habit-forming and does not produce a “hangover” effect.

valerian passionflower
Valerian Passionflower








Note: The hormone Melatonin is also a dietary supplement used for insomnia. Because melatonin is not a botanical but a hormone that is normally produced in the body, it is not listed above.

Melatonin regulates daily biorhythms including the wake and sleep cycle which tend to be disturbed when people travel across different time zones.


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