Newsgroup: alt.folklore.herbs
From: (john midura)
Date: 23 Jan 1996 03:16:53 GMT
Subject: Re: Going crazy,lack of

>>Anyone know of anything to take for a good sleep? Melantonin is banned in my country. i have been getting only 4-6 hrs sleep for past 2 wk (thats very little for me) Once , nearly fall when the train suddenly stops, Someone help me before more fatal accidents!
>Try Valerian or Passionflower. Don't use Valerian longterm or in high doses, you may wind up not being able to sleep without it.
>Far more to the point - what's the cause? Stress or what? Sort that one and you might not need anything to get you to sleep. After all, you should be able to sleep without needing anything!

If you're stressed, try a cup of Chamomile tea, tastes good and relaxes one pretty well. Other herbs are catnip, skullcap, passion flower and of course, valerian.

Although not related in any way, Valerian's effect is like that of Valium, except that there are no side-effects such as listlessness or grogginess in the morning. Prolonged or large dosing usually does not become addictive. The contraindication to prolonged use is that Valerian will actually reverse its effect. Meaning that after a few weeks of daily use, you may start to become hyperactive and sleep-less once again. Valerian is a sedative nervine in higher animals, but in the lower animal kingdom, it is acutally a stimulant.

From: (Joan Russell)

John Midura's post regarding valerian made me post for the first time in this group. I have been lurking for a long time. I took valerian for the first time a few weeks ago and could not sleep a wink all night. So I bought another preparation that had hops, passionflower, linden and valerian and still was hyper to say the least. Valerian is supposed to be good for hysteria, etc. not cause it, I always thought.

According to Rosemary Gladstar, (in her book Herbal Healing for Women - fantastic book in my opinion) 5% of the population do not have the digestive process necessary to turn valerian into a sedative and relaxant. Say hello to one of the 5% of the population that turns into a hyperactive, non-relaxed stressed insomniac!! I only took one valerian root only capsule and in the combination had one a night for two nights so it wasn't because of overuse.

I had to laugh at John's statement that in higher animals, valerian acts as a sedative nervine and in lower animals it is stimulating. Not quite sure where that leaves me.............

So I have been pondering a warning about valerian for a while but John's post spurred me on. Just about every book I have read on valerian fails to mention the possibility of valerian being a stimulant.

From: celticblue <aloipe.HUGSE1.HARVARD.EDU>

> herbs for insomnia? Are there any? Thanks to all in advance

before attempting to cure insomnia with herbs, look at possible causes:

  • too much caffeine or sugar are often culprits...
  • low blood sugar can cause waking in the middle of the night; this can be cured by keeping some crackers next to the bed...
  • stress?
  • exercise will help.
  • heavy exercise too near bedtime? try working out earlier.
  • some form of calcium and/or magnesium before bed helps induce sleep, whether tablets or milk.
  • chamomile tea works great! (sold as "Sleepytime")
  • there is also melatonin...try taking a smaller dose than recommended at first, see how your body responds
  • health food stores sell 3 MG doses, too much for some people... important!!
  • if you can't fall asleep, get out of bed! reading in bed is not good for insomniancs, it seems to make the bed less comfortable when true tiredness attempts to set in...

hope this helps...

From: (john midura)

>Hope someone out there will be able to help me. i know nothing about herbs but willing to learn. I have two questions, can someone let me know what herbs would be good to help a person sleep and how to use these herbs.

Generally, herbs that help you relax and induce sleep are chamomile, catnip, skullcap, hops, and valerian.
If you are anxious and worried about something, can't fall asleep, a cup of chamimile tea works real well.
Valerian, although not related in any way, has the same sedative effects as Valium, except you wake up feeling refreshed, not groggy. This is not an herb that tastes good as a tea, so you might want to use it encapsulated or in extract form.

> Also I have seen once at a fair this little pillow someone had made that was filled with herbs. They called it a dream pillow. Does any one know or have heard of this and what is in one of these pillows.

You can combine, chamomile, lavender, skullcap and hops (that's right, beer hops) in a little pillow. Keeping it by your face at night while breathing in the scents helps relax and induce sleep also. Hope this helps.

From: Brett Martin <>

>what herbs would be good to help a person sleep and how to use these herbs. Also I have seen once at a fair this little pillow someone had made that was filled with herbs.

I'll address the second part of your question first. A very effective pillow for relaxation is one made of high quality dried hops (Humulus lupulus). This has been used down the ages for insomnia (sleep problem). As to a list of herbs that will be effective for you I'll need lots more information. There is usually a reason behind most cases of insomnia. Remember, every person is different. We create problems when we treat everybody as if they were the same. Saying that, Valarian (Valeriana officinalis) root and St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) flowers have been quite successful in the area of sleep irregularities. Be well!