Top Herbs to Treat Insomnia

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

If you are dealing with insomnia, you may want to try a natural treatment route before seeking out help with over the counter or prescription drugs.

Countless people use herbs to treat insomnia with success. Here is a listing of top herbs that help with sleep:

Passion Flower - This herb is known for its tranquilizing effect which includes anti-anxiety and mild sedative properties. The good news is studies have shown that the way Passion Flower works is different than how sleeping pills or sedative drugs work. It is also non-addictive. Most herbal sleep remedies contain this herb and it is listed in Germany as an herbal tranquilizer.

Valerian Root - Higher doses of Valerian Root has been compared to the effects one would have if taking Valium. Valerian Root is a top sleep herb. It has a history of being used as a mild sedative and is also used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and epileptic seizures.

Lemon Balm - The effects of lemon balm are relaxing. It has been used since the Middle Ages as a relaxant. Studies have shown that it encourages sleep, calms the mind and improves the mood. It has also been shown to improve cognitive performance.

Hops - American Indians used the blossoms from this plant to make a sedative. This herb is known to produce sleep, especially when combined with Valerian. As such, many herbal combinations on the market today that are manufactured to treat insomnia contain Hops.

Chamomile - While this herb has long been recognized as a sleep aid, studies have shown that it may have no direct effect on chronic insomnia itself. Rather, what it does do is indirectly promote sleep by producing mental calmness. If anxiety is one reason why you are unable to sleep, Chamomile may be for you. One study found that it even reduces the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

Corydalis - This herb has been used since the eighth century in China for many things including the treatment of insomnia. Its sedative properties are not known to produce any adverse side effects or hangover symptoms. It is also used in the treatment of anxiety and restless leg syndrome.

American Skullcap - This herb is different from Chinese Skullcap. The American version is known for its sedative qualities. It is also used to treat other conditions such as tension, high blood pressure, and to help with withdrawals from tobacco and alcohol. All of which can lead to problems with sleep.

It is advised that you seek out the help of a naturalist or herbalist before self-treating with herbs. They can advise you on combinations that work, as well as dosage, the preferred intake method (such as a tea, capsule, etc) and other things you need to know so you can get the effect you desire.

In addition to herbs that can be ingested, herbs can also promote sleep via aromatherapy. An aromatherapist can help you determine which herbs, such as lavender, can help you combat insomnia.

Please note that not all herbs are safe to ingest, especially when combined with prescription medication and alcohol. When in doubt, seek out your medical provider for advice.

Finally, bear in mind that you can often rediscover normal, healthy sleep by making some simple sleep hygiene improvements. I offer a free sleep training course to make this a little easier.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.