Herbal Insomnia Remedies

by anonymous user on July 25, 2010

Although their popularity has surged in recent years, herbal remedies for insomnia have been in use by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for well over a thousand years. While single herbs can be used to provide sedation, combinations of herbs often work better and have fewer side-effects because herbs with different properties can be used to aid in different aspects of sleep and to balance each other. This is especially true if the remedy has been constructed specifically for insomnia, as some products are.

For example, while herbs like valerian and its Asian cousin, patrinia provide sedative effects, sedation is not the only means of aiding restful sleep. A common cause of poor sleep is obstructive sleep apnea, often at least partially due to sinus congestion and phlegm production. So, a more comprehensive Traditional Chinese herbal insomnia remedy will contain herbs like poria to reduce phlegm production in combination with sedative herbs.

As with sleep apnea, pain can easily disturb sleep and can make sleep restless even when sedatives are used. Herbs such as Szechuan lovage root are often added to an herbal sleep aid to ease pain and promote comfortable sleep.

Another common source of sleep disturbance is poor digestion. Traditional herbalists will often add herbs like licorice root to herbal remedies for insomnia in order to calm the digestive tract.

TCM herbal remedies for insomnia typically address multiple factors in sleep disturbance. Combinations of herbs with a variety of properties are used to address the various factors in poor sleep.

Although TCM is rapidly becoming more popular, the recent incidents of contamination in products from China, ranging from pet food to toothpaste have left many Westerners hesitant to use herbal remedies produced in China.  This is too bad, because TCM herbal remedies often provide superior results with minimal side-effects due to the skillful balancing of a variety of herbs in each formula.

The good news is that a few companies are now producing sleep aids and other herbal products using Traditional Chinese formulas  in the United States.  Now time-tested Chinese herbal remedies produced under strict quality-control guidelines are becoming available so that  the benefits of comprehensive herbal remedies for insomnia can be had without risking the exposure to toxins sometimes found in products produced in China.

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