When nerves are frazzled, and a person has difficulty sleeping, there are herbal teas to soothe nerves, calm the senses, or lull you into a restful night's sleep. The beauty of calming herbal teas is the immediate relief they provide. While "nervines" or calming herbs benefit the body by relaxing, nourishing, and strengthening the nervous system, relaxing herbs on the other hand, provide mild anxiety relief, helping reduce the negative effects of stress. A caution however, pregnant and nursing mothers, and people on medications should check with their doctor first before using herbal teas for therapeutic purposes.
One of the best-known and popular teas to drink when a person has problems sleeping is chamomile tea. It is a calming herb with a mild sedative effect that may even prevent people from grinding their teeth (bruxism) while sleeping. Chamomile contains an active ingredient "glycine", an amino acid that acts as a nerve relaxant. Combined with HOPS, chamomile tea can help soothe an upset stomach, relieve indigestion and bloating, plus having a calming effect on people who are stressed. However, you should be prudent when using this herb, as people can have an allergic reaction to chamomile, and people taking warfarin or anticoagulant drugs should not use this herb.
Lemon balm is an herb that makes a delicious, fragrant, and relaxing cup of tea. It contains an active ingredient "terpenes" which contains relaxing properties. It is great for people with uncontrolled anger or a raging kind of personality. By relaxing the nervous system, lemon balm helps put a person in a better mood. Combined with chamomile, the two are powerful in diminishing effects of "tantrum throwers". Furthermore, lemon balm combined with another herb called motherwort is helpful in addressing heart palpitations initiated by stress. Additionally, lemon balm can cool an acid stomach, plus ward off oral herpes.
Traditionally, this herb has been used by people who feel awkward or nervous in social situations. Kava Kava contains a compound called "eugenol" that calms muscle spasms that sometimes accompany stressful conditions. Kava Kava acts on the part of the brain where stress response is usually initiated. This calming herb reduces stressful feelings and feelings of anxiety by relaxing muscles and stiffness associated with anxious feelings. Like chamomile, Kava Kava can calm the mind and body so it can have a restful sleep.
Kava Kava also has benefits for women experiencing menstrual cramps, or menopausal women having hot flashes. It can also help ease muscle tension associated with these conditions, as well as easing joint pain.
For emotional balancing, motherwort is an effective herb for women. Whether it is irritability, anxiety, a volatile temperament, or "menopausal rage", motherwort can address these symptoms. It can also help relieve heart palpitations caused by anxiety or symptoms of high blood pressure. Combined with another herb, Blue Vervain, the two can decrease symptoms of menstrual cramps, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), or feelings of anxiety. Combined with the herb, Pulsatilla, they are effective for people who worry a lot or are constantly fearful, a potent aid for anxiety attacks. Since motherwort tastes quite bitter, it may be better to use this herb in tincture or extract forms.
For people who are stressed to the hilt, and stretched beyond their limits, both mentally and emotionally, fresh oat provides an anti-anxiety effect that can calm frazzled nerves. Constant tension and chronic stress can manifest into mental fog, muscle pain, high blood pressure, or stomach upset. Fresh oat can also take the edge off people with caffeine/nicotine/morphine cravings by controlling these urges and dealing with withdrawal symptoms. However, people with Celiac disease should not take fresh oat.
Therefore, the next time you feel under the gun both mentally and physically, take a breath, sip on a cup of calming herbal tea to help you relax and prepare you for a good night's sleep.