3 Potent Natural Herbal Sedatives:

by Carole Fogarty

This is a guest post by Dr. Nicole Sundene Naturopathic Physican:

Carole’s note:  I have personally used passionflower  for over 8 years now and love it.

Do you ever feel like you need a pill to take the edge off your stress?

Well, a lot of us get stressed from time to time, and if you don’t want to take something that totally knocks you out, try a gentle relaxing cup of sedative tea or liquid herbal tincture instead of popping a pill.

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Photo by Chad

Opinions may slightly differ amongst herbalists as to what the best herbal sedative is, but I think we can all agree that the most effective herb is the one that works best for you. Here are three of my favorites, along with a brief blurb so you can get an idea, as to which herb may best suit your constitution.

Please always check with your naturopathic physician before combining herbs with prescription drugs. Do not take sedative herbs during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

#1 Passionflower- The intricate purple flower has shown to be as effective as sedatives in the benzodiazepine (valium) family, the aerial parts of this herb are great for nervous tension and anxiety. In recent research, passion flower extract at 45 drops daily (tincture) was shown to be as effective as oxazepam (similar to valium).  This nervine herb is also “antispasmodic” which makes it great for people with constant nervous twitching.

#2 Ashwaganda- This is probably one of my favorite herbs, which is why it got the award for “Best Herb of 2007.” Unlike most of the sedative herbs that are designed to be taken at night or at least late afternoon, both ashwaganda and schisandra (listed below) are terrific “adaptogenic” herbs that help us tolerate our stressful days that much better. You can make some tea, or grab some capsules of the organic root and take two capsules twice a day.

This herb is specifically intended for those that are exhausted and agitated or debilitated by stress. In ayurvedic medicine ashawganda is a renowned anti-aging and rejuvenating herb.

#3 Schisandra- Referred to as “Chinese Prozac” this herb is commonly unappreciated and underutilized in American herbal practice.   Schisandra is the dehydrated mature fruits of a herb known as Schisandra chinensis.

Schisandra is a terrific day time adaptogen herb and should be taken as is recommended with Ashwaganda, two capsules with breakfast and lunch, or a cup of tea in the morning and afternoon. The berries can be made in to a nice aperitif for those with a low libido.

If you have any questions please leave a comment for Dr Nicole Sundene Naturopathic Physcian.

Guest post written by Dr Nicole Sundene from Kitchen Table Medicine

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary / GoodlifeZEN March 31, 2009 at 5:39 am

Ah – this article has just come at the right time for me. I’m having trouble getting to sleep. I’m going to try these herbs.

One thing that’s helping me is a hypnotherapy podcast for going to sleep.

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Carole Fogarty March 31, 2009 at 9:42 am

Hi Mary,

Thrilled the timing was right for you.

My personal fav. is passionflower which I get from the herbalist at my local health food store. It can feel it relax my stomach and nervous system instantly.

Would love to know the link for the podcast.

Peace, love and choclate

Carole

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Beth April 7, 2009 at 6:59 am

Passionflower is terrific but don’t forget 2007′s herb of the year, lemon balm! I found it a little tricky to start from seed but it’s a mint so once it starts it’s pretty hardy. It can take over your garden, though so it’s best in a pot.

Just a couple of fresh leaves pinched off steeped in hot water is soothing, relaxing, and cheering:) I’ve found that it does really “chaseth away melancholy,” too.

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Eve January 16, 2013 at 1:34 am

Would you recommend any of these for children? My 3 year old has epilepsy and night terrors, and passionflower sounds like the answer. We are trying to avoid seizure meds.

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Carole Fogarty January 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Hi Eve, I would check with a herbalist at a health food store or a naturopath.

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