If you are looking for ways to combat insomnia but prefer not to take sleeping medication, then you may want to consider some remedies from traditional medicine for your sleep problems. Insomnia is characterized by an inability to sleep or a disturbance of sleep, and it is caused by any number of things, including stress, pain, food allergies, and medications. Over the years, I have experienced insomnia off and on and have come across a variety of ways to combat insomnia, some of which have been quite effective. Maybe some of these less conventional methods to treat insomnia can be helpful for you as well.
Flowervine is used in Chinese medicine as one of the ways to combat insomnia and is also known as Ye Jiao Teng. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use it to calm the spirit and nourish the heart as well as to activate blood circulation and unblock channels. I have read that it is very useful for people who are fitful sleepers because of their dreams. Having not actually tried this remedy myself, I cannot attest to its usefulness. However, I do know that Chinese medicine can be quite effective, especially if a qualified practitioner oversees the use of the medicine.
I can remember my dad telling me stories of his mother putting a mustard poultice on his chest when he was sick. I was never very interested in trying the remedy myself, but apparently this traditional folk remedy is useful for a variety of ailments and can even help promote sleep! When a small amount of mustard powder, 1 teaspoon, is put in a warm foot bath it is supposed to draw blood away from the head, which in theory makes a person sleepy. I am not entirely sure I am convinced this would work, but a mustard poultice for pain is supposed to be highly effective. So, if pain is keeping you up, this could be a useful remedy.
In Ayurvedic medicine, nutmeg is used to induce sleep in someone who is suffering from insomnia. Nutmeg is a very warming spice and can help you relax if you are stressed. Ayurvedic practitioners suggest drinking nutmeg tea before bed if you have trouble sleeping. In the holiday season a nice warmed mug of eggnog with a sprinkle of nutmeg can be very calming. Just be careful how much nutmeg you use because a little bit goes a long way. Nutmeg can be hallucinogenic and just 2 teaspoons can be deadly! So, use sprinkles, not spoonfuls.
Chamomile tea is a time honored treatment for insomnia. Herbalists will often prescribe chamomile tea when someone is having trouble falling asleep. It is a very gentle treatment that can be extremely useful. I often drink chamomile tea before bed, but I recently learned that to be truly effective, the tea needs to be double strength and steeped with a lid over the mug. Next time I make myself some chamomile tea I will try the double strength method and see if it is even more helpful.
One of my all-time favorite ways to ward off insomnia is to put a little lavender oil on my temples. It works great, and it is so calming! Lavender oil is used in aromatherapy as a treatment for insomnia. It is a very relaxing essential oil that is even useful for treating migraines. For the ultimate relaxation, try putting drops of lavender oil in a hot bath. All of your tension will instantly melt away!
Coffea cruda is a homeopathic treatment for insomnia that is derived from the raw berries of the coffee tree. It may seem very counterintuitive to use coffee for insomnia but, in homeopathy, substances that cause symptoms in large doses can be used in small doses to treat the same symptoms. So, something that is stimulating is used to treat your buzzing mind that is keeping you up at night. However, I am not suggesting that you drink coffee to fall asleep. The homeopathic remedy comes in little tablets that melt under your tongue and is essentially only the essence of coffee.
Pustallia is a flower and is another homeopathic remedy used to treat insomnia. It is specifically used in cases where you feel restless at night and can’t fall asleep because you are uncomfortable or feel hot or cold. It can also be helpful if you are having trouble sleeping because you indulged in too much rich food. Just like the coffea cruda it comes in tiny tablets that dissolve when you put them under your tongue. This and all homeopathic treatments are great for people who are sensitive to medication because they do not have any reported side effects!
If you are plagued by insomnia, a traditional remedy just might be exactly what you need to send you into slumber land. I have plenty of experience with insomnia and have tried several holistic treatments. My favorites have become lavender and chamomile, but you might find a different treatment is more effective for you. What is your go to remedy for insomnia?
Source: Shealy, C. Norman. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies. London: HarperCollins, 2002. Print
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