BACK TO ASK THE HERBALIST
ANSWERS FROM CARLOS:
I am having problems sleeping and was advised to drink
valerian root and passion flower tea? Do any of these
herbs interfere with the effectiveness of birth control
pills? If so, can you recommend anything else that
would induce sleeping but that would not interfere with
the effectiveness of birth control pills?
Well, the two herbs you mention kind of contradict each
other. What I mean that although Valerian will help with
the sleep issue, Passionflower is used to "lift up the
spirit", which may mean that your thoughts may not be
able to be at rest enough to sleep.
I would not suggest the Valerian at all. It is a "harsh"
herb, too strong sometimes, and if using over the
counter pills you are never really safe. Much safer than
Valerian is the extract of Linden flower, 25-30 drops an
hour before bedtime in a cup of Chamomile tea, will be
just the thing. Sweeten only with a bit of honey.
QUESTION: I'm 25 years
old and suffer from anxiety disorder. I also been
suffering from insomnia. My question is can I drink the
Seven Blossoms herbal tea at night while drinking
Cymbalta 60mg at morning or if you can suggest any other
herbs for sleeping
ANSWER: Actually the
Seven Blossoms is fairly complete and you may drink it.
Allow me to say that you may wish to enhance it by
adding 15 drops tincture or extract of Lemon balm. I
would suggest 15 minutes or so of meditation before
I have used 1000mg of Valerian
as an occasional sleep aid. The last two times I found
that I couldn't sleep at all. If my reaction to
valerian has changed (now it excites me instead of
sedates me), will I ever be able to use Valerian again?
Instead of Valerian I would suggest 30 drops of extract
of Linden flower in an infusion of Lemon balm. Sweeten
only with a bit honey if necessary and drink one or two
cups an hour before bedtime. These are better and safer
than Valerian, and extracts work better and faster.
Whether the Valerian is causing this is impossible to
accurately answer, but assuming all is in order and the
pills or capsules are fresh, I suggest you stop try my
suggestion mentioned above, and if you still prefer
Valerian give it 30 days before trying it again.
My grandson has a sleep disorder causing serious
disruption of his circadian rhythm. He says the only
thing that helps is
Is there any nutritive value to this plant. I have read
that it is considered to be a poisonous plant. I am
concerned that it is reported to depress the central
nervous system and that it is primarily a hypnagogic
herb. I cannot see the benefit of this herb for overall
is used for divination and lucid dreams by the Indians
of Oaxaca, Mexico where I happened to live years ago.
There is no health benefit whatsoever to this plant. It
should be used moderately, if used at all.
Its effects have not been very well documented,
therefore, I would suggest avoiding its use.
I recommend that your son prepares a strong infusion of
Chamomile, and add 15 drops extract or tincture of Lemon
balm and 15 drops extract or tincture of Linden flower.
Sweeten with a bit of honey and drink 2 cups 1 hour
ANSWERS FROM LORYHL:
Please could you tell me can I take St Johns wort and
rhodiola at the same time? I suffer from chronic
insomnia and rarely sleep for more than 2 hours each
night. I can't find any contraindications other than
avoiding caffeine in the supplement. Do you have any
other suggestions as to what may help with my insomnia.
This is what I suggest:
- I know some people think that the rhodiola is best
taken in the morning. If you have a toxic liver, it may
be too rich for you. If you arenít sleeping while taking
the rhodiola, stop taking it, unless you have other
serious reasons for taking it.
- I suggest you get:
- L tryptophan, and take one pill , 1/2 hour before bed,
- get Melatonin, with B-6 in it, and take 1/2 hour
- get homeopathic sleep pills from Hylands, or another
good company ( we can send you all of these if you need
us to) and suck on them as directed, as you get into
- do not eat, or drink 3 hours before bed, no caffeine
after 10 AM, no pork, or chocolate
- Make sure you get into bed, and lay, there or read,
1/2 hr before bed after taking the melatonin, and L
tryptophan, as soon as you feel tired, turn off light,
close your eyes, and sleep. This works if you do it.
Let me know if you need more info
I'm having a very hard time getting the proper rest. I
bought an herb tincture for sleep called relaxing sleep
tonic with Valerian, passionflower, hops, chamomile and
catnip. I have tried taking the recommended amount on
the bottle - 30-40 drops, with no help at all, and after
reading that wasn't nearly enough on an herb website,
tried their suggestion of a teaspoon, still with no luck
in having a decent sleep. I really don't want to take
the prescription meds my doctor has prescribed - I don't
want to become dependent on them and I don't want the
side effects, but I'm really getting desperate for
rest. Please let me know if you have any suggestions -
and thank you.
I suggest you get L- Trytophan, and take one pill 1/2 hr
before bed, and then make sure you are in bed. Do this
one week, if this does not help, take 2 -L--Tryptophan,
before bed as previous. If after one week, this does
not work, then take melatonin, chewable, one before bed
1/2 hr, and do one week, then try two if not ( caution,
sometimes , more is not better, so try a lower dose
Also our blend Essence of Peace, in warm milk
with honey, just before bed, will help as well. Make
sure you have caffeine only in the mornings, and no
sugar, or fried foods at nite, and donít eat past 6PM,
if you can do that too ( you could have a piece of
fruit, or a light food at nite)
Thank you so much for your response! I will try the
Tryptophan as you suggest and go from there. I don't
have any caffeine in my diet anyway (not chocolate or
anything) as I am sensitive to it. I'm not all there
due to lack of sleep - forgot to tell you I have nerve
pain/tingling that is a major part of what's keeping me
awake - I am seeing a neurologist about it, but he's
really not been any help except to give me
pharmaceuticals - he can't even figure out what's
causing it! Thanks so much - it's so great to have some
support and assistance with this.
I strongly suggest you go to a good cranial sacral
therapist, and a chiropractor, who does cranial sacral.
Be cautious about who it is, and make sure they are
advanced, open minded chiropractors, who are wholistic
minded. I believe you have some neurological issues due
to spinal involvement, and perhaps other things as well.
want you to know that I tried the Tryptophan last night,
along with a bath with epsom salts and was able to get a
decent sleep - I did have to get up to urinate a few
times, but other than that I did well, so THANK YOU! I
will also follow up with your friend and finding a
cranial sacral person. You are one of the angels.
Thank you. If you will follow a clean diet, and get as
many good health cells, in your body, you will begin to
do much better over all, even the bladder at nite! A
cleanse would help this. I can send you one if you like.
QUESTION: I am a woman and I have been snoring
for years and it is getting worse. In a womans
magazine it said to use butterbur, but I read that it
may be toxic to the liver and may
cause cancer. Do you know of any other natural
solutions? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
ANSWER: Thank you for the inquiry.
I am not familiar with using the Butterbur for snoring.
I do know the following:
- there are items in your diet that are contributing to
- you may have allergies
- you may need to clean your body and do a cleanse, and
take herbs to support the cleanse, and the healing of
your complete body, and the allergies or irritation you
- use the Neti pot, water bath with a couple of drops of
spearmint essential oil (or use tea tree if it agrees
with your body).
- use thyme in your cooking, both raw and dried, this is
very good for the sinuses, and has been known to help
- read the download on suggested diet healing and
-The protocol incorporates lifestyle change, and
implements healthy diet, body cleansing, exercises and
different traditional and natural therapies.
- we make a powder, or tea, with peppermint, passion
flower, and in more serious cases valerian root, this is
very mild and has helped many people with the similar
If you need further suggestions, please let us know.
ANSWERS FROM KAREN:
QUESTION: I am trying to make a drink that
promotes sleepiness. I have some herbs I would like to
use. They are the following: Valerian, Chamomile, and
hops. Please let me know if you think this is a good
combination. I would love to hear any suggestions you
have regarding other herbs. My biggest problem is
getting the herbs into a drinkable form with proper
ANSWER: Those are all great and should knock you
out pretty nicely!! I'd use 1 part Valerian, 2 parts
hops and 3 parts chamomile. The reason is that valerian
is pretty stinky and not great tasting, but very
effective. The taste of the chamomile should overpower
it with this blend. But just make small doses and adjust
Just in case you don't know, what I've just
given you is called the "simpler's method" of making
herbal formula and it simply means you keep the "part"
consistent throughout the recipe. A part can be an
ounce, a teaspoon etc. Doesn't matter. In the above
example, if a part was a teaspoon for example, you would
mix 1 Teaspoon of Valerian with 2 teaspoons of Hops and
3 teaspoons of chamomile. That would be enough for a
quart of tea. Normally 1 heaping teaspoon of tea per 1
cup of boiling water. Steep this one for 10 minutes.
Simple - Right!?
Mother was suggested to take Ornithine to improve her
sleep as it promotes ammonia detox. I would like to
know if Ornithine might effect in any way the blood
thinners mothers takes since her heart surgery 5 years
ago. She is doing really well keeping her blood tested,
she would like to try Ornithine to see if it might
improve her sleep. I know some supplements like the one
starting with a K are not good for her because interfere
with blood thinner. What about Ornithine? If you don't
know can you refer me to a web site where they might
ANSWER: I don't know who suggested Ornithine for
your Mom, but I can't find any evidence that it is
helpful as a sleep aid, It is mostly used as a growth
hormone and to build muscle. As for drug interactions, I
can't speak to that, as I'm not an expert in
pharmaceuticals. You would need to discuss that with
your pharmacist. My suggestion for a natural sleep
alternative would be valerian tea or chamomile tea. They
are both calming and will help your Mom sleep with no
side effects. I also have a tea called Restful Night
that will be helpful. You can find it on my website at
http://www.allgoodegifts.com/ under Teas in the Herb
Shoppe. If you just do a search on Google.com and put
in the word Ornithine, you will get all kinds of
information on it.
Thank You for the opportunity to ask my question. I was
warned off taking Tylenol PM to help me sleep. A friend
suggested Valerian which seems to work quite well. I am
presently having blood work done every 3 months for a
problem with my liver as a result of cholesterol
medication. Is taking valerian safe? What are the
herbs known side affects?
ANSWER: Valerian, taken in moderation of course,
is safe. Some of the precautions you should take are:
Do not take in conjunction with alcohol or sedatives
Do not operate heavy machinery or drive while taking
Valerian is contraindicated in patients who are
hypersensitive to the herb. If you show any reactions to
it such as allergies, rash etc. discontinue its use
immediately and seek medial help. If the problems in
your liver are hepatic dysfunction, there is a risk of
hepatotoxicity with Valerian, so you should discontinue
its use. Also, pregnant or lactating women should not
use Valerian for obvious reasons. Hope that answers the
question. Always let your medical professional know what
herbs you are taking so if there are interactions with
other medications, they can advise you.
What, what will help with being able to sleep? I go
constantly on 2-3 hours of poor sleep quality. Any
ANSWER: My favorite
herb for insomnia is Valerian. You should be able to pick
it up in capsules or tea at your local health food store.
Currently Iím desperately looking online to ask someone
a question. This draws towards not being able to
sleep. But Iím more curious if you have heard anyone
else with what I have to tell you. Sometimes when I
donít get a lot of sleep, I see a black dot now and
And usually its not when I blink, but randomly it
will...for example. One black dot ran up and down my
mirror three weeks ago...but that was it. Gone. Now,
about four nights ago, for about 10 seconds, I saw what
looked like glitter floating everywhere, like confetti.
Now I was at my work at the time (I work in a pizza
shop) and my two co-workers, one being my brother. Did
not see the glitter. I know it sounds stupid but if you
could please take the time to write back, letting me
know if you have heard anything like this. Currently
Iím starting to think I have insomnia, I canít fall
asleep right away and Iíve been waking up tired. If you
can recommend anything from your site, please do. Thank
you for your time.
What you are describing sounds like "floaters". I'm not an
expert, but I had the same thing and my optometrist took a
good look and told me there was nothing to worry about.
I'd get an eye checkup all the same, just to ensure that
the black dots you are seeing are nothing to be concerned
about. I have a couple of teas that may help you relax
enough to get a good night's sleep. go to my website at
www.allgoodegifts.com and under the Apothecary,
you will see medicinal teas. Click on the Blends box and
select either Restful Night or Stress Less Tea.
NATURAL SLEEP REMEDIES
have a 13 year old son who has been taking different
kinds of medications for the past 9 years, and we
decided to give him a break and he is not taking any,
but he has a sleeping problem, itís hard for him to go
to sleep early (8-9pm), he stays awake until 1:30am and
he will sleep until noon the next day. I have tried to
wake him up earlier but itís impossible to do it. So
what I want is to give him something that will help him
to go to sleep earlier so he will not sleep for too long
the next day. What herb can you recommend? I would
like to give him some natural medicine to help him to go
to sleep earlier instead of a drug, because I want to
break the bad habit of getting up late the next day.
I think all teenage boys want to keep those hours!
There are several things you can do. Lavender is very
soothing and relaxing, so spraying lavender in the bedroom
before bed and on the linens will help. Also I have
dream pillows for restful sleep as well as Restful Sleep
Tea available on my website at
www.allgoodegifts.com The teas are in the
Apothecary and the Dream Pillows are in the Gift Shoppe.
The main thing you need to do is help him reset his clock.
Even if he doesn't go to bed at the right time, you must
make him get up and start trying to function at 8 or 9am.
After a couple of early mornings, he'll be happy to go to
bed and sleep at 9pm. Boys that age are doing a
tremendous amount of growing, so his sleep is critical.
Also make sure he is not eating anything stimulating
within 3 hours of bedtime. That means NO sugar,
caffeine, soft drinks, chocolate milk, spicy foods, etc.
QUESTION: My girlfriend and I are searching for a herbal
remedy to help her get a
good night sleep. After glancing through previous questions, I noticed
you mentioned the phrase can't turn the mind off. This is exactly her
problem. Her mind keep thinking and is still active in the night any
motion from me she wakes up and can not fall back a sleep. Any
recommendations would be helpful. This is our first attempt to
when you cannot turn your mind off, we refer to it as circular
thinking one herb that has been used successfully used for this is
Passion flower a Native American herb with the Latin Name: Passiflora
incarnata. A fresh extract of the herb is most effective in the
alcohol extract form. It can be combined with Scullcap and
It is best to take a dose 1/2 to 1 hour before bed then again just at
bedtime for this condition.
A Chinese combination for Monkey Mind, as they call it, is Reishi
Latin Named: Ganoderma Lucidum and Fu ling (Hoelen Fungus)
LatinNamed: Poria cocos add in Chinese Ginseng Latin Named Panax
ginseng if she is depleted, deficient or exhausted insomnia. All
in equal parts. Take twice a day am and pm meal.
We carry a product called Rosemary's Relaxing blend, that comes as a
tea or a extract and has been used by our clients/customers to relax
at night. We can also provide custom blends of the herbs
mentioned in 8 ounce bottles.
She should see results fairly quickly but give the combinations
several months before see full effects and evaluating results.
QUESTION: valerian vs. melationin, Please explain the differences. I have tried some liquid valerian but have not tried melatonin. Am trying to get a better night's sleep on a regular basis.
Valerian is a herb or plant, Latin named: Valeriana officinalis, V. strichiensis in the plant Family: Valerianacea. It is good for insomnia. For some Valerian can cause excitement instead of sleep, this is dependent on the age of the plant when it is processed into the tincture or pill. The older the plant material the more it smells like old socks, very stinky. To avoid the likeliness of this unusual side affect be sure the plant has not been on the shelf long or has been processed fresh, fairly soon after picking.
There is a herbalpedia available for this herb if you would like to order a single copy or yearly subscription please contact the following.
Melatonin is a hormone which naturally occurs in the body in certain quantities and is regulated by the body, when synthetic melantonin is supplemented, sleep occurs for some. It is not a herb or in the plant kingdom.
From the Natural Pharmacist website http://www.tnp.com
Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates sleep.
During daylight, the pineal gland in the brain produces an important neurotransmitter called serotonin. (A neurotransmitter is a chemical that relays messages between nerve cells.) But at night, the pineal gland stops producing serotonin and instead makes melatonin. This melatonin release helps trigger sleep.
The production of melatonin varies according to the amount of light you're exposed to; for example, your body produces more melatonin in a completely dark room than in a dimly lit one so to naturally increase melatonin produced by your body add thicker blinds to your bedroom windows to darken the room completely.
Melatonin hit the news in 1995. Not only was it recommended as a treatment for insomnia and jet lag, but for various theoretical reasons it was also described as a "wonder hormone" that could fight cancer, boost the immune system, prevent heart disease, and generally make you live longer. But all we really know is that it helps people whose natural sleep cycle has been disturbed, such as travelers suffering from jet lag and swing-shift workers.
Contrary to earlier reports, it does not appear that melatonin levels decline with age.
QUESTION: Since going off the pill, my daughter is having difficulty sleeping.
Which herbs are recommend for sleep inducement? Would apprciate
any info available.
The simple answer to your question is Scullcap, Kava Kava, Valerian, Hops and Passion Flower.
My questions to you are, does she have anything else going on in her life such as pain, anxiety, can't turn mind off, stress or lots of caffeine before bed. It is an interesting correlation between the ending of the pill use and insomnia. If it is stress, try Ashwugandha, which is a relaxing adaptogen.
We have a tea and tincture blend called Rosemary's Relaxing Herbs which has been successfully used by our customers and clients to relax before bed.