Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Matthew
Posted on: March 15, 2002

I’m looking for something to take to help me sleep. I have such a hard time sleeping because of so many things running in my head and it won’t stop. I don’t want to put myself on any sleep aids because of the risk of being dependent on them to get to sleep. but im really falling apart here and I need my R.E.M.s. What can I do? Someone told me about KAVA. Is that something that can help me? Or do you recommend going to the doctor?

There are many herbs that can help with insomnia. Some people find one that works well for them, while others rotate their "sleep" herbs, finding the effects of one protocol wears off. It is important to address the underlying issues, which could include excess stress, lack of exercise, and excitants in the diet, and to look at mind quieting techniques like meditation and yoga.

Teas: steep one to two teaspoons of the herb or herb combination in one cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink one hour before bedtime.

- Passionflower is one often used when the mind won’t shut off.

- Linden flower (Tilia cordata or T. europa) and St. John’s wort Ask for good quality dried herbs at your health food store.


- Kava kava may be used short term if no pharmaceutical drugs are being taken. Dose: one teaspoon of the liquid alcoholic extract.

- Valerian works well for some. It is one of the best sedatives. However, there is a certain constitutional type who find Valerian to have the opposite effect. These are usually people who are labeled "hyper". Dose: one to one and one half teaspoons of the tincture.

For more information, including supplements and dietary suggestions and exercise recommendations, please go to our website at Choose "Q&A" from the main menu, then choose "Search Richters Q&A", and enter the word "insomnia" for the search.

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