Herbal remedies for insomnia are being used by millions of Americans (as well as by millions of people around the world).
How do we know this about Americans? Surveys.
A 2002 National Health Interview Survey asked people about their
use of alternative medicines for insomnia. About 1.6 million U.S. adults
who bothered to participate in the survey said they were using either
herbal remedies for insomnia,
or melatonin and related dietary supplements.
Most of those people said they found that insomnia herbal remedies and other natural therapies were helpful.
It's not surprising.
Because even though it's difficult to find many really good studies on herbal remedies for insomnia, there is enough information that shows herbal remedies just might help with your sleep deprivation.
Lemon balm, also known as sweet mary, melissa, balm, or by it's scientific name, melissa officinalis, is a member of the mint family. The leaves have a mild lemon taste and fragrance.
Melissa officinalis has been used as a medicinal herb since the Middle Ages. Here's what centuries of use, as well as the scientific studies, show in terms of the effects lemon balm has as a remedy for insomnia:
Lemon balm is a powerful, remarkable, wonderful herb.
Yes. Lemon balm is considered GRAS by the U.S. FDA, meaning Generally Recognized As Safe.
In Germany, lemon balm is endorsed as a sedative by Commission E. Commission E is a committee of experts that reports on the safety and effectiveness of herbs and herbal combinations.
Melissa can even be used up to four months without problem. But if you're using melissa or other herbal remedies for insomnia...and nothing is working after a month or two...you've got deeper issues you need to be discussing with your health care provider.
As a remedy for insomnia, you might want to first try this balm by drinking it in tea. It has a pleasant taste. Sip on it after dinner or maybe an hour or so before going to bed.
Use anywhere from 1/4 to three teaspoons of the dried lemon balm leaves for each cup of boiling water. You could start with a lower amount first and see how it effects you. Steep for 5 minutes, or longer if you prefer. You can drink the tea up to 4 times daily.
Of course, too much liquid before bedtime can lead to a situation where you have to get up and pee in the middle of the night. Sort of defeats the purpose of herbal tea to help treat insomnia.
So if that's the case with you, here's...
Perhaps the best way to use it as one of the more effective herbal remedies for insomnia is to take it in capsules or tinctures that also contain other herbs for sleep. These herbs in formula combinations may help you get a longer and deeper sleep.
Always follow the dosage recommendation from the manufacturer. One excellent tincture I have found is Pure Calm. (Link opens a new window.)
Pure Calm, developed by a Clinical Psychologist, contains lemon balm, passionflower, and lavender. (Click the bottle image to the right to see this excellent supplement.) It:
Simply click here, Pure Calm to see what other satisfied Pure Calm users are saying. (Link opens a new window.)
You could also take capsules that contain only lemon balm to see if that works for you, although it may be less effective by itself. However, there was one small study that showed that a 600 mg dose of lemon balm by itself did increase calmness.
Essential oil of melissa officinalis can also be inhaled to counteract restlessness and produce a calming effect.
And here's something else that's interesting about lemon balm if you suffer from cold sores, as I sometimes do. Researchers have discovered that lemon balm has antiviral properties and can be used as an ointment to speed up the healing of cold sores.
Next in this series on natural sleep aids and herbal remedies for insomnia, we'll look at hops (see part 3 below). Yes, it's the stuff in beer, but no, having a nightcap before sleeping is a bad idea. It can lead to sleep maintenance insomnia.
Part 1 Herbal Sleep Aids: Valerian Root
Part 3 Herbs for Sleep: Hops
Part 4 Sleep Aid Herbs: Secrets to Sleeping Well Using Passionflower
Part 5: An Herbal Sleep Remedy for Egyptian Mummies?
Part 6 of Herbal Sleep Remedies: Chamomile
Return from More Herbal Remedies for Insomnia to Sleep Disorders Home Page
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