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Four Herbs for Four Sleep Needs

One of the most intriguing benefits of using herbs to support our needs is that - just like individual people - herbs are individuals themselves with their therapeutic gifts. There can be many reasons why we have trouble sleeping, and there is usually not a “one size fits all'' herb that solves the trouble for everyone. That’s why getting to know your herbal heroes individually will help you choose the best one (or combination of many) that can support us.  

Read More: Why We Can’t Sleep & How to Nod off Naturally 

Four Herbs for Four Sleep Needs

Here are four classic herbal hero’s that have traditionally been used to support restful sleep. Each one suits a particular type of person and dosha, and may work better for a particular sleep presentation. 

Take our Dosha Quiz here

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) One of the most popular sleep aids for generations, valerian has a very distinct personality in both taste and smell, and ability to bring on sleep. Valerian is best used for the person who is so tired they can’t sleep. They may still feel overexcited in their body, but extremely mentally sluggish. This can fit the personality of an overworked pitta, still wound up with excited and passionate energy, but mentally completely drained. Valerian was also traditionally used as a remedy in convalescence, alluding to its ability for strengthening weakened or over-stressed body systems over time. 

Taste: Sweet, bitter, aromatic & astringent.

Best used for: Pitta

Find it in: Night Time Tea

Lavender (Lavendula officianlis) Lavender is a sweet and gentle remedy with an affinity for the heart and nervous system. Traditionally, lavender was given to those experiencing heartache, grief, sadness or a sense of loss, and lavender was known to cheer a despondent and gloomy disposition. Today, it is still like a song for a worried heart, but also relaxes the nervous system from extra stress in those who may consider themselves highly sensitive. Lavender is also known to be a nootropic - soothing and supportive of mental and emotional well being. For those who have trouble sleeping from either frazzled nerves, jittery thoughts or perhaps a sense of longing sadness, lavender flowers are a true herb hero to try. 

Taste: Aromatic, slightly sweet and pungent.

Best used for: Vata and Kapha

Find it in: Love TeaNight Time Tea

Milky Oat (Avena sativa) Perhaps one of the more underused herbs today, milky oats are an absolute blessing for those with nervous depletion, mental fatigue, and extreme lethargy. Milky oats have been traditionally used as a nervous system tonic, and today they are ideal for folks who chronically lack good quality and quantity sleep (such as new parents, students, or those with shift work schedules). Milky oats are considered a trophorestorative, being highly nutritive and very restorative to a chronically fatigued nervous system. They are also considered a nervine, helping the body and mind to relax even while stress is still lingering in their lives. Milky oats are the best herb for those still functioning under stress, who may be unable to escape disturbances in their sleep patterns for a long period of time. 

Taste: Sweet & nourishing

Best used for: Pitta

Find it in: Night Time Tea

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) Chamomile flowers offer so many benefits for the body, including being anti-inflammatory, calming, and soothing to digestion. As a sleep aid, chamomile is ideal for those who may feel highly stressed or anxious, and especially for those who experience a nervous or upset stomach in the evenings. Chamomile is also an excellent choice for women experiencing cramps which may keep them from sleeping. An herb that can be used for all ages, chamomile is a classic choice for children who need a little extra gentle encouragement to wind down. Did you know that chamomile tea frozen into ice cubes has long been a remedy for teething infants in the evenings? Thanks to chamomile’s multiple therapeutic gifts, it is a preferred sleep supporting herb for those with pain, digestive discomfort, physical stress, and adolescent restlessness. 

Taste: Astringent and slightly bitter

Best used for: Pitta and Kapha

Find it in: 

Join our herbal educator, Lindsay Kluge, for an Instagram Live discussion all about different herbs for different sleep troubles on Thursday, February 18th at 12:00pm EST. Bring your questions, and a piping hot cup of tea!

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Author: Lindsay Kluge

Herbal Educator, Pukka Herbs US

Lindsay is a clinical herbalist and nutritionist with a passion for bringing plants and people together. Through her work as a teacher and practitioner, she is passionate about helping people feel empowered in their health through community organic gardening, health education, and connection with nature. She has worked in clinical practiced with naturopathic doctors and MD’s alike, bridging the gap between alternative and conventional medicine to bring comprehensive, research based botanical medicine to her local communities. With an undergraduate degree in horticulture and a Masters in herbal medicine, plants are Lindsay's love language. She currently serves as the herbal educator for Pukka Herbs in the US, and teaches clinical nutrition at her alma mater, the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She is a guest lecturer at herbal medicine schools and conferences throughout the US.


MS Herbal Medicine

Years of Experience:

10+ years as a clinical herbalist and nutritionist practitioner

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