Facebook Pixel

5 Herbal Sleep Aids

Rate This
five herbs that are sleep aids iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Herbs have been used in preparations to aid sleep since ancient times in all cultures. But ever since the advent of scientific and structured medicine, it has not received the same favor with the public.

This is partially because of the lack of well-organized research behind it. Its "folk medicine" status made the people wary of its origins and effectiveness.

But in recent times, as more research is being done on the chemistry of the plants and the effects of their potent chemicals on humans, well-reputed universities have come forward with studies that show that certain herbs may indeed bestow certain benefits on those with insomnia.

Here’s an indicative list of such herbs:

1. Chamomile
Chamomile is a daisy-like plant with yellow-centred white flowers native to Europe and Asia. Chamomile is rich in a particular flavonoid called chrysin. Chrysin has sedative properties, thus helping as a sleep aid and a stress-buster.

Chamomile is available in many varieties, the most popular of which are the German, Roman and the English chamomile. An herbal infusion of chamomile could be a great warm beverage to take an hour before bedtime to reduce anxiety and to induce sleep gently.

Chamomile essential oil could also be helpful if a few drops are added to your bath before bedtime. Chamomile may also be used in support therapy for conditions such as chest colds, sore throats, gingivitis, acne, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease and a few types of stomach ulcers. (1)

2. Lavender
Lavender is native to the temperate climates of south Europe, Mediterranean and India. They are most commonly cultivated for their essential oil. The most common types of lavender are French, English and Spanish lavenders.

A study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna in 2010 examined the anxiolytic effects of lavender oil and its influence on sleep quality.

Lavender oil, with a high percentage of linalool and linalyl acetate, showed meaningful efficacy in alleviating anxiety and related sleep disturbances. (2)

Lavender oil can be diluted with any carrier oil and applied on the skin.

Add a Comment4 Comments

Thank you World Vitae for your inputs! Much appreciate them and you taking the time to read the article here at EmpowHer.

It is true Ashwagandha is one of the potent herbs that is believed to help one with better quality of sleep. There are many other herbs as well (such as Valerian, Chamomile, Passion Flower, Lemon Balm, Kava Kava etc) which could not find mention in the '5 Herbal Sleep Aids'.


June 16, 2012 - 9:43pm

Missed one of my favorites: ashwagandha! It is an herb from Indian/Ayurveda traditional medicine that's super useful for creating calm, reducing anxiety and stress, relieving depression, and curing insomnia.

Beyond that, its uses go on and on and on...

June 15, 2012 - 11:41am

I have been having the problem of insomnia since my schooling days. But as I read this article about these five herbal sleep aids I now realize that there were times when my sleep improved quite considerably. And these were the times when I used lavender and also later when I used hops. In retrospect I see that these occurrences coincided. I used to wonder about the cause of these changes in my sleep patterns. Thank you for giving these tips.


June 3, 2012 - 11:06pm

All of these tend to have some effect. Not everyone will get same effect thats where these kind of get lost. But they do have an effect. I have seen it firsthand.


June 1, 2012 - 10:58am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.