Insomnia: Useful Herbs and Ayurvedic Treatments
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Insomnia has become one of the commonest lifestyle-related problems in the world today. Sleep is extremely necessary to bring the body back to a normal state of functioning. Without sleep, the body will be unable to work efficiently and thus progress will be hampered.

An aggravation of the vata or the pitta doshas causes insomnia. Insomnia is not related to the kapha dosha. Such an aggravation can be caused due to several factors such as:-

  • A very busy and hectic lifestyle which is rife with mental problems
  • Consuming a heavy meal shortly before bedtime
  • Sleeping in the afternoons (siesta)
  • Lethargic life without much activity
  • Non-conducive climatic conditions
  • Physiological reasons such as menopause in women
  • Diseases such as high blood pressure, heart diseases or diseases of the kidney and liver.

It must be noted that both overwork and less work can cause insomnia. Hence, in order to get good sleep, it is necessary that the person word adequately according to their physical capacity and lead a healthy lifestyle.

(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Insomnia

Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)

Aniseed helps in relaxing the nervous system. Its pleasant taste helps the body to rest. Hence its tea is prescribed to people having insomnia problems.

Celery (Apium graveolens)

Just like aniseed, celery also makes the body relax and the nerves to soothe down.

Indian Sorrel (Oxalis corniculata)

The juice of the leaves of the Indian sorrel has good effects in inducing sleep.

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)

Nutmeg is used especially in treating sleep problems in children. It is usually taken in mixture with other substances like amalaki and honey.

Rauwolfia (Rauwolfia serpentina)

Rauwolfia has natural sedative properties. At the same time it is non-stimulating. So it can be used by children and adults alike to treat their problems of sleeplessness. It is much more effective if its powdered root is taken along with some other scented substance like cardamom or vanilla.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian is almost a narcotic in its effects on the human body, but it contains none of the addictive dangers. Consumption of the valerian root can reduce excitements, irritations and pains and induce good sleep.

(2) Dietary Treatments for Insomnia

A healthy diet can help in getting a good restful sleep at night. The following guidelines must be obeyed:-

For people who constantly suffer from insomnia problems, heavy foods must be avoided. If the person needs to have a heavy meal, then it must be taken at least three to four hours before retiring to bed. A walk after dinner helps to digest the food and bring good sleep at night.

A glass of buffalo milk before bedtime is good for sleep. Butter and ghee are also considered to be sleep-inducers.

As far as possible, spicy and oily foods must be avoided after dusk, especially if the person is prone to lose sleep at night.

(3) Ayurvedic Treatments for Insomnia

In most general cases, medication is not necessary to treat insomnia. The Ayurvedic doctor would first ascertain the cause of the sleeplessness and then eliminate it. This is enough to bring sleep.

But if sleeplessness persists, then medicines made from brahmi, vacha and amalaki are prescribed. They are provided in powder form, either collectively or separately.

Massaging the head with sesame oil is also beneficial in treating sleeplessness. Several yogic asanas are also prescribed, such as paschimottasana, shirasana, sarvangasana, uttanasana, etc.

(4) Home Remedies for Insomnia

Take a glassful of celery juice and mix a teaspoonful of honey in it. Have this every night before going to bed. It will assure a restful sleep throughout the night.

Grind some fried cumin seed to a fine powder. Mix them with the pulp of a ripe banana. Eating this at night induces sleep.

Mix the juice of the leaves of the Indian sorrel with its oil in equal contents. This is to be stored in a bottle. Massage this oil into the scalp every night before going to bed. It will cool the brain down and help get good sleep.

For people suffering from chronic insomnia, there is a therapy known as dhara, which can be done at home. Boil about two liters of buffalo milk with 60 grams of amalaki (Emblica officinalis, Indian gooseberry) powder. The milk with curdle. Churn this curd by adding water and extract butter from it. Make the patient lie flat on the ground on a mat. Suspend the buttermilk from an earthen pot with a hole in its base, such that the buttermilk drips directly between the two eyebrows of the person on the ground. Continue this therapy for about twenty minutes. Within a few days the insomnia will be totally cured.

The best way to treat insomnia is to seek a change in the lifestyle. Make your life simpler and avoid tensions and worries. This will not only provide good sleep, but it will also keep the body free from several other diseases and infections.

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