Chinese Herbs As a Sleep Aid
Chinese herbs can be used as a natural sleep aid. They are known to reduce stress, calm the spirit, and build the Heart yin. While herbal formulas vary, the most common are:
Suan Zao Ren. A sour jujube seed, Suan Zao Ren has a calming effect on nerves and helps the liver to nourish blood. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.
The liver is a key organ in the body for the flow of qi. When it becomes deficient, insomnia can occur. This is often a sign of a stagnation of qi in the liver. Medicinal formulas for insomnia may contain various ingredients such as:
Ge Gen. Also known as Pueraria lobate, this herb can help with mental alertness. It also increases reflex responses.
Chuan Xiong is another herb that can calm the nervous system and invigorate the blood. It is especially helpful for headaches and muscle tension.
Several clinical studies have proven that these herbs are effective for treating insomnia. Some of them work by inhibiting the 5-hydroxytryptamine 1A receptor. Others work through other mechanisms, such as activating the GABAergic system.
Getting enough exercise during the day is recommended. Wearing socks at night can also increase circulation in the lower limbs and improve sleep.
Soaking the feet in warm water before bed will increase circulation and relax the body. Another great way to relax is to massage acupuncture points.
Depending on the specific cause of the insomnia, a licensed TCM physician can prescribe a formula that will relieve the symptoms. Often, a combination of acupuncture and herbs are used to treat the root causes of the condition.