Sometimes, after a long bustling day, all I want to do is lie in my favourite recliner chair, sip a cuppa warm soothing tea, and close my eyes to slow jazz music. No phones, no emails, no running back and forth doing errands – just me and my tea to dissipate the knotted tension in my head or body.
I’ve only started incorporating tea into my daily routine about a year ago, usually just before bedtime, or as a replacement for coffee at work, and I wonder why I didn’t discover the magic in tea earlier. There’s just something about its calming fragrance that has a relaxing effect on your body. If you’re in desperate need of a really good sleep, or if you’re just interested to know how to unwind and relax at the end of the day, here are 8 herbs to do the trick (and it doesn’t always have to used in tea!).
Everyone knows lavenders are beautiful, they smell amazing, and they’re great for relaxation for the soul. Insomnia, agitation, restlessness – lavenders are the perfect remedy to them all. This fragrant herb has the ability to slow down your body’s nervous activity (literally forcing you to relax – something we busy city dwellers need in our lives now and then), promoting better quality of sleep and relaxation. It’s commonly found in essential oils and used in massages or baths. However, lavender can definitely be drunk as teas as well. A lovely-smelling floral tea that is organic and herbal before bedtime for a well-rested night – who could ask for more?
Arguably the first tea that comes to mind when you think of relaxation, Chamomile lives up to its reputation as a wonderfully calming herb for both adults and children alike. For the little ones, add a tinge of honey to chamomile tea and tuck them in for a good night’s rest. Like lavenders, chamomile oil can be added to bath water, or used in aromatherapy, as well to soothe those exhausted and overworked nerves of yours. The relaxing effects of chamomile can be attributed to this compound, by the name of apigenin, which binds to the brain’s neurotransmitter to induce relaxation. This sweet and fragrant night time drink is definitely a must-try for everyone, whether you’re struggling with sleep or not.
Nilufer Tea's Lemon & Chamomile tea contains pesticide-free chamomile and lemon pieces that helps you to sleep better and deeper. It will calm your soul and put your mind into a greater state of ease.
When it comes to relaxation herbs, peppermint is pretty much unheard of. In fact, it’s probably better known to stimulate and perk you up, or used in your toothpaste for a refreshing morning wake-me-up when you brush your teeth. While it doesn’t directly induce snoozing, peppermint preps your body up such that it might improve your sleep quality at night. Not only does it open up your airways for better airflow and oxygenation at night in your sleep, this refreshing herb relaxes your intestines and muscles, to minimize overactivity and tension in your body that prevents you from dozing off. If you’re one of those who absolutely loves feeling clean and fresh before bed, peppermint would be your perfect night time drink to help you sleep better.
If you’re the kind of sleeper who has their snooze interrupted every 2 to 3 hours, passionflower is the remedy to your restless nights and sleeping problems. Free from side effects and known for being a great sedative, passionflower is also perfect and safe for children to consume in large doses frequently. One hour before your bedtime, try it with some tea or take 30 to 60 drops of passionflower tincture, and you’re on your way to your most calming and peaceful rest in a long while. This little powerhouse of a herb is also said to quell anxiety and reduce blood pressure. If you’re not much of a risk-taker when it comes to food and remedies, you should consider this safe-to-consume herb to help resolve your sleeping woes.
Disclaimer: If you’re currently taking a Monoamine Oxidase inhibitor or other antidepressants, you’re strongly encouraged not to take this herb.
Generally used as a mood lifter as well as to soothe your nerves, Lemon Balm improves the quality of your sleep by helping to improve your mental health through relaxation. It can be used both in aromatherapy as well as in drinking teas. However, be careful of overdosing – above 1800 mg a dose and it might backfire, increasing your anxiety levels. You should be working towards a mild and calming tea: for every 240ml, add about 8 tablespoons of fresh balm or 2 tablespoons of dried balm. To top it off, add a lil’ bit of honey, steep for 5 minutes, and strain. It’s best taken half an hour before your bedtime!