Sleeping is a very important pillar of naturopathy. Sleep enhances our memory, focus, immune system and so much beyond. According to Harvard University: “When we miss sleep in order to keep up with our 24/7 world, we pay a price with our ability to learn, our health and safety, and our quality of life”
Over thinking, over worrying, and living with anxieties may prevent us from either falling asleep or getting a good night sleep to feel rested in the morning.
When we have sleeping issues – our nervous system needs some nourishing attention. We have to be mindful that when nervous system compromises, all other systems compromise as well (digestive, immune, hormonal, reproductive…).
There are many ways to calm the nervous system, but I will share here only one:
Using Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) either as a tincture or as tea, is a very effective gentle way to calm the nervous system. I love the tea version as a great ending to a hectic day – sitting and enjoying a hot cup of tea. Yes, sitting is a huge part of enhancing relaxation… and with it’s great taste, even kids enjoy drinking Lemon balm tea.
Lemon balm tea can be made with fresh or dried herb – simply pour boiling water onto the leaves (usually 1 tsp herbs for 1 cup of water, but you can always increase or decrease the amount of this herb).
As a member of the mint family, lemon balm is awesome with relaxing the digestive system as well as the nervous system. It has antispasmodic qualities soothing both systems. In my experience, drinking it before going to sleep will relax you so much that the only thing you will be able to do afterwards is fall into your bed. I would not recommend serving it to your guests… I did it once, and had my guest falling asleep for 20 minutes on my couch..
The nice thing about lemon balm (and herbs in general) is that it is not causing you to be tired, but it shows you how tired you are, and actually forces you to take an action about it. Trusting that taking breaks from our life missions will actually help us complete these tasks much faster and more efficiently.
Combining this tea with an application of a castor oil pack, when going to sleep, will bring the nervous system to a very deep state of relaxation, which will allow the whole body to recover through the night.
***There is no way I will miss an opportunity to bring up castor oil – The most amazing natural remedy ever!! I have been using it for the past 7 years profoundly, and all my sessions include a castor oil application, of course… Cannot emphasize enough how wonderful these packs are!! email me if you need instructions.***
It may take your nervous system few days to adjust and trust your nourishing efforts, and therefore, you may want to set a routine of daily drinking the tea and applying the castor pack for at least a week or two. Watch for minor changes. Don’t look for the extreme. Look for these little, subtle shifts, that may actually save your life in the long run. For example, watch your reactions to the events around you . watch your mood. watch your thoughts before you go to sleep. Has anything change? are you less reactive? are you happier? are you feeling lighter? are you more focused in your actions? are you thinking more clearly? Small steps, but what a difference they make!
Beyond relaxation, lemon balm has also antiviral qualities, and it is amazing with cold sores. Lemon balm can both lessen the severity and speed the healing of an acute attack and, when taken regularly, can prevent future outbreaks (from Rosalee de la Foret’s Website). I love to use it in my lip balm, as a preventive and as a lip healer.
As a mint, it would be also great for fevers and coughs as well.
Lemon balm is such a marvelous plant. It is regarded as a safe herb for kids and adults. There are some warning about its use with those who have hypothyroid issues, so, if you do have hypothyroid worries, you may want to consult your physician. Also, if you are taking any medication, you may want to consult your physician for any interactions as well.
With its great tasting, even if you have no issues with your sleep, you may still wish to try a lemon balm tea.
Rosmary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health
Body into Balance by Maria Noel Groves