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Herb info 07/2017: California poppy, insomnia.

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Herbcard 07.2017: California poppy / insomnia. Herbcard 07.2017: California poppy / insomnia. The kind of insomnia where you simply don't fall asleep can be due to several things:

• you drink too much coffee too late (or take caffeine in other forms)
• you have various shiny screens in front of your eyes too close to bedtime
• you don't exercise nor do you do other things that'd tire you
• your nerves react to the tiniest bit of light, noise, irritating detail.

Do something about each cause that affects you. If you have a problem with caffein you should stop taking it at noon and, if that's not enough, skip it altogether. If you watch TV, a computer screen, a tablet or smartphone, close those and read a book instead. If your days are gray and boring and you don't move, get some new hobbies, make some new friends, get a life worth living and live it. And if your nerves are way too sensitive, load up on magnesium and the B-vitamins.

A lot of herbs help with insomnia. Take them as evening baths or tinctures to be kept on the bedside table. A tea works but you need to make the tea every evening, which requires a modicum of discipline. Drink a cup an hour before bed and divide another cup into two halves, one you drink half an hour before bed and another at bedtime.

Make a tincture: 100 g (4 oz) dried herb to 500 ml (20 fl.oz) of 50–60 % alcohol. Dose, 10 drops as needed every 10 minutes until you fall asleep. If you can't lay your hand on alcohol that strong, use weaker, but know that your tincture will be weaker as well.

Make a strong herb tea for your bath: two fists of dried herb to 2 liters (2 quarts) of water, boil for 20 minutes, strain and pour into your bath. Then adjust the temperature of the water to suit you.

Make your herbal tea by adding 200 ml (1/2 pint) boiling water to 1–2 tsp dried or 2–4 tsp fresh herb. Infuse for 10 minutes, strain and drink.

Herbs to use are for instance chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, St. John's wort, California poppy, rose petals, skullcap and passion flower. Both valerian and hops are well-known sleep herbs, but valerian doesn't suit hot people and hops isn't for cold folks.

Don't take insomnia herbs long-term. Instead, fix the cause of your insomnia.

Henriette's herb cards: order yours here!