Site icon Herbs & Herbal Remedies

10 Best Herbs for Sleep: Efficacy & Usage

Img_Best Herbs for Sleep
Recent research by the National Institutes of Health shows that nearly one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep.

This means that millions of people are dealing with the effects of sleep deprivation, which can include irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

So, what can you do to get a better night’s sleep?

While many products on the market claim to help you sleep, not all of them are effective—or even safe.

So, our experts on herbs here at have put together a list of the 10 best herbs for sleep, all of which have been proven to be effective in helping you get a good night’s rest.

First, let’s get a quick takeaway before we look at these herbs in more detail.

  1. Chamomile
  2. Valerian Root
  3. Hops
  4. Lavender
  5. Skullcap
  6. Passionflower
  7. Ashwagandha
  8. Lemon Balm
  9. Magnolia Bark
  10. St. John’s Wort

1. Chamomile

Chamomile is a daisy-like herb that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of

ailments, including insomnia. The

sedative properties of chamomile are

really helpful for the quality of sleep.

Img_Chamomile for Sleep
Chamomile has two varieties: one is German chamomile and the other is Roman chamomile. But German chamomile is good for sleep.

Chamomile tea is a popular way to consume the herb, and it is generally considered safe with few side effects. Apart from that, chamomile can also be consumed in various forms.

Clinical Efficacy of Chamomile for Sleep

A 2011 study found that chamomile tea was effective in reducing Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores—a measure of the severity of insomnia symptoms—in a group of adults with mild-to-moderate insomnia.

Another 2016 study found that chamomile tea ameliorated the quality of sleep in postpartum women.

Chamomile also bears good news for elderly people. Because medical scientists found proof of chamomile to improve the sleep quality of elderly people.

As in 2017, a single-blind study on 60 elderly people for a period of 28 days demonstrated that chamomile extract at a dose of 200 mg twice a day improved the quality of sleep among them significantly and safely.

Likewise, another 2017 study on 77 elderly people ranging for 4 weeks showed that oral supplementation of 400 mg of chamomile extracts twice a day improved sleep quality among them.

Experience of the Chamomile Users

The experience of the people with chamomile tea and supplements is highly satisfactory.

After observing the customer reviews, I found that the users of the tea produced only with the ingredient of chamomile didn’t mention anything about their sleep conditions. Rather they gave positive reviews stating the good scent, quality, and calming effects of the tea.

But the customers who took chamomile tea produced in the combination with other herbs like lavender, lemon balm, and valerian directly mentioned their improvement in sleep quality after taking the same. I found no customers to complain of any side effects of the said tea.

Likewise, chamomile supplement users also reviewed that they experienced better sleep at night.

In this respect, several brands of chamomile in supplement and tea forms are found to be favorite to consumers.

How to Use Chamomile for Sleep

One of the best ways to take chamomile for sleep is by drinking chamomile tea before bed to help you get a restful night’s sleep.

Chamomile is also available in capsule and tincture form.

How to Prepare Chamomile Tea

You can follow your own style of preparing chamomile tea. But you should always prepare chamomile tea in a covered pot to prevent evaporation, as medicinal properties may go away through evaporation (1).

In chamomile tea preparation, you may follow the following method:

Take 2 grams of dried flowers and mix them with 300 ml of hot water. Then steep them for 10 to 15 minutes (2).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Chamomile for Sleep

There is a common practice of taking chamomile as tea 1 to 4 cups daily. But an ideal dose of chamomile tea for sleep is one cup daily half an hour before bedtime as proved by human trials (3).

If you use it in tablet or capsule form, you may take at a dose ranging from 400 mg to 1500 mg of chamomile daily.

In liquid extract and tincture forms, no research is available. In this respect, you have to depend on the doses mentioned on the level of the product.

Chamomile is generally safe at doses equivalent to those found in tea (4).

But in different studies, there is proof of using chamomile extract in the form of tablets or capsules at a dose of 400 mg to 1500mg without any side effects.

Certainly, it is convincing that 400 mg to 1500 mg is the safe dose of chamomile. But it may vary from person to person. So, in using chamomile start from the lowest dose, then increase the dose slowly as per the capacity of your body. But in no way you should exceed the highest dose of 1500mg.

Use of Chamomile in Pregnancy

One of the causes of giving chamomile the highest position in the list of the best herbs for sleep is due to its safety and efficacy during the period of pregnancy.

Though Herbal Safety warns that chamomile may cause uterine contractions, a recent research article of 2020 available in PubMed database shows that chamomile in tea and infusion forms is safe in moderate dosage during pregnancy (5).

However, there is a prohibition to consume a higher amount of chamomile due to the risk of adverse maternal and perinatal effects.

Side Effects

Though uncommon, chamomile has some side effects such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Allergic reactions
  • Vomiting in the case of a higher dose

In the rare case, there is also a record of Anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction) due to the use of chamomile products.

Risk & Interactions

Chamomile may interact with some prescription medicine like cyclosporine (medicine to prevent organ rejection)  and warfarin (blood thinning medication) (6).

2. Valerian Root

Valerian root is one of the top-rated

herbs for sleep. For inducing sleep, it

has no alternative. It is an herb that

has been used to treat insomnia and

anxiety for centuries.

It is thought to work by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.

Clinical Proof of Valerian Root for Sleep

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 128 participants found that valerian root significantly improved sleep quality without morning grogginess or side effects.

A 2020 research journal article after reviewing 60 studies on valerian root reached the conclusion that valerian root is an effective herb as a natural sleep aid (7).

Experience of the Valerian Root Users

Most of the valerian root users on amazon gave positive reviews stating that they got the benefit in the improvement of their sleep quality.

However, valerian in supplement forms is found to work better for sleep.

In the case of the usage of valerian tea, the consumers expressed their satisfaction with the taste and quality of valerian without mentioning its effect on their sleep quality.

But as recognized by the consumers, tea produced in a combination with valerian, passionflower, lemon balm, and peppermint gave the expected result in improving their sleep disorders.

How to Use Valerian Root for Sleep

Valerian root is available in capsules, tablets, teas, and tinctures. It can be taken orally or applied topically in a cream.

How to Prepare Valerian Tea

Take one cup of hot water. Add the dried valerian root to the hot water. Let it stay 10 to 15 minutes and then strain it. Now your valerian tea is ready (8).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Valerian Root for Sleep

Since there is a lack of sufficient research, Mayo Clinic suggests not taking valerian for more than several weeks at a time.

In accordance with different studies safe and therapeutic dosage of valerian root for sleep ranges from 300mg to 600mg in capsule form and 2 to 3 g in the form of dried root (9).

Use of Valerian Root in Pregnancy

It is not possible to say with certainty that valerian root is safe or unsafe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Because enough research is not available as to the risks of valerian root during pregnancy.

For this reason, experts discourage taking valerian during the period of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Side Effects

A lot of studies, though not sufficient, found valerian to be safe as a sleep aid for the short term (10).

A 2020 review study after reviewing 60 research articles on valerian root found no severe adverse effect of valerian root among the subjects between 7 and 80 years of age (11).

But people may experience some side effects of valerian:

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness

Risks and Interactions

Avoid driving after taking valerian because valerian may cause drowsiness. There is a risk of the interaction of chamomile with anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs. Apart from that, it may also interact with drugs having sedative properties (12).

3. Hops

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant, which is used to flavor beer.

But hops can also be used as a sedative herb due to their bitter compounds, which have a calming effect on the nervous system. So, it has usages for the improvement of sleep quality.

Hops have different varieties. But Saaz and Saphir Varieties of hops show more efficacy to promote sleep compared to other varieties of hops (13).

Clinical Efficacy of Hops for Sleep

A study of hops uncovered that it has a positive effect on preserving the circadian activity/rest rhythm.

In clinical studies, it is found that for the improvement of sleep quality single use of hops did not show the expected result.

Rather hops with valerian demonstrated the best result for improving mild insomnia or reducing sleep latency (14, 15).

A comparative study between NSF 3 (a formulation of valerian, passion flower, and hops) and Zolpidem found that NSF 3 could be used as an alternative to Zolpidem for the short term.

Experience of the Hops Users

On marketplaces, most of the hops supplements users reviewed that hops improved their sleep condition.

But the experience of the customers with hops tea is very disappointing. They commented that far from being beneficial, it is so bitter as to be highly inedible.

How to Use Hops for Sleep

Hops are also available in capsules, teas, and tinctures. They can be taken orally or applied topically in a cream or ointment.

How to Prepare Hops Tea

Mix two cups of boiling water with 5-6 cones of hops flower. Let the mixture steep for 5-10 minutes. Then strain them. You may sweeten the tea as per your taste (16).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Hops for Sleep

The safe and therapeutic dosage of hops for sleep is 2 mg in capsule form (17).

As per the recommendation of the German Commission E monograph,

the usual dose for insomnia in the form of tea or a dry extract is 0.5 grams (18, 19).

In the form of tinctures, you can take 1/4–1/2 teaspoon two or three times per day (20).

Use of Hops in Pregnancy

Not enough research is available to confirm whether hops are safe during pregnancy. It is for this reason leading herbal companies, especially Gaia Herbs recommend not consuming hops during pregnancy.

Side Effects

Though very few, hops may have the following side effects (21):

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Hypersensitivity reactions

Risks and Interactions

Hops may interact with CYP2C substrate drugs such as anticoagulant, anticonvulsant, anti-diabetic, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (22).

4. Lavender

Lavender is a plant with a pleasant, fragrant aroma that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation.

The scent of lavender has been shown to slow down the activity of the nervous system, helping to promote sleep.

Along with its relaxing aroma, this popular herb has a wealth of studies performed on its effectiveness and is one of the most used herbal remedies for sleep. 

Clinical Efficacy of Lavender for Sleep

A 2013 study by the University of Maryland Medical Center found that lavender oil may be an effective treatment for insomnia.

A 2015 4-week pilot study on 10 insomnia patients reported that lavender improved the quality of sleep significantly (23, 24).

Another 2015 study on 79 college students reported that lavender improved the quality of sleep.

Moreover, a 2020 review study found that lavender oil improved anxiety-induced sleep disorders.

Experience of the Lavender Users

Amazon customers using lavender oil reviewed that it helped them to fall asleep.

Apart from that, the consumers claimed that the lavender oil gave them dozens of benefits like relaxation, sedation, pain relief, etc. Also at the same time, they also described that the scent of the lavender oil is excellent.

I did not find tea made only with lavender in the market. So, it is not possible to know about its effect on sleep.

However, teas made in a mixture of lavender and chamomile are available in the market. Certainly, consumers of this tea claimed that it gave them a sound sleep.

How to Use Lavender for Sleep

Lavender is available in oil, capsules, teas, and tinctures.

For improving the quality of sleep, lavender is popularly used as an oil. The oil can be taken orally or inhaled. However, the oil can also be applied topically for treating numerous skin diseases.

For a restorative night’s sleep add 3 drops of lavender oil to a tablespoon of apricot oil and add to a deep running bath before bed.

How to Prepare Lavender Tea

Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh lavender buds into 250 ml of boiling water and let them steep for 10 minutes (25).

How to Inhale Lavender Oil

As suggested by the experts, you should inhale the lavender oil for about half an hour in a well-ventilated room (26).

Now the question is- what is the way of inhaling lavender oil?

Yes, you can inhale lavender oil in the following ways (27, 28):

  1. Spray a few drops of lavender oil on a cloth and inhale directly; or
  2. Put a few drops of lavender oil into an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer and then diffuse it into the air in the room; or
  1. Mix 2 to 4 drops of lavender oil into 2 to 3 cups of boiling water. Then inhale the vapors arising out of the oil mixed with boiling water.

Best Lavender Oil for Sleep

There are various brands of lavender oil that show efficacy in improving sleep quality in their proper use. But Silexan lavender oil available in the 80-mg capsule was found to be clinically effective to improve anxiety-related sleep disturbances without causing any adverse effects and drug interaction (29, 30).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Lavender for Sleep

Lavender oil in the form of a capsule at a daily dose of 80 mg or 160 mg is found to be safe, tolerable, and effective for sleep as well as anxiety (31, 32, 33). But some suggest 20mg to 80mg as an effective dose of lavender (34). However, the most popular effective dose is 80mg per day.

For inhalation recommended dose is 2 to 4 drops of lavender oil (35).

The dose of lavender tincture is 20 to 40 drops, three times a day (36).

As a tea, you can take 1 to 3 cups a day using 1 to 2 teaspoons of whole herbs per cup (37).

Use of Lavender in Pregnancy 

University of Maryland Medical Center recommends avoiding using lavender during pregnancy and breastfeeding (38).

Side Effects

Though lavender is safe, when taken orally it may cause the following side effects (39, 40):

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness in the case of excessive consumption
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Increase of appetite or diarrhea

Besides, in the case of inhaling lavender, people may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, chills, and irritation of the lungs and eyes (41).

In using lavender oil take care so that it cannot come into direct contact with your skin. Because concentrated lavender oil causes severe skin irritation.

Risks and Interactions

As per the study of the New England Journal of Medicine, there is a risk of gynecomastia, and breast development in boys in the case of using shampoos, soaps, and lotions that contained lavender and tea oils (42).

The German Commission E Monographs did not report any sort of interactions with lavender (43). But University of Maryland Medical Center apprehends that lavender may interact with sedative medications (44).

5. Skullcap

Skullcap is a member of the mint family that is native to North America. It has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia.

Skullcap is thought to work by increasing levels of GABA in the brain.

Clinical Efficacy of Skullcap for Sleep

One study found that taking skullcap extract can improve sleep quality in people with chronic insomnia.

The University of Westminster in a study found that the American skullcap has anxiolytic and mood-enhancing capacity.

But ScienceDirect after reviewing the literature on skullcap concluded that skullcap is not effective as a sleep aid.

Experience of the Skullcap Users

The consumers using skullcaps in supplement forms expressed their satisfaction stating that they got a good sleep at night.

But the consumers using skullcaps teas said nothing as to their effect on insomnia. Rather they spoke of the quality, and taste of the product.

How to Use Skullcap for Sleep

Some of the most popular ways of taking this herb are by drinking skullcap tea or taking it in supplement form.

Skullcap tastes a little like mint but does have a bitter taste. So many people also add a natural sweetener like honey to taste when taking tea before bed.

How to Prepare Skullcap Tea

Take 1-2 grams of dried skullcap and then mix the same in 150 ml of boiling water. After that let the mixture steep for 5 to 10 minutes and strain (45).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Skullcap for Sleep

Skullcap is generally considered safe when taken in small doses. As per different studies, the following specific doses have been found to be safe and effective.

Whole herb: 1 to 2 grams daily (46).

Supplement: 100-350 mg three times daily (47).

Use of Skullcap in Pregnancy

It should not be taken by people who are pregnant or breastfeeding (48).

Side Effects

Researchers found several instances of liver injury in the case of the usage of skullcaps (49).

Besides, it may cause other side effects such as irregular heartbeat, stomach pain, anxiety, drowsiness, and mental confusion (50, 51).

Risks and Interactions

Skullcap may interact with sedative medications moderately by way of causing breathing problems and too much sleepiness (52).

6. Passionflower

Passionflower is a climbing vine that is native to the southeastern United States.

Its leaves and flowers have been used for centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety and insomnia.

Clinical Efficacy of Passionflower for Sleep

According to recent research, passionflower is effective in treating mild-to-moderate anxiety. It can also help improve sleep quality in people with insomnia.

A 2011 study demonstrated that passion flowers in the form of tea provided improvement in sleep for a short period of time.

Experience of the Passion Flower Users

The passionflower supplement users gave positive reviews as to its efficacy in the improvement of their sleep quality.

Likewise, passion flower teas produced in combination with other ingredients also gave the expected results in solving the sleep problems of the consumers.

How to Use Passion Flower for Sleep

To use passionflower for sleep can be consumed in tea form or taken in supplement form.

For a restful night’s sleep, try sipping a cup of passionflower tea just before you go to bed.

How to Prepare Passion Flower Tea

Mix 2 grams of dried passion flower in a cup of boiling water and steep for 10 to 15 minutes and then strain the mixture (53).

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Passion Flower for Sleep

Tea: Research shows that one single cup of passion flower tea is enough to improve your sleep (54).

Supplement: As per Nootropics Expert, the dose of passion flower extract for sleep is 200 to 400mg before bed.  In a study, NIH found 800mg of passion flower extract to be safe. NIH further provided that the flower extract in an excessive amount of 3.5 grams may be unsafe.

Use of Passion Flower in Pregnancy

The National Institute of Health (USA) forbids to use passion flowers because they may cause uterine contraction (55). With regard to its use during breastfeeding, the statement of NIH is that there is little knowledge as to the safety of using passion flowers while breastfeeding (56). 

Actually, in this respect, no research is available as to the impact of passion flowers on pregnant and breastfeeding women.

But 5 individual cases as to the effect of passion flowers on pregnant women have been recorded (57, 58). In these cases, any sort of birth defects or abnormalities as to growth was not found. Rather there was neonatal death in one pregnancy and premature rupture of membranes in two pregnancies. Also at the same time, two infants were found with meconium aspiration syndrome and one with persistent pulmonary hypertension.

Side Effects

Passionflower is generally considered safe when taken in small doses.

However, it may cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion (59, 60). Apart from that, in some cases, it may also cause cardiac dysrhythmia, headache, allergic reactions, and asthma (61). Moreover, an overdose may cause depression, nausea, and vomiting (62).

Risks and Interactions

There is no specific data on the interaction of passion flowers with other medications.

As a general rule since herbal products may interact with anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, and anesthesia drugs. Certainly, in absence of specific information with regard to the interaction of passion flowers, it is commonly said that passion flowers may interact with the above-mentioned medications.

So, if you want to undergo anesthesia and surgery, stop using passion flowers two weeks before surgery.

Although before surgery there is a suggestion of avoiding passion flowers, surprisingly there is proof of the successful using passion flowers for reducing anxiety before surgery (63).

7. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine. It is classified as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body cope with stress. Consequently, it is helpful for improving sleep quality.

Clinical Efficacy of Ashwagandha for Sleep

Many studies have found that ashwagandha may also help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also help improve sleep quality in people with insomnia.

An animal study shows that ashwagandha root or leaf powder has the capacity to improve the quality of sleep. Specially ashwagandha leaves contain TEF, a sleep-inducing small molecule.

Experience of Ashwagandha Users

It is convincing from the reviews of ashwagandha supplements that the consumers got the expected result to get rid of anxiety and sleep problems. In this respect, the ashwagandha of Gaia brands seems to be the favorite brand to the consumers.

With regard to the ashwagandha tea the consumers reviewed that Tipson ashwagandha blueberry gave them relaxing, and calming effects.

How to Use Ashwagandha for Sleep

Most people take it in powder form or a capsule which can fit with your nighttime routine to promote a restful night’s sleep. It can also be taken as a tea.

How to Prepare Ashwagandha Tea

You can prepare tea in the following methods (64):

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of ashwagandha powder to 250 ml of boiling water. Let the powder steep for 10-15 minutes. Then strain the powder, if you think it necessary.
  2. Take a few pieces of Ashwagandha root and put the same in 250 ml of boiling water. Then steep them for 15 to 20 minutes. After steeping, strain the water.

Ashwagandha Sleep Tonic

For improving sleep quality, you can drink the following sleep tonic made with ashwagandha (65):

Add 1 teaspoon of ashwagandha powder to one cup of cow milk and then add honey as per your taste. Now your sleep tonic is ready to drink.

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Ashwagandha for Sleep

Except in the extracted form of ashwagandha, there is no specific dosage recommendation for sleep.

Supplement: 500 to 600mg per day for 6 to 12 weeks (66)

For whole herbs and tea, the typical dosages are (67):

  • Whole herbs: 5-6 grams daily
  • Tea: 3 to 4 cups daily

Use of Ashwagandha in Pregnancy

As per a leading health website, ashwagandha is likely unsafe during pregnancy. There is a record that ashwagandha has the possibility to cause miscarriages. 

Side Effects

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe when taken in small doses. However, a higher dose of ashwagandha can cause side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting (68).

Risks and Interactions

Ashwagandha may interact with sedative medications, thyroid hormones, antidiabetic drugs, and antihypertensive drugs.

8. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb that is part of the mint family. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety, insomnia, and indigestion.

Clinical Efficacy of Lemon Balm for Sleep

Recent studies on lemon balm have uncovered that it may indeed be effective in treating insomnia and anxiety.

One study by the University of Maryland showed that lemon balm was able to significantly improve sleep quality in a group of test subjects.

Lemon balm is thought to work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.

This is important because GABA helps to regulate nerve cells and has a calming effect on the nervous system.

Experience of the Lemon Balm Users

The consumers using lemon balm supplements expressed their utmost satisfaction that the said supplements really worked to give them a good night’s sleep.

Also at the same time, the consumers of lemon balm tea reviewed that the gave them relaxation and calmness.

In my research, I did not find anyone to complain of any adverse effects of lemon balm, both in supplements and teas.

How to Use Lemon Balm for Sleep

You can find lemon balm supplements in most health food stores. It can also be taken as tea and tinctures.

Lemon Balm tea Recipe for Sleep

To make a lemon balm tea, steep 1 teaspoon (2 grams) of dried lemon balm leaves in 1 cup (237 ml) of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Lemon Balm for Sleep

Supplement: For both sleep and anxiety one effective dose of lemon balm pill is 300mg twice daily for 2 weeks (69). As a supplement cyracos lemon balm showed clinical efficacy to relieve anxiety and improve sleep quality.

Tea: As to the efficacy and dosage of lemon balm tea no research is available. As a tea for overall health benefits, you can take 4 cups of lemon balm tea daily. But Sleep Foundation suggests taking one cup of lemon balm tea before bedtime for quality sleep (70).

Tincture: In the form of tincture, you can take up to 60 drops daily (71).

Use of Lemon Balm in Pregnancy

America Pregnancy Association identified lemon balm as likely safe to use during pregnancy in the form of tea. So, if you want to use lemon balm tea while pregnant, you should use it with due care and caution with a limited dose under the supervision of your physician.

However, you should keep in mind that though the lemon balm does not contain any toxic constituents, it has not experimented in human pregnancy.

Although there are some opportunities to use lemon balm tea during pregnancy, lemon balm supplements should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Side Effects

Though lemon balm is well tolerated, it may cause some side effects occasionally. Different research reported the following side effects in some rare cases (72):

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Wheezing

Risks and Interaction

Avoid lemon balm while using thyroid hormone. Because it may decrease the effects of thyroid hormone.

9. Magnolia Bark

Magnolia bark is in the 9th position on our list of best herbs for improving sleep conditions.

The bark comes from the magnolia tree and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries.

It’s thought to be beneficial for sleep because it contains a substance called honokiol.

Clinical Efficacy of Magnolia Bark for Sleep

A recent study by researchers looked at the effects of magnolia bark on sleep quality in postmenopausal women.

After eight weeks of treatment, the women who took magnolia bark had significantly improved sleep quality, compared to those in the placebo group.

Another recent study on the palliative effect of magnolia tea on postpartum depression recommended taking magnolia tea as supplementary to improve sleep quality and alleviate the symptoms of depression (73).

Experience of the Magnolia Bark Users

The feelings of the magnolia bark users are mixed. On amazon, ratings of magnolia bark for sleep are satisfactory. Most of the customers reviewed that they experienced good sleep, and relaxation and also got rid of anxiety and depression. But few customers reviewed that they found no benefit from magnolia barks.

Regarding magnolia bark tea, consumer experience is mixed. Some found the tea delicious and helpful for anxiety, and others found it ineffective and tasteless. It has also come to my attention that magnolia bark tea is not so popular on the marketplaces.

How to Use Magnolia Bark for Sleep

Magnolia bark is available in supplements and can also be brewed into tea. But tea has some unpleasant taste due to its preparation from magnolia bark. So, if you do not like the taste, you can take it in the form of a supplement.

How to Prepare Magnolia Bark Tea 

You may prepare magnolia tea in the following way (74):

  1. Rinse the bark with cold water to remove the surface pollutants.
  2. Then soak the rinsed bark for 30 minutes.
  3. After soaking the bark, keep on heating the water with the bark.
  4. When it reaches boiling point, then simmer it covering with a lid at least for 30 minutes.
  5. At last strain the liquid.

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of Magnolia Bark for Sleep

Tea: Research suggests taking one cup of magnolia tea at night to ameliorate sleep quality (75).

Supplements: For different purposes, the recommended dosage of magnolia bark extract is 200mg to 800mg/daily (76). It is pertinent to mention here that the dosage has been determined mainly on the basis of animal study.

One animal study shows that magnolia bark at a dose of 5-15mg/kg decreased sleep latency in mice (77).

For sleep purposes, only one human trial using magnolia bark is available. The human trial was conducted on menopausal women and was found to be effective to improve sleep quality.  But there was no single use of magnolia bark. Rather there was the use of magnolia bark in a combination of magnesium and other ingredients. Magnolia bark extract was 60mg and magnesium was 50mg.

Use of Magnolia Bark in Pregnancy

Avoid using magnolia bark during pregnancy due to the following reasons:

  1. Magnolia bark is not totally toxic-free, though the toxicity is in a very low amount (78).
  2. The safety of magnolia has not been experimented in human pregnancy.

Side Effects

Magnolia bark is generally safe and well tolerated for the short term.

But in very rare cases, people may experience some side effects. As they include (79):

  • Peri labial numbness
  • Heartburn
  • Shaking hands
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Sexual dysfunction

Besides, one animal study recorded an increase in kidney weight and reduction of food consumption in females of a higher dose group and slight fatty degeneration of the liver. So, there is some risk of kidney disease and liver damage.

Risks and Interaction

It may interact with anticoagulant and sedative medications.

Since the magnolia bark is a sedative, so it may cause drowsiness. Hence you should abstain from driving and operating heavy machinery.

Using a higher dose of magnolia may cause excessive sleepiness.

10. St. John’s Wort

St john’s wort is a plant with yellow flowers that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety and depression.

Clinical Efficacy of St John’s Wort for Sleep

Many studies have concluded that St. John’s wort may improve sleep quality in people with mild-to-moderate insomnia

Researchers believe the herb works by increasing levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that plays a role in sleep.

Experience of the St John’s Wort Users

Experiences of the St John’s Wort users are mixed. After reviewing different brands of St. John’s Wort available on Amazon, I found that customer reviews ratings range from 5.4 to 5.7. Most of the customers claimed that St john’s wort improved their anxiety and depression without any sort of side effects.

Apart from this, some customers got some extra benefits such as relief from pain, inflammation

A few customers giving negative reviews complain of some side effects of St john’s wort such as bloating, headache and heart palpitation, etc.

In my search, I have not found anyone to comment directly that St John’s wort improved their quality of sleep. Rather they frequently mentioned the improvement in their anxiety and depression. So, my observation is that St john’s wort may work for anxiety-induced sleep disorders.

How to Use St John’s Wort for Sleep

St John’s wort is available in supplements and teas.

St John’s Wort Tea Recipe for Sleep

Mix one teaspoon of dried St John’s wort with 150 ml of hot water. Then steep the herbs for 10 minutes.

Safe and Therapeutic Dosage of St John’s Wort for Sleep

Actually, no direct research as to the effect of St John’s wort on sleep is not available. Rather anxiety and depression-related researches are available. Researchers while experimenting with the efficacy of St John’s wort on anxiety and depression found that the same has also improved the sleep quality of the subjects.

Since there is a direct association of insomnia with anxiety or depression, here dosages for sleep have been given in accordance with the dosage found in anxiety and depression-related research.

Supplement: 300 to 600 mg three times daily (80)

Tea: One cup per day.

But how many days, is St John’s wort safe?

In this regard, NIH and Mayo Clinic opine that it is safe for up to 12 weeks in proper dosage (81, 82).

Use of St John’s Wort in Pregnancy

Research published on Evidence Based Safety shows that the use of St John’s wort during pregnancy is safe (83).

But Mayo Clinic and European Medicines Agency suggest not using St John’s wort during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to a lack of sufficient studies (84, 85).

Moreover, NIH found in laboratory animal birth defects in the case of St John’s wort during pregnancy. Further, it also observed that breastfeeding children of mothers taking St John’s wort may expose to colic, drowsiness, and fussiness (86).

Side Effects

St John’s wort has various side effects. Even though it is used to treat anxiety and depression, and improve sleep quality, conversely it may in itself be the cause of anxiety and insomnia.

National Institutes of Health from the USA listed the following side effects of St John’s wort:

  • Sunlight sensitivity in the case of higher doses
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (Diarrhea, constipation, stomach discomfort)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual dysfunction

Risks and Interactions

As per NIH Mayo Clinic, St John wort may interact with the following medications:

  • Antidepressants
  • Birth Control Pill
  • Cyclosporine

Some Important Words for Dosage

The doses of commercially produced herbal supplements may not be consistent with the dosage mentioned in this article. Because doses may vary with the variation of the ratio of chemicals used in the process of extraction. In that respect, you should follow the dosage mentioned on the level of the product.

And to end on…

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about the best herbs which can promote a peaceful restful night’s sleep.

If you’re struggling with sleep, start by trying one or two of them. You may find that a combination of different herbs works best for you.

You may find by taking a supplement from one herb and tea with another for example, that you have the most success.

As with anything, working with a doctor or an expert herbalist can be helpful to make sure you are taking what is best for your specific needs.

Often sleep can be improved by making other lifestyle changes too, such as exercising during the day and having a regular sleep schedule.

Creating an environment that promotes relaxation in your bedroom can also be helpful.

Exit mobile version