While herbs and spices are mostly used for enhancing the flavor, look, and/or texture of food, these aren’t the only reasons why they’re essential to any household kitchen’s repertoire. Some herbs, spices, and flavor/aroma-enhancing ingredients have actual physiological effects that can help you relax and sleep better, effects that are sometimes comparable to the effects of taking pharmaceutical medication. For instance…
Turmeric is Highly Anti-Inflammatory and Fights Cancer
If you can’t sleep because of painful inflammation from gout or arthritis, you need more turmeric in your diet. Simply consuming turmeric regularly in the form of tea can greatly decrease chronic pain from joint and muscle inflammation. It’s a flavor can also be found in dishes like curry, in which it’s paired with other spices like cumin or cardamom.
While turmeric can offer the same anti-inflammatory effect as drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen, consuming it regularly doesn’t come with any ill effects. The worst it can do is stain your tongue, fingers, or shirt with its yellow-orange hue (so be careful when handling fresh, pure turmeric).
Additionally, another great reason to consume turmeric is the fact that its main active ingredient, curcumin, might be a great natural treatment for cancer. While scientists say that there isn’t enough evidence to say that curcumin cures cancer, early trials have shown that curcumin can kill cancer cells and also prevent them from growing and spreading. It’s even been shown to be more effective at certain types of cancer, namely: bowel, breast, skin, and stomach cancer cells. Decreasing your own personal risk of getting cancer is one way to sleep better.
Lastly, if you can’t sleep because of an upset stomach, turmeric is also a good way to soothe the digestive system.
Chamomile is a Great Natural Sleep Aid
Apparently, there’s a lot of scientific wisdom behind the ancient use of chamomile as a sleep-inducer and mild tranquilizer. Its sedative effects can be attributed to the fact that it contains apigenin, a flavonoid that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the human brain. If that sounds familiar, that’s because those are the same receptors affected by the sleeping pill valium aka diazepam.
You can enjoy the highly calming and sedative effects of chamomile by consuming it like tea. However, its effects are even stronger when taken in the form of vapor via chamomile oil. Either way, chamomile is one of the most naturally sedative flowers that you can take daily without consequence unless of course, you’re allergic.
Inhaling Lavender Oil Can Relax the Mind and Body
Science has long known that lavender oil has tremendously relaxing effects. In a 2012 study published by the US National Library of Medicine, it’s been found that simply inhaling lavender oil can significantly decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature. Researchers also observed that study participants who were made to inhale lavender oil reported feeling ‘fresher’ and more relaxed than study participants who inhaled base oil.
Meanwhile, another study shows that lavender, when taken as a tea, can help new moms cope with depression, fatigue, and even bond better with their infants through its positive effects on mood.
These are just some of the natural sleeping aids that you can try when you find yourself losing the fight against insomnia. Because of the fact that insomnia is a very widespread condition, there’s no shortage of natural cures and treatments that you can try before resorting to sleep-inducing pharmaceuticals. So, before popping any sleeping pills that can have adverse effects on both mind and body, why not try these harmless herbs and spices first? You might just discover a cheap and natural way to fight your own chronic insomnia.
Peter Mutuc is obsessed with natural, non-pharmaceutical solutions to insomnia and awry sleeping patterns, which comes in handy at his job as the web content writer for a small, Aussie startup mattress company called Onebed.