So what do sleep experts recommend? According to two recent studies done in China and England, the solution could be as simple as making a cup of tea. For reasons no one quite understands, the mixture of medicinal grade hop strobile and valerian root in a synergistic ratio acts as a powerful anti-anxiety and sedative that naturally promotes a calming sensation even more effective than the common pharmaceutical sleep aide benzodiazepine and its many derivatives used in both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. And unlike the pharmaceutical drugs that eventually end up in our water supplies and cause numerous side effects over time, long term use of the herbal mixture has numerous complementary health benefits for the stomach, joints and mind. There are no side effects, no addiction and no negative impact on the environment. Unfortunately for the pharmaceutical companies who make billions off sleep aides, there is also no upside for their bottom-line if Americans switch to a natural cure.
But before you run out to your supermarket to buy one of the brand-named herbal teas marketed as a sleep or night time formulation, keep in mind that all things aren't equal. For example, one of the best selling "sleepytime"
So where do you find a real herbal night time tea? We found ours at a little herbal apothecary in Portland, Maine and located online at http://www.homegrownherbandtea.com. Just click Wellness Blends and then scroll down to the "Nightcap." The owner of the shop, Sarah Richards, is a gifted herbalist who specializes in Ayurveda medicine. Not only do her teas use organic, fresh, medicinal grade herbs, but her ratio is synergistically in keeping with clinical studies and includes some other great herbs that are known for their restorative and calming affects. Our staff selected her "Nightcap" as far superior to any blend we have tried for their sedative properties and taste. You can buy the teas in separate sacks or loosely blended.
While you're on the site, you may want to check out other teas. We tried several blends and were not only impressed by their medicinal quality, but equally Richards' ability to blend herbs for flavor. This is less science and more art. It clearly sets her teas apart from anybody else's. Unfortunately, most herbalists don't understand how to blend teas for flavor. One common practice is to mask the bitterness of the medicinal herbs by using flavor extracts or more flavorful herbs like stevia or peppermint. A spoonful of sugar may make the medicine go down, but in the case of herbal teas it acts as a powerful contra-indicator - meaning it more often negates or interferes with the benefits of the medicinal properties of the less flavorful herbs. The other strategy is to simply ignore taste altogether and simply throw in herbs according to some herbalist encyclopedia of what herb does what - so you end up with some flavorless mash of leaves and flowers.
Homegrown Herb and Tea is different. Richards has a talent for blending herbs where flavor plays a central role to the medicinal intent of the tea. This is something that cannot be imitated, which is why we suggest for herbal tea there is only one place to shop: http://www.homegrownherbandtea.com
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Herbal Tea Weekly specializes in Herbal Teas and natural cures. It is located in Coastal New England and published by East End Publications.