THE MINT FAMILY
Plants in the mint family (Lamiaceae), including lavender, lemon balm, catnip, holy basil, sweet marjoram and skullcap, are well known for their sedative properties. Many are traditionally used to treat nervous complaints, depression and sleep disorders. Three easy herbs to grow in your garden are lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis), catnip ( Nepeta cataria) and holy basil ( Ocimum sanctum).
Lemon balm has a reputation for calming the nerves, lifting the spirits and promoting restful sleep. Use the leaves to make a calming tea. Loosely pack a teapot with fresh leaves, add boiled water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Or use 1 teaspoon of dried lemon balm per cup of boiled water. Add chamomile flowers for a double dose of calming properties.
Catnip might send your moggy into a frenzy, but it’s reputed to have a soporific effect on humans. It acts like a mild sedative, so a cuppa before bedtime may help you get more shut-eye.
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is revered in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s used to lower cortisol levels and regulate blood sugar, both of which can disturb sleep. Use as a calming tea before bedtime.