THE MINT FAM­ILY

Herbs & Superfoods - - Herbs For Sleep & Stress -

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.

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