I drink lots and lots of tea. I’ve never had any reaction to caffeine, but I still don’t like to drink tea right before I sleep. I do sometimes crave a cup late at night so I drink herbal. I vary between my nightly picks but lately, I’ve been drinking herbal teas that promote sleep.
I don’t like chamomile (which would be the obvious choice) because I think I was given too much being sick as a child, so I have a really bad association. I might be able to manage it if it’s really well hidden with other flavors, but it rarely is and most night time teas taste very chamomile. I searched for a while for a ready made night time tea blend, but everything had chamomile.
I finally gave up and decided to do my own blend. It took a minimal effort to read and learn about what herbs, roots or flowers helped with relaxation or as a sleep aid, and a bit of trial and error with blending. After a few tests, I decided to add some extra ingredients to help improve its flavor, since during my first trials my husband said it tasted like ‘hot dirty water’, yikes! I’m not going to say this is the most flavorful tea, but it’s meant for a purpose. This night time herbal tea has lemony notes and works well unsweetened.
The herbs I considered to use were some popular ones that have some relaxing effect to reduce physical and mental tension. (NOTE: Please ask your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing or taking any medications before trying herbal products. Since many herbs and supplements have the potential to interact with both prescription and over-the-counter medications, always consult your healthcare provider before adding a herbal tea to your nightly routine)
Valerian – Promotes healthy relaxation and sleep (This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration). It is widely used in teas, extracts and as capsules to treat insomnia. Smell and taste can be considered unpleasant to some (but don’t worry, it is well blended with other herbs and you won’t feel its taste!). If you want to use it on its own, it’s recommended to use about 2 gms and steep for 10 minutes in boiled water. Studies have shown that it works more effectively after 2 weeks of consistent use.
Lemon Balm – It is considered a calming herb. Especially when it is combined with other calming herbs like valerian and hops, it helps to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. It has a nice lemony scent. (Check out some other ideas on how to use this herb)
Passionflower – There are many species of passionflower, but certain species like Passiflora incarnata may treat insomnia. Its chemicals have calming and sleep inducing effects. It has citrusy notes and can tone down the bitterness of valerian when combined with it.
Lavender – It has a reputation of being a relaxing herb. It support the nervous system and may help to calm your nerves and relieve anxiety. You can make an infusion from fresh or dried flowers and it also helps with flavoring the tea.
Linden – It is commonly used as a natural sedative to combat anxiety and promote relaxation. You can use the flowes, leaves or bark to make an infusion.
I added Rose Petals and Lemongrass to improve the blend’s flavor and aroma. The result was a pleasant infusion with a slight lemony flavor and scent.
Herbal Tea Recipe
1 part Valerian
2 parts Lemon Balm
1 part Passionflower
1 part Lavender
1 part Linden
1 part Rose Petals
1 part Lemongrass
Combine and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
To brew: use 1 full teaspoon to 1 cup of boiling water and brew for 5-7 minutes.
You can also cold brew and drink it iced before bedtime.
After writing this post I got a night time herbal tea with chamomile and I was able to drink it and even enjoy it! The key ingredients to hide that strong chamomile flavor were: hibiscus and rosehip. So another option for this recipe would be to use the 5 main herbs, add chamomile (1 part), rosehip (1 part) and hibiscus (1/2 part).
Do you drink a night time herbal tea? What’s in it? Let me know in the comments if you have another recipe, or if you tried it and liked it!
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