Written by Eduardo Velasco Valido AP, LAc, EAMP
Edited by Meg Frodel AP, LAc, HHC
If you're looking for natural herbs for sleeping, a natural way to treat insomnia and anxiety, Chinese herbs may be your solution! Chinese herbs have been used for centuries to treat all sorts of health conditions and are becoming increasingly popular in the Western world.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine has long been studied to solve many medical problems. For example, Chinese medicine has long been used in Asian countries to solve fevers, treat Insomnia and anxiety disorders, and treat depression, psychiatric disorders, and mental disorders. However, it's getting the attention of western medicine experts as a form of alternative medicine.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it hard to stay asleep or fall asleep. As a result, people with Insomnia often feel tired during the day and may have difficulty Concentrating. Insomnia can be long-term (chronic) or short-term (acute).
Many different things can cause Insomnia, including stress, anxiety, medications, and changes in sleep patterns. Insomnia can affect your energy, but it can also affect your mental health and cause mood disorders and quality of life.
Sleep disorders like Insomnia reduce a person's sleep quality of life. We treat Insomnia with lifestyle changes, such as sleeping in a dark room and avoiding caffeine before bed. Chinese herbs can also be a helpful treatment for Insomnia.
There are only two general types of Insomnia, but you might've heard about other variations.
Two Types of Insomnia
Primary Insomnia: means that any health condition or problems don't cause your sleeping problems.
Secondary Insomnia: You have difficulty sleeping because of conditions like asthma, cancer, depression, medications that you take, or using any substances like alcohol.
Other Known Types of Insomnia
Paradoxical Insomnia: you mostly will underestimate the amount of time you're asleep, making you feel like you sleep a lot less than you do when you don't.
Sleep-maintenance Insomnia: You have trouble sleeping through the night or waking up early in the morning
Sleep-onset Insomnia: Generally means you have trouble falling asleep, no matter why.
Mixed Insomnia: People with this condition will have difficulty staying asleep and staying asleep every night.
Insomnia is typically treated with lifestyle changes, such as sleeping in a dark room and avoiding caffeine before bed. Chinese herbs can also be a helpful treatment for Insomnia.
Symptoms of Insomnia
You'll feel fatigued throughout the day, sleepiness, and bad mood swings like being grumpy, and you'll have a difficult time concentrating on whatever you're doing.
Make it a habit to develop good sleeping habits, regardless of what you do daily. Make sure you sleep at the same time every night.
Avoid any stimulants like coffee, alcohol, or smoking nicotine-based products before sleeping. Those will prevent you from falling asleep and getting good sleeping habits.
Be healthy, always exercise to stay in shape; the better your condition is, the better you can develop good sleeping patterns. Most experts will suggest exercising at least 4 hours before you go to bed.
Start a relaxing routine before going to bed. Read a book, take a hot shower, and make your bedroom as comfortable to you as can be.
Insomnia in Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine, we divide Insomnia into three categories; Heart problems, Liver problems, and occasionally Stomach problems.
Insomnia is associated with instability or agitation of the spirit or soul. The mind is not at peace because it lacks the anchor from Yin substance and Blood.
The origin of all Insomnias is emotional turmoil or Heat (a chronic infection) or Yin of Blood deficiencies.
These deficiencies may occur due to overwork and bad food habits for long periods.
To address these problems, we need to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the right formula that addresses the particular needs and characteristics of the patient.
What is Anxiety?
Do you remember that chill up your spine? That giddy feeling that makes you feel like something's wrong makes you worried about something you know or don't know, slowly stressing you out until you burst? That's anxiety.
It's a pattern of feeling fear about something, dreading anything, and uneasy most of the time. Then, finally, you'll burst into cold sweats, making you feel tense and restless, and will make your heart pace so fast you'll imagine it bursting out of your chest.
Being anxious is normal. When you face a difficult task at home, in your classroom, like taking a test, at work when you have to meet with clients, or making life-changing decisions in your personal life or career, it helps you focus more on the task at hand. But for people with anxiety disorders, it's a whole different ball game.
Anxiety Disorders: What are they?
It's divided chiefly into three things. First, Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD makes a person worry about ordinary things that happen in their daily lives. But they worry too much and will feel this for months.
The second one is Panic Disorder. You might know someone that suffers from panic attacks; this is what they're experiencing. These people will experience fear like no other, even if there's nothing to be scared about. This attack can either be short bursts or last for a couple of minutes.
The third is Phobias. Are you scared of spiders? Almost everyone suffers from this type of phobia. Some even have phobias when engaged in a conversation. To each their own, but it's a form of anxiety still.
Anyone can suffer from anxiety, but those who suffer the most are those with harrowing experiences in life, those that left a fear so deep they can't get over it. Of course, health problems can be a factor as well, or if they have a family history of anxiety.
Anxiety in Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, anxiety is the emotion most frequently associated with disorders of the Herat and instability of the soul. The soul is easily agitated by Heat (chronic latent infections) and easily destabilized if Herat Qi, Yin, or Blood are weak, usually due to overwork, party, or bad nutritional habits.
Chinese Herbs and How They Help
If you're looking for a natural way to treat Insomnia and anxiety, Chinese herbs may be the solution. Chinese herbs have been used for centuries to treat all sorts of health conditions and are becoming increasingly popular in the Western world.
Many different Chinese herbs can help with Insomnia and anxiety, but some of the most popular include:
Chinese Hawthorn: Chinese Hawthorn is a natural relaxant that can help to calm the mind and body. This herb has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat all sorts of health conditions, including Insomnia and anxiety.
Chinese Skullcap: Chinese Skullcap is another popular Chinese herb for treating anxiety and Insomnia. This herb is known for its calming effects and can help treat both conditions.
Chinese Oats: Chinese Oats are a soothing herb that can help to reduce anxiety and Insomnia. This herb has a calming effect on the body and can help treat both conditions.
Treatment of Insomnia and anxiety is not limited to commonly prescribed prescription drugs. You can always look into complementary and alternative medicine too.
Acupuncture is another great treatment, in combination with the Chinese herbal formulas is so effective.
There are other traditional Chinese herbal medicine options for you, but make sure you consult with your therapist first or do your research before taking anything else.