I’ve been a little wound up lately. Balancing work, writing, friends, wedding planning, travel, holidays and other projects has seemed harder than usual lately, especially because the days just seems so short. In a cruel twist, I’ve been getting a little anxious my lack of time and energy to get everything done, which has made it a little harder for me to get to sleep, leaving me with less energy the next day. Getting enough sleep has luckily never been much of a problem for me (I fall asleep 98% of the time I watch TV/movies or sit down with a book. Sitting up, drinking coffee, it doesn’t matter. If I get into any kind of semi-repose and can zone out a little, I am out for the count), so I wanted to nip this thing in the bud.
I’ve always liked chamomile, but have never found it to be particularly sleep inducing. I did a little research and learned Valerian is an herb that aids sleep, the root of which, according to all-knowing Wikipedia, “is used for insomnia and other disorders as an alternative to benzodiazepine drugs, and as a sedative for nervous tension, hysteria, excitability, stress and intestinal colic or cramps.” Just what I need! We started making tea with Valerian root I bought at our local co-op (and which you can also find online). And it worked! I was asleep ten to fifteen minutes after drinking it and woke up feeling wonderful without any weird groggy or cloudy side effects. The problem is that Valerian has a smell and taste that is somewhat… funky. Kind of like sour licorice. Not super tasty for a cup of tea.
I decided to make a tincture out of the bulk herb since it will be more concentrated and so just a few drops on the tongue, in a cup or tea or in a glass of juice will have the same effect as a whole cup of funky tea. If you need a little help getting sleep, I highly recommend this tincture.
Valerian Sleep Aid Tincture
- 1/4 cup valerian root
- 1/4 cup vodka
- glass jar
- cheesecloth or coffee filter
- amber dropper bottle
Combine valerian and vodka in a glass jar and let sit for two weeks. After two weeks of infusion, strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter, squeezing to expel as much liquid as possible from the root. Funnel into an amber dropper bottle. Take 3-5 drops fifteen minutes before sleep.
Random side note: While I don’t particularly enjoy the smell of valerian, my cats certainly do. Both of them were going wild as I was straining the stuff. Not sure what that’s all about, but check out our cat Duckie loving on my new tincture:
For more recipes like this one, check out the Apothecary page.