The race to the end of the year is officially on. That also means that many of us are burning out and need as much rest as we can get to function optimally. It’s a known fact that we must take care of ourselves before we can take care of others successfully. Sleep is the number one gift you can give yourself. No series binge-watching or going out with friends and family beats the benefits of sleep. We learn more about plants to aid sleep.
Around 30 per cent of adults have reported that they sleep less than seven hours a day – which is the bare minimum for our health and wellness. Working adults need up to nine hours of sleep a day. Between 10 and 30 per cent of adults suffer from insomnia.
Sandy Roberts, from the Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre, shares her expertise on how to incorporate plants into your sleeping routine. Specific plants in your sleep routine (and even used as décor in your bedroom) can be very beneficial and aid your quality of sleep for the better.
What are your favourite sleep time plants and herbs?
Apart from Bergamot, Elderflower, melissa, rose and Chamomile, my favourite sleep plants above all are Rose-scented Geranium and the Margaret Roberts lavender. This is because both are easy to grow, and easily accessible to all South Africans. It is perfect for use in teas, food, and cosmetics. Versatile, delicious, and unforgettable!
How do they assist with good sleeping patterns?
The Rose-scented Geranium creates a chemical reaction in your brain to soothe anxiety and promote relaxation. It is also an anti-inflammatory that aids in pain relief which is often an underlying sleep depriver. Lavender assists in the production of melatonin and has anxiolytic properties – calming the brain and then the body. It acts as a natural relaxant, sedative, and pain reliever, which brings about sleep in a calming, gentle way. This is a perfect way to gently ease stress and improve moods. It is also used to calm babies who can’t settle or sleep.
How can we utilise or grow them?
Both the Rose-scented Geranium and the Margaret Roberts Lavender are easy to grow in pots or the garden needing full sunlight and a 3 times weekly watering. Both can be used as a cut flower in beautiful full flower arrangements to air and add fragrance to any room or used dried in an old-fashioned potpourri as an antibacterial room freshener. One never knows if these new fragrant oil room fresheners are pure essential oils. Rather go natural and make your own at home cost-effectively. I love to cook with them in tea biscuits, scones, and cakes and specially to make a soothing tea by adding 4 sprigs of lavender to 1 cup of boiling water, add a little honey to taste and a slice of lemon. Allow to cool for a minute and sip quietly. You will need 2 large leaves of scented Geranium to make a cup of Geranium tea. Fill up the cup with boiling water and add honey to taste with a slice of lemon. If you wish, you can occasionally add a little chamomile.
Any holistic advice for people struggling with sleep?
Leave out caffeine and sugar from your diet as well as carbs and dairy at night. Change your meal structure to a light meal in the evening and the main meal at lunch if you can. I would definitely up my Biochemic tissue salt intake with numbers 2,3,4,6,8,9,10,11 an hour before going to bed with a cup of scented Geranium (and Chamomile) tea and a lavender sleep neck pillow. I make beautiful lavender neck pillows for exactly this purpose! If you form a habit of going to bed at a certain time with no electronic devices or television on but a good book you will find yourself feeling better.
Discover the Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre for yourself. Open Days to the public are only on Wednesdays and the first Saturday of every month. Contact Sandy Roberts here.
Read the story of an orchid saved by a cup of tea here.
Start planting your own herbs today! Browse our garden suppliers right here.
Find more Garden and Plants (watookal) articles right here.
I grew up making hot and iced herbal teas from our herb gardens. Both Margaret (Roberts) and I have loved herbal teas so much that we have written 60 tea recipes to revitalise and restore the body and mind. Herbs have the remarkable ability to give effective, quick relief to common ailments. Organically grown from your own garden, it will be the best medicine you could ever take and invest in.
With the change of seasonal temperatures and the many emotional feelings of helplessness, stress, worry and fear during the pandemic, we need to reassess how to build our body’s immunity for both our physical and emotional strength.
Basic Tea Recipe
A few simple herbs made into an infusion, sweetened with either honey or fresh Stevia, served with a slice of lemon will give you comfort daily. The basic tea recipe is always 1/4 of a cup of fresh herbs to 1 cup of boiling water. Adapt the quantities when using dried herbs to 1 dessert spoon of dried herbs per cup of boiling water. Allow the tea to stand for a few minutes to draw the delicious flavours out before sipping it slowly.
It’s a good idea to pick and dry the herbs you would need in winter ahead of time and if desired, a little organic rooibos tea can be added for depth of flavour.
A few herbs to blend (using no more than three types of herbs at a time in an infusion) for the immune system and flu as a natural antibiotic are:
Margaret Roberts Ginger Rosemary and Ginger Root.
Tight Chest Easer
These amazing herbs will help ease tight chests and bronchitis:
Maiden Leaf Fern
Energise and Rejuvenate
Herbs for building positivity and to beat anxiety, depression and sleeplessness are:
Margaret Roberts Lavender
Old fashioned Jasmine
Saint John’s wort
Scented Rose Geranium
Herbs that work wonders for ailments like gout, arthritis and any general inflammation are:
Margaret Roberts High Hopes Basil
Use these medicinal herbs as a natural antiseptic in your home:
Margaret Roberts Lavender
Margaret Roberts High Hopes Basil
Even though you may not have all these herbs in your garden, try to use any combination (usually of no more than three) to give you the benefits. Take care and don’t have more than three cups of medicinal herb tea a day – for no more than 10 days at a time.
Always consult your doctor when starting home remedies and make 100% sure you are using the correct plants for your ailments.
HOMEMAKERS SAYS: Get your hands on the book A to Z of Ailments and Properties. You can send Sandy Roberts a direct message on 071 161 6441 for a signed copy for only R200 (excluding courier costs).
Visit the Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre online.
Mamela sengoloa sena ka Sotho mona (Listen to this article in Sotho here)