Master herbalist shares three recipes for improved sleep, as well as advice on how to start on the herbalist path.
The simplest way to begin to blend herbs as medicine is to take your time to get to know each herb’s energy. Every herb should have a reason to be invited into your formulary. Understanding the energy, taste, and effects of the herb will help you determine what quantities to include, if at all. Some herbs are more potent than others and will naturally overpower the other herbs in a formula, and therefore, should be used in a much smaller quantity.
First, begin by knowing why you are creating your formula. Is it for you? Is it for someone in your community or family? Why are you blending the herbs instead of using them as a single herb? What is the energy of the person you are making this medicine for? How old are they? Write it all down. When you have the answers to these questions, write out a recipe for your formula. How many parts of each herb should be used and why? Are you satisfied with how it feels? Have you used your intuition and knowledge of the plants you have selected to work with?
Once you feel good about your formula, begin with a minimal amount of herbs for each formula to avoid waste. Use a teaspoon as your measurement. Blend your mixture. Make a cup of tea and try it out. How does it look? How does it taste? Does any herb overpower the others? Would you want to drink this mixture daily? If you answer “yes,” then make your formula in a larger quantity!
You can always adjust the mix based on your needs. Have confidence and trust yourself. Your mistakes are part of the learning process. Write every aspect of your process down. It’s a great learning tool for an herbalist to review their early formulary. I love to go back and look at my formulary’s early days that held so much simplicity and joy!
Inspired Sleep and Dreams Tea
This tea is used 20 minutes before bedtime to have inspired dreams. You can add honey to sweeten if you like.
1 tablespoon dried lemon balm leaves
1/2 tablespoon dried mugwort leaves
1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers
1 tablespoon dried damiana herb
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
Yield: 4 cups
Mix the herbs together well. Store the blend in a mason jar. Prepare your tea each night before bed using 1 tablespoon of the mixture to 1 cup boiling water. Cover and steep the infusion for 20 minutes. Strain and add honey if you would like. Drink 20 minutes before bed. Enjoy your dreams!
Inspired Sleep Dream Pillow
I forever love using herbs under my pillow and my children’s pillows to help with protection-enhancing dreams and protection from nightmares. Here is a simple blend of herbs that genuinely makes a difference. The rice is optional. Throughout African diasporic cultures, we have used rice as a protectant. Many of our ancestors were rice farmers and have built a strong relationship with rice. I include it here to honor that ancestral relationship and protection.
USE A FEW SPRIGS OR TABLESPOONS OF THE FOLLOWING HERBS
1 part chamomile flowers
1 part mugwort flowers
1 part rosemary leaves
1 part thyme leaves
Yield: 1 dream pillow
Combine the herbs in a muslin bag. Add the rice (if using). Tie the bag closed and place it under your pillow. Alternatively, you can bundle the herbs and hang them near your bed or leave them on your nightstand as you sleep.
Inspired Sleep Dream Bath
An herbal bath releases the day’s tension and prepares the body for rest and to enter the world of dreams. The herbs selected encourage relaxation and ease in falling asleep.
1 handful rosebuds
1 handful lavender flowers
1 handful chamomile flower
Yield: 1 bath
Combine the herbs in a muslin bag and add them to your bathwater. Alternatively, brew the herbs as a tea and add to your bathwater.
Excerpted from The Art & Practice of Spiritual Herbalism by Karen M. Rose, published by Fair Winds Press. Reprinted with permission from The Quarto Group. Learn more at www. quartoknows.com.