By Crisostomo Gervasi, Tui Na and oriental disciplines instructor
There are many natural remedies that can serve as helpful aids against insomnia, putting an end to neverending and restless nights, spent slewing in bed and getting up in the morning more tired than the night before. The first one we wish to present comes from Phytotherapy and can, thanks to the properties of herbs and plants, help reducing the problem; the second one is related to meditation practices.
The relationship between man and plants started many years ago, when man began to feed from herbs and fruits; from them he received relief and improved some recurrent issues. Then the use of herbs to treat symptoms became a healthy habit. Plants contain certain elements in plants, called active principles, and their intake can help rebalance our physical and psychical health. The use of herbs in simple preparations life infusions or decoctions takes advantage of the active principle itself and, by mixing them up, one can produce multiple positive effects. We need to be careful, nevertheless, not to cause damages to the organism: it is recommended to use always mixes prepared by Certified Herbalists. In some cases these natural remedies need to be accompanied by prescription drugs under the physician's control.
Remedies against insomnia. Before going to bed drink an infusion made with Lemon balm or Tilia or lime: brew for 5 minutes in a cup of hot water; strain and sweeten with honey.
Lemon balm (Melissa oficinalis): not to be confused with bee balm, Monarda species, is a perennial herb in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. In England it may be known simply as "balm". It grows to 70–150 cm tall. The leaves have a gentle lemon scent, related to mint. During summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear. These attract bees, hence the genus name Melissa (Greek for 'honey bee'). Its flavor comes from citronellal (24%), geranial (16%), linalyl acetate (12%) and caryophyllene (12%). Lemon balm is also used medicinally as a herbal tea, or in extract form.
It is claimed tohave antibacterial and antiviral properties (it is effective against herpes simplex).
It is also used as an anxiolytic, mild sedative or calming agent. At least one study has found it to be effective at reducing stress, although the study's authors call for further research. Lemon balm extract was identified as a potent inhibitor of GABA transaminase, which explains anxiolytic effects. The major compound responsible for GABA transaminase inhibition activity in lemon balm is rosmarinic acid. (Source: Wikipedia)
TILIA or LIME: Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere, in Asia (where the greatest species diversity is found), Europe and eastern North America; they are not native to western North America. They are generally called lime in Britain and linden or basswood in North America.
Tilia species are large deciduous trees, reaching typically 20 to 40 metres (70 to 100 ft) tall, with oblique-cordate leaves 6 to 20 centimetres (2 to 8 in) across, and are found through the north temperate regions. Most medicinal research has focused on Tilia cordata, although other species are also used medicinally and somewhat interchangeably. The dried flowers are mildly sweet and sticky, and the fruit is somewhat sweet and mucilaginous. Limeflower tea has a pleasing taste, due to the aromatic volatile oil found in the flowers. The flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes.
Active ingredients in the Tilia flowers include flavonoids (which act as antioxidants), volatile oils, and mucilaginous constituents (which soothe and reduce inflammation). The plant also contains tannins that can act as an astringent. Tilia flowers are used medicinally for colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), and as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative.
Meditation (from Latin meditatio – to think, ponder) refersto a family of practices in which the practitioner trains his or her mind or self-induces a mode of consciousness in order to realize some benefit. (Source: Wikipedia)
The regular practice of meditation leads to transform insomnia into a thing of the past. Here are a few tips to begin to exercise in a proper way:
Sit comfortably, without crossing your legs, with a straight back. Gently close your eyes. Place your hands in front of you (the palms of your hands facing you); the fingers of your left hand are resting in your right. Think about pleasant things that happened to you. Place your tongue onto your palate.
Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Follow these rhythms:
- inhale for 5 seconds
- hold your breath for another 5 seconds
- slowly exhale
Repeat this for 5 minutes. The whole cycle can be done 3 times or even more than one time per day. You will build within yourselves an "internal peace", a place where your mind can go to find spiritual freedom and your body will relax.
I wish to share a quote by the spiritual master Mikhaël Aïvanhov:
"You all wish to be in good health, you all wish to live in peace, in love, in happiness. Yet you are not doing much to achieve this: it almost seems like you are actually doing all you can not to reach this goal. How can you think that all those blessings will fall upon your heads like that, just by chance? We need to make efforts; we need to exercise in order to attract them. One of the most effective exercises is the work on the aura. There are different concentration techniques to develop the aura, yet the best one is the practice of virtues. Love vivifies your aura, wisdom makes it shining, strength makes it powerful and a pure life makes it sheer and light. Each virtue will give new quality to your aura. That living, shining, powerful, clear aura of yours will call all the blessings of the sky."