We all need sleep, but at what cost?
Pharmaceutical Sleep medications, called sedative hypnotics, come in three forms:
Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), and temazepam (Restoril), affect a chemical in the brain (gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA) that reduces nerve activity and promotes sleep. These can be habit-forming and may cause daytime sleepiness.
Non-benzodiazepines, such as eszopiclone (Lunesta) zaleplon (Sonata), and zolpidem (Ambien), also target GABA, but leave the body faster and have fewer side effects, allowing for regular waking and daytime functioning the next day.
Melatonin-receptor agonists such as ramelteon (Rozerem) also leave the body quickly. They target melatonin receptors in the brain and are not thought to be habit-forming.
Herbal sleep medication
Famous herbalist Culpepper first to describe Valerian’s nervine properties
Culpepper, our most famous herbalist, is perhaps, the first to describe its nervine properties, describing it as “often given with advantage in hysterical cases; and there are instances of it having effected cures in obstinate epileptic cases”.
However, its most prominent use was during both the first and second world wars, where its sedative nervine properties were recognised as second to none. During the First World War it was routinely given for shell shock and during the second it was much in demand for those suffering trauma during the blitz. Because of this wide demand, outstripping the supply of wild plants, it was commercially grown during this 30 plus year span.
Grown widely in Prussia, Saxony and Holland as well as the USA , the best was grown in Derbyshire, England, with this valerian demanding four times the price of the continental product.
The trade was centred on Chesterfield but extended right to the Stockport and Manchester border. Wild valerian was collected from woodland and cultivated in fields where the roots (the part used) spread and provided new shoots over the year.
sourced from health harvard