In this blog, we are going to cover safe and effective Ayurvedic medicines for insomnia and anxiety. First, we will introduce readers to how Ayurvedic medicines work and impact these mental health conditions. Then we will talk in detail about various such medicines.
Best Ayurvedic Medicines for Insomnia & Anxiety
The best Ayurvedic medicines used to treat insomnia and anxiety include:
- Chandanadi Thailam
- Ksheerabala Taila
- Narayan Taila
- Himsagar Taila
Ayurveda for Insomnia & Anxiety
The underlying belief behind Ayurveda is that health and wellness depend on the balance between mind, body, and spirit.
These three components of a being are interconnected with each other and the universe. The universe is represented by the five elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. An imbalance between the mind, body, or spirit and the five elements lead to illness.
The elements are believed to combine with the human body to form doshas or life forces/energies. There are three kinds of doshas, Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. Each one is linked to different bodily functions.
Insomnia and anxiety, like all other ailments, can be recovered from by taking therapeutic measures to restore this balance.
How Ayurveda Improves Nidrabhanga (Insomnia)
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes people unable to fall asleep or stay asleep. The lack of sufficient rest impacts all other areas of life as the individual loses functionality. Common causes of insomnia are related to poor sleeping habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, chronic illness or certain medication.
In Ayurveda, this condition is called nidrabhanga, anidra, and nidranasha. According to Ayurvedic beliefs, insomnia is caused by an imbalance in three doshas: Tarpaka Kapha, Prana Vayu, and Sadhaka Pitta.
Ayurvedic treatments like shirodhara, abhyanga, and padabhyanga involve the massaging of body parts with herbal oils. Other medicines that help with sleep difficulties and anxiety-related problems can be taken orally as well. These treatments impact various chemicals in the body to promote wellness.
Here, we have put together a list of powerful Ayurvedic medicines that you can use for better sleep and mood.
Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha, is a plant native to India and North Africa. The leaves of this plant contain a compound known as triethylene glycol.
A 2017 research investigation established that this compound is responsible for sleep induction. Ashwagandha is also commonly prescribed as a herbal remedy to reduce cortisol levels and lower anxiety.
Our top 3 Ashwagandha Recommendations
Nasya oil is an Ayurvedic treatment for nasal congestion also used for other wellness boosting purposes. One of the benefits of Nasya oil treatment is improved sleep. This oil is generally made of a combination of Ayurvedic herbs.
Daily lubrication of the nasal cavity releases built-up stress and relieves tension. Three to five drops applied or inhaled daily can get rid of your insomnia. The sleep-improving effects of Nasya oil have been confirmed by research.
Our top 3 Nasya Oil Recommendations
Yashtimadhu is a common plant-based remedy in many traditional practices. Better known as licorice root, this medicine is taken orally in powder form or as capsules.
It is highly popular in Ayurvedic tonics and treatments for things like digestive problems, menopausal discomfort, cough, and cold. Patel and Dudhamal (2017) write that yashtimadhu extracts provide symptomatic relief for Parikartika, a condition that causes sleep disturbances.
Our top 3 Yashtimadhu Recommendations
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Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
Brahmi or Bacopa monnieri is a creeping herb with small white flowers. It is adaptive to moist and tropical regions and is often used to decorate aquariums.
The compounds released from this plant on ingestion alter the levels of various neurotransmitters like dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin. These changes are suspected to lead to mood changes. A 2015 publication also notes that Brahmi leaves have a positive impact on sleep.
Our top 3 Brahmi Recommendations
Convolvulus pluricaulis or shankha pushpi is also known as aloe weed in English. The flowers, leaves, stems, and roots of this plant are highly used in ayurvedic treatments.
The nutritional components of this herb are glucose, maltose, rhamnose, sucrose, glacial acetic acid, beta-sitosterol, convoline, kaempferol, and scopoletin. A 2019 review mentions that by improving digestion, shankhapushpi reduces sleep-related problems.
Our top 3 Shankhapushpi Recommendations
Mandookaparni is an Ayurvedic medicine that comes from the plant Centella asiatica. It is an ancient herb and its name is Sanskrit for ‘the leaf resembles the feet of a frog’. It can be consumed orally through powder or capsules.
The oils or extracts can also be applied directly to the skin through a massage. Ayurvedic researches consider this herb a potential cure-all. This pharmacological review found that mandookaparni can improve quality of sleep and lower anxiety.
Our top 3 Mandookaparni Recommendations
Chandanadi Thailam is a special Ayurvedic oil from Southern India. It is a natural coolant and is used to treat inflammation, burning sensations, and dizziness. It can be applied over the head or directly on the affected area of the body.
This oil is said to have many benefits for mental health. Ayurvedic practitioners administer Chandanadi Thailam for headaches, sleep problems, irritated nerves, and other mental issues. A 2016 review reports that this herbal oil can be helpful in treating sleeplessness and nervous tension as well.
Our top 3 Chandanadi Thailam Recommendations
Ksheerabala oil is an Ayurvedic medicine used in different oil massage techniques. It is made in Kerala, a Southern-Indian state famous for effective Ayurvedic practices.
This oil can induce sleep through the positive allosteric modulation of brain chemicals as confirmed by this critical review. It is also helpful for conditions like facial paralysis, sciatica, hemiplegia, paraplegia, poliomyelitis and other neurological disorders.
Our top 3 Ksheerabala Taila Recommendations
Also called “tapaswani”, jatamansi is a popular ayurvedic herb used for its antioxidative properties. It is said to improve memory and cognitive functions as it prevents cell damage.
As an ayurvedic remedy, jatamansi is used in the treatment of epilepsy, hysteria, syncope, convulsions, and mental weakness. A 2021 study of the anxiolytic effects of this herb confirmed that jatamansi is an effective medicine.
Our top 3 Jatamansi Recommendations
Sarpagandhadi is a medicine derived from the plant Rauvolfia serpentina, also called Indian snakeroot. It is considered a safe and effective treatment of hypertension. The benefits of sarpagandhadi include certain mental health issues as well, such as anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, insomnia, and more.
In 2019, the Alternative Medicine & Chiropractic Open Access Journal published a paper highlighting the exceptional medicinal qualities of sarpagandhadi. It can be taken orally through capsules or in liquid form.
Our top 3 Sarpagandhadi Recommendations
In Ayurvedic medicine, massaging the body with Narayan oil has been shown to improve the circadian rhythm. This makes it an effective treatment for insomnia, narcolepsy, and other sleep-related disorders.
Narayan taila is a classic preparation of plant extracts used to relieve pain of neuromuscular and musculoskeletal origin. It can also help release muscular tension, something that is commonly experienced in anxiety disorders.
Our top 3 Narayan Taila Recommendations
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Himsagar oil is a herbal remedy made using sesame oil as a carrier. The ingredients of this cooling oil are gooseberries, Tilataila, milk, sandalwood, cloves, and camphor. It is used for massaging pain and pressure areas or to ease inflammation.
This oil helps in improving conditions that involve imbalance caused by Vata dosha. In 2017, the International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research published that treatments using Himsagar Taila can improve sleep-related conditions like insomnia.
Our top 2 Himsagar Taila Recommendations
Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Penny Pettman did a review of literature on the natural ways to relieve anxiety and stress. One of the methods discussed was the use of holy basil or tulsi to reduce stress hormones. Anxiety is correlated with high production of cortisol and adrenaline.
Therapy for anxiety disorders primarily consists of training the client to learn how to slow down this production. Holy basil products as an adaptogen may be of assistance here.
Our top 3 Tulsi Recommendations
A natural medicine for insomnia can actually be found in the closest farmer’s market through grapes. Known as “draksha” in Ayurvedic books, this glucose-rich fruit is enriched with nutraceutical compounds like melatonin, glutathione, and trehalose, to name a few. Melatonin plays an important role in inducing sleep.
Research shows that grape infusions (fermented grapes plus the skin and seeds of grapes) are full of health-promoting factors. Since grapes are a seasonal fruit and not as accessible as other medicines, you can try grape extract supplements.
Our top 3 Grape Extract Recommendations
The ancient herb vacha is said to stimulate intelligence and expression. In Sanskrit, ‘vacha’ means to speak clearly. This is considered a rejuvenating herb because of its positive impact on the nervous system.
Ayurvedic doctors implement vacha treatment using a brain tonic. It is said to improve digestion and prevent nausea. A 2020 publication discusses the role of vacha in neurological and metabolic disorders. Vacha supplementation can counter many of the immune suppressing effects of anxiety.
Our top 3 Vacha Recommendations
Tagara (Valerian Root)
Recently, investigators examined the effects of Valerian extracts on hospitalised patients with coronary heart disease. The study compared the effects of Valerian oils with those of Oxazepam, an anti-anxiety drug.
Surprisingly, valerian essence was found to be equally effective. If you’re not a fan of pharmacotherapy, valerian essential oil can be a good substitute for Oxazepam.
Our top 3 Valerian Root Recommendations
In this blog, we talked about safe and effective Ayurvedic medicines for insomnia and anxiety. First, we introduced readers to how Ayurvedic medicines work and impact these mental health conditions. Then we discussed in detail about various such medicines.
The Ayurvedic medicines suggested for treating insomnia and anxiety are Ashwagandha, Nasya oil, Yashtimadhu, Brahmi, Shankhapushpi, Mandookaparni, Chandanadi Thailam, Ksheerabala Taila, Jatamansi, Sarpagandhadi, Narayan Taila, Himsagar Taila, Tulsi, Draksha, Vacha, and Tagara.
FAQs (Best Ayurvedic Medicine for Insomnia & Anxiety)
How can I kill anxiety naturally?
There are many natural remedies for anxiety that are organic, safe, non-addictive, and effective. These are in the form of dietary supplements, adaptogens, essential oils, and natural medicines. Common plants used to make these products are ashwagandha, chamomile, lavender, alfalfa, cannabis, milk thistle, Rhodiola rosea, and many more.
What herb treats anxiety and insomnia?
Herbal remedies that improve symptoms of anxiety and insomnia are as follows:
- St. John’s Wort
- Valerian Root
- Passion Flower
- Lemon Balm
- Rhodiola rosea
- Essential Oils
- Bach Flower
- Milk Thistle