Old Fashioned Remedies: The Cure for Insomnia

 

Do you suffer from insomnia? Numbers estimate that 60 million Americans are affected by insomnia every year.

There are a number of treatments for insomnia. One of the most natural involves soothing herbs. Chamomile is especially famous for its sleep-inducing properties.

In 1911, the cures for insomnia ranged from reasonable to downright ridiculous.

This is an excerpt from the 1911 handbook Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women by Anna M. Galbraith:

Treatment for Insomnia – The mechanical measures for the relief of insomnia have for their purpose the withdrawing of the blood from the brain to the surface of the skin: hot foot-baths, brisk exercise, light massage, and cold rooms. Mental work should be laid aside several hours before retiring; late suppers avoided; coffee, if taken at all, should only be taken for breakfast, and then only one cup. Reading or amusement should be selected that does not excite the nerves.

To woo sleep the woman should put herself in a position of rest, which of itself physiologically induces sleep. Avoid irritations, noises, bad air, cold feet, overloaded bowels, and of which tend to wakefulness to prevent the proper physical rest. Then sleep usually comes of itself.

Some of this advice is sound, but don’t go trusting every word, since modern science has definitely moved forward since then.

Looking for a simple, old-fashioned solution to insomnia? Try drinking tea.

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Chamomile has oft-praised properties for curing lack of sleep. Steep a teaspoon of chamomile in hot water for a few minutes and drink up; you can also buy tea bags of chamomile at your local grocery store.

Another old-fashioned cure for sleep troubles is ginger tea. Ginger has soothing properties and is especially good for unsettled stomachs. It draws the blood from the head and toward the stomach.

Drink either of these and you should sleep like a baby. Of course, if your insomnia is especially bad, you should see a doctor, but for a night of restlessness, these should do the trick.

 

Old Fashioned Remedies: Do-It-Yourself Lavender Oil

Is there any herb more well-loved than lavender? Its healing and calming properties make lavender the perfect herb to keep in your cupboard.

For thousands of years, people have used lavender for its relaxing properties. Smelling lavender has a calming effect on the brain, and rubbing lavender oil on wrists and temples carries that calming scent with you for high-stress situations. It’s also said that smelling lavender lowers blood pressure.

A man named René-Maurice Gattefossé discovered further healing properties of lavender when he was the victim of an explosion at the laboratory in his workplace in the 19th century. He applied lavender oil to his infected wounds – and they were completely cured.

Other benefits of lavender include:

1. Insomnia. Smooth lavender oil on your pillow and inhale to help you fall asleep.
2. Bug bites. Put lavender oil on bug bites to reduce swelling and stop itching.
3. Cuts. Put lavender oil on a wound to stop bleeding and kill bacteria.
4. Dry skin. Rub lavender oil on dry skin to relieve it – the same also goes for chapped lips.

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Lavender also adds great flavor to baked goods!

Lavender oil is not hard to find at your own local health store, but making your own oil at home ensures oil with quality ingredients.

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Lavender Oil Recipe

If you’re in the right climate, look for fresh lavender bushes in your area (be sure to ask first before picking if the bush doesn’t belong to you!). Pick your own fresh lavender flowers.

Ingredients

  • large glass canning jar
  • a mild base oil, enough to fill the container ½ inch from the top over the plants (see here for a list of carrier oils)
  • a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
  • a dark glass bottle with a stopper
  1. Put your fresh lavender in your jar and fill with the base oil. Secure the lid and put the jar in a warm place, shaking occasionally. The lavender and oil will infuse together. Let sit overnight.
  2. Strain the oil through your strainer or cheesecloth to get rid of the plants. Add more lavender to the jar and repeat step one 2-3 more times until you’ve reached the desired infusion of lavender.
  3. Store the oil in a dark glass bottle in a cool dark place. Mark the bottle with the date and store the oil for up to a year.

There you have it: your very own homemade lavender oil like they would’ve made in the olden days. It’s a useful thing to have around; you never know when lavender oil will come in handy.

See here for a fascinating history of lavender!

What’s your favorite property of lavender? Let us know in the comments!