We have a favorite Sleepy Tea recipe, it works best on an over-active or worried mind that will not let a tired body rest. Some herbs that claim to promote sleep, Valerian for example, work on the body, and not on the mind. For us, it is usually the mind that will not go to sleep, when we are awake at all hours discussing various social, ecological, economic problems, from the macro to the micro. It is on these nights, especially during the winter when we do not get as much physical exercise to activate the body's natural sleep hormones, that we nightly drink this tea. Within a half-hour it begins to calm the mind, also promoting digestion, allowing the body and mind to rest well.
Here's the ingredients: alfalfa, catnip, hops, mint, red clover, skullcap. Alfalfa is a tonic, and helps us stay healthy through the winter. Catnip is a mild stimulant for some, and a sleep inducer for others, so try a cup of Catnip tea first to see how it interacts with your own body. Hops promotes digestion and sleep. Mint also is a mild stimulant, but in small amounts has a calming effect, and promotes digestion, as well as adding flavor and aroma to the tea. Red clover, like alfalfa is a health tonic, and is a mild sweetener (it will also help clear up hay fever). Skullcap is the main sleep inducing herb in the mix.
This is the ratio that we like, but you can customize it to your own liking. 4 parts Skullcap, 4 parts Alfalfa, 3 parts Hops, 3 parts Red clover, 1 part Mint, 1 part Catnip. Measure it out by spoonful, or use a small scale and measure by weight. 1 part Lemon Balm could be added to the mix. I don't have any dried this winter, but it is a wonderfully calming herb.
We use one teaspoon per cup of not-quite-boiling water, and cover while steeping. (Pouring boiling water over herbs can destroy or evaporate volatile oils, essentially the active ingredients in herbal teas. Likewise, allowing the steam to vent-off uncovered can dissipate the volatile oils.) Drink when warm. REST WELL!
Disclaimer: For those who are familiar with their herbs, the ones listed above are obviously benign, but for those looking for miracles or are unfamiliar with herbal teas... Seek the advice of your own doctor or herbalist before using this tea.