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During our travels across the country we’ve collected books that reflect the nature or culture of each region. When we were in New Orleans we picked up two sweet stories about Little Laveau.
A few weeks ago my youngest daughter started having nightmares. One of the random older children running about the campground had told her about Bloody Mary. We’ve been struggling to think of ways to help her ever since.
Today she brought me one of the books from New Orleans. Little Laveau: A Magical Bedtime Story.
“Momma? Can we look at your spell ingredients? I think I know just the this to fix my nightmares. I need an empty jar and some herbs.”
She knows just how to make this kitchen witch’s heart sing. Of course we can look at ingredients!
So we looked pulled down all the jars, checked the recipe in her book, and then talked about different herbs and flowers that we could add to make it uniquely hers.
The spell is a simple tea, mostly chamomile, inspired by the book to help her sleep. The empty jar goes next to her bed.
When you have a bad dream, gather up all those bad thoughts and put them in a jar. Take that jar and sprinkle those dreams right down the drain. They flow through the rivers and out into the sea. The salt water washes them clean and takes out all the scary.–Little Laveau’s Grams
She is so excited, I think it might just work.
Layer the ingredients and mix together thoroughly. Use 1-2 teaspoons of tea mixture per cup of tea. Drink before bedtime.
Serve with lemon balm or lavender infused honey. Plain raw honey would work just as well. Even better, try our Calming Honey Syrup recipe! Keep reading past the recipe to find out why we chose these particular herbs for my daughter and why you might want to include them in your own Dream Tea.
As a relaxant, chamomile depresses the central nervous system, reducing anxiety while not disrupting normal performance or function. This is due to the active principles of chamomile including flavonoids, glycosides, and essential oils.
In a 2011 study published in the journal, “European Neuropsychopharmacology”, showed that the phytochemicals in chamomile have 3 effects on the central nervous system that contribute to the herb’s anxiolytic and sedative properties. It binds to the GABA receptors which in turn reduces the activity of the cells in the sleep centre of the brain.https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/chamomile
If you want to know more, we have an entire post about Chamomile here in our Digging Deeper Into Herbs and Oils section.
Catnip is so safe it is a long standing remedy for irritability and restless sleep in toddlers and babies. The sedative nature of this wonderfully calming herb helps to induce a fitful and restful sleep, making Catnip the go to remedy for insomnia or other sleep related problems. The phytochemical “nepetalactone”, responsible for its effect on cats, also contributes to its sedative effect on humans.https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/catnip
Lemon Balm contains the active compound “rosmarinic acid” – an enzyme which effectively increases GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid) in the brain. GABA is one of the inhibitory neurotransmitters, used by the brain to prevent over-excitement and attain balance. It is responsible for ensuring that we are not overly stressed and plays a role in sleep cycles. Increasing stimulation of GABA receptors will produce a sedative or calming effect and explains why Lemon Balm works well as an anti-anxiety herb.
The difference between Lemon Balm being an effective anti-anxiety herb and a sleep aid is dosage. It combines extremely well with the herb Valerian, with several studies showing that these two herbs combined can induce a deep and restful night’s sleep.https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/lemon-balm
The power of Peppermint as a digestive aid is mainly due to the high menthol content of this herb. When taken orally, as in a tea, menthol helps relieve gastrointestinal problems like indigestion, gas and bloating. Menthol encourages bile to flow into the small intestine, where it promotes digestion by breaking down fats more rapidly. Menthol also has a powerful anti-spasmodic effect, relaxing the muscles of the abdomen and the digestive tract which allows gas to pass through the system much more easily.https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/peppermint
If you want to know more, we have an entire post about peppermint essential oil here in our Digging Deeper Into Herbs and Oils section. Be sure to bookmark that page as I’ll be updating it soon to include not only essential oil information but herbal information as well.
Lavender oil is comprised mainly of linalyl acetate and linalool – phytochemicals that are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream. Research shows that these compounds inhibit several neurotransmitters causing a sedative and anxiolytic effect.
If you suffer from restless nights then Lavender has been proven to increase the time to awaken after first falling asleep. One study showed that Lavender increased the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep in all of the group tested, and all of the individuals reported feeling more refreshed and energetic the next morning.
Lavender has been used for centuries as a remedy for anxiety and depression. It has a complex mix of active components including “terpenes” – small molecules that are absorbed into the bloodstream via the nose or lungs. They are so small that they easily cross the blood/brain barrier and have an impact on neurological processes.
Lavender has been proven as effective at treating anxiety as its pharmaceutical counterparts. In a study published in the journal “Phytomedicine”, it was shown that lavender helps with restless, nervousness, anxiety and insomnia.
Another study by the “International Journal Psychiatry in Clinical Practice found that supplementing with 80mg capsules of Lavender Oil alleviated anxiety, restless sleep and depression without any unpleasant side effects.https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/lavender
If you want to know more, we have an entire post about Lavender here in our Digging Deeper Into Herbs and Oils section.
One of nature’s richest sources of vitamin C, Rosehips have been used for centuries to combat infections such as coughs, colds, flu and respiratory conditions. It is now known that vitamin C is crucial to the overall health of the body in its efforts to fight off infections, both bacterial and viral. White blood cells contain 20 times the amount of vitamin C than other cells and require constant replenishment to keep the immune system working to its optimum capacity.
Rosehips also contain many important antioxidants – plant chemicals that are naturally anti-inflammatory, shield immune cells from environmental damage and encourage the production of white blood cells.https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/rosehip
Plus they add an amazing flavor.
If you’ve never had loose leaf tea, you need to find a steeping vessel. This can be a reusable muslin tea bag or a tea ball. I prefer the balls but somehow they all ended up in storage so we’ve been using the bags. Just remember to empty it and rinse it well before drying and reusing. If you take milk in your tea, hand wash the bag after each use.
So there you have it! Our custom blended Dream Tea. What herbs do you like to include in your evening cup of tea?
I am not a doctor. I can not diagnose or cure any disease. These statements are based off my own personal experience and research. Herbs are more than just spices; they contain medicinal properties. Please do your own research before administering any herbs to yourself or your child. If you are concerned about a particular herb or ailment please discuss it with a personal doctor or herbalist.