Alternative Treatment and Herbs for Insomnia

Introduction to Insomnia

Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder and in this condition, Individuals find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or to do both.

The condition of insomnia according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is defined as a disorder in which people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. People suffering from insomnia do not feel refreshed and energized when they wake up. Types of Insomnia

Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder and in this condition, Individuals find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or to do both.

Insomnia is categorized into the following two types


Primary Insomnia

It is a type of insomnia where sleep problems aren’t linked to any other health condition and it basically just due to Sleep issues. 

Secondary Insomnia

It is a type of insomnia where people have problems sleeping due to any underlying health conditions like asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, indigestion, heartburn and substance abuse.

Causes of Insomnia

Most of the time insomnia is a symptom of an underlying medical or psychological condition. It may be caused by stress or lifestyle changes. Most of the patients with Insomnia have no definitive cause.;

Some Causes Which Attribute to The Condition of Insomnia are

  1. Substance abuse such as smoking, alcohol, caffeine and other recreational drugs.
  2. Disturbed circadian rhythms, for example, shift work, change in work schedule
  3. Uncomfortable and uneasy sleeping environment
  4. Underlying Psychiatric and neurological conditions like depression, manic depressive disorder, restless leg syndrome, and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).
  5. Biological factors such as growing age.
  6. Sleep apnea.
  7. Chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heartburn, prostate problems, menopause, diabetes mellitus, arthritis and hyperthyroidism.
  8. Use of certain medicines such as decongestants, bronchodilators, beta-blockers.
  9. Stress and tension related to life events for example job loss, the death of a loved one or any traumatic event.

Symptoms of Insomnia

  • Sleepiness during the day due to lack of proper night sleep.
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Problems with concentration 
  • Problems with memory
  • Waking too early in the morning
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Mood changes 

Ayurvedic Apect of Insomnia

In Ayurveda, it is categorized under the disease called Anidra or Nidranasha . It comes under the category of diseases under Vataja Nanatmaja vyadhi meaning this condition arises out of vitiation and imbalance of Vatha dosha. The imbalanced Vata dosha creates the Rukshata in the body and causes vitiation and depletion of Kapha dosha furthering the onset of disturbed sleep and associated complaints like irritability, fatigue and disturbed digestive habits.

8 Effective Herbs to Counter the Condition of Insomnia

Ayurveda has got many herbs which help relieve the condition of insomnia and other associated conditions with it. There are many herbs which are beneficial in the management and treatment of vataja nanatmaja vyadhi and one among them is Anidra or Nidranasha.

1. BRAHMI ;(Bacopa monnieri)

It is a herb which comes under Medhyavarga group and acts highly beneficial in the management and treatment of many psychiatric and neurological conditions. Brahmi is a Sanskrit word which means the essence of consciousness and the potential that emerges from sattva and consciousness. This herb enhances the Sattva guna and has got excellent mind-enhancing properties attributed to it and thus supporting the nervous system as a whole.

It helps in balancing all the three vital energies of the body namely Vatha, Pitta and Kapha. It aids in rejuvenation of the mind, enhances memory, intellect and improves the level of concentration, it helps to balance the emotional state and night-time sleep. Along with the same, it helps to support healthy blood cells and promotes the health of skin and hair.

2. ASHWAGANDHA(Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha is a highly revered and respected herb in Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. It is a Sanskrit word that means ‘smell of a horse’ and the reason behind naming them is that the roots of Ashwagandha emit the smell of horse and it is said in the books that consuming Ashwagandha in any form improves vitality, energy levels and strength. Ashwagandha is in use since time immemorial as a part of Ayurvedic treatment for many health conditions.

It acts as Rasayana and helps to boost the vitality and longevity of a person. It is highly beneficial in the management and treatment of many neurological health conditions. It assists to improve memory, cognisance, mental functions and intelligence. It protects the brain tissues from degeneration and dementia. Ashwagandha in any form is used as a general health tonic, energy booster, and debility after disease. It helps to manage psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress, sleeping disorders, mental agitation and irritability. It works very well upon the immune system.

3. GOTUKOLA (Centella asiatica)

Gotu Kola, known by the name Mandukaparni in Ayurveda. It is an intellect promoting herb and respected for its nootropic and neuroprotective properties and due to this, it is commonly used for enhancing memory and other cognitive functions. It is highly used in the treatment of many psychiatric and neurological diseases. It is very beneficial in conditions such as mental fatigue, memory loss, reduced concentration and low retention power and many disease conditions such as Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, and Convulsions along with many behavioural disorders and epilepsy. It improves blood circulation and helps in venous insufficiency.;

4. SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)

Shankhpushpi is a prominent herb used in the ayurvedic treatment of neurological disorders and psychosomatic conditions. In Sanskrit, the word Shankha means conch and Pushpa means flower, and this herb is studded with white coloured flowers and that's the reason it is called so. It is one of the wonderful brain tonics and the Prabhava of this herb is on the intellect, and it brings about clarity of the thought process. It acts as a natural antioxidant and works as a psycho-stimulant and tranquillizer.

It improves the learning abilities of an individual and it is a Medhya Rasayana too. This herb is used to improve the quality of sleep as it induces a feeling of calm and peace, promotes a healthy state of mind. It brings about a significant reduction in anxiety levels and mental fatigue. The herb is also used as one of the most important ingredients in the treatment and many conditions such as hypertension, hypotension, anxiety neurosis, stress etc. Shankhpushpi has an excellent positive effect on overall health and promotes psychosomatic health.

5. SARPAGANDHA (Rauvolfia serpentine)

This plant Sarpagandha is now considered as an endangered species in India. The herb is known to relieve mental tensions and stress detoxifies the body and purifies the manas. By virtue of its properties, it helps in balancing Vata and Kapha doshas. The root of Sarpagandha is used in medicines. Sarpagandha is Tikta, Ruksha and Ushna in potency. The part used as medicine is the root of the plant.

This herb is known to calm the central nervous system and reduces anxiety, irritability, and it is known to induce sleep. It is used in the treatment and management of schizophrenia, epilepsy, psychosis, insomnia and other mental health issues, It is widely used in the Ayurvedic Management of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension).

It is endowed with excellent anti-toxic properties and is therapeutically used as an antihypertensive, sedative, anxiolytic, antipsychotic and hypnotic. It is an excellent herb for the management of psychotic conditions.

6. VACHA (Acorus calamus)

Vacha is a highly celebrated potent Ayurvedic nootropic herb. Its rhizome is used as medicine for improving mental abilities such as memory, cognition, intelligence and voice. Vacha works on Vata and Kapha dosha, its Prabhava is a nootropic. It is very helpful in the Treatment of Memory Loss, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, depression, pain due to neurological origin and many other psychosomatic conditions. In addition to its benefits for neurological health, It has got a wide range of benefits and acts as a potent antispasmodic, carminative and digestive. It has a positive stimulant action on the mind and nervous system and increases attention span and concentration.

7. HARIDRA(Curcuma longa)

Haridra is a very famous and important ayurvedic herb which has myriad benefits in conserving health. Its rhizome is used in the ayurvedic treatment and it has anti-inflammatory properties and acts upon internal inflammation. It helps in many diseases caused due to allergy-related to respiration and also protective against skin allergies. It works as a natural detoxifier and purifies the blood. It is neuroprotective too and shows its efficacy in the treatment and management of Alzheimer's disease, Depression, Epilepsy, and many other neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. It is therapeutically used antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-cancerous, hepatoprotective and many other conditions related to somatic health and psychological health.

8. JYOTISHMATI(Celastrus paniculatus)

Celastrus paniculatus called Jyotishmati in Sanskrit helps in improving concentration, alertness, memory and other cognitive functions of the body. It is widely used in the management and treatment of many neurological health conditions as it has neuroprotective effects, which is attributed to its Rasayana karma, benefits by reducing the oxidative damage of the neurons. 

It has an anti-stress and calming effect, which helps in the Management of Insomnia and it induces a sound and quality sleep. It is also beneficial in neurological diseases and pain disorders. It is used in the therapies related to memory loss, Cognitive Problems, insomnia, and concentration issues. It is also used in the Management of Rheumatic Arthritis and Gouty Arthritis.


Insomnia is a medical condition where a person is deprived of sleep and experiences many difficulties in daily activities and leading a disturbed life created by it. To overcome the problem with the help of natural and herbal methods, the above-mentioned herbs are amazingly beneficial without any side effects.


DR. Vikram Chauhan, MD - AYURVEDA is an expert Ayurvedic practitioner based in Chandigarh, India and doing his practice in Mohali, India. He is spreading the knowledge of Ayurveda Ancient healing treatment, not only in India but also abroad. He is the CEO and Founder of Planet Ayurveda Products, Pla
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