Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How to Make a Sleepy-Time Tincture

"A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky -
I've thought of all by turns, and still I lie
~William Wordsworth

Oh, the importance of sleep! It gives refreshment to the overtaxed mind and gives rest to the weary body. Yet, as tired as one can be, sometimes sleep is hard to find! Using God's pharmacy, we can seek relief in a few well chosen herbs that can be transformed into a medicinal tincture

To begin, place 1 cup of chamomile flowers inside of a clean, quart sized, glass jar. Chamomile is excellent for relieving nervous stress and helps to aid digestion, both of which will support a beautiful bedtime! 

Next, add 1/3 cup of passionflower. A gentle but effective herb, passionflower is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, stress and depression. It is also useful as a pain reliever for headaches and menstrual pain, making it a very useful addition to a restful sleep blend!

Finally, add 1/3 cup of valerian root. I will not lie. This smells horrendous! However, it is one of the best herbs for those who suffer from stress, nervous systems disorders, restlessness and insomnia. For a stronger tincture, you can even double the amount of valerian. 

Other herbs that you can add into the tincture mix (or to replace with some of the herbs mentioned that you don't have) would include hops, lemon balm, catnip and oatstraw. 

Finally, finish your tincture by filling up the remaining jar space (leaving 1 inch from the top), with either 80-100 proof vodka or apple cider vinegarMake sure the contents are completely covered with the liquid (if using vinegar, you may choose to warm it first for better results).

Note: Though alcohol will make the strongest tincture (please read this post if you have any concerns about the use of it in your medicine cabinet), you will find the pros and cons of both in our how to make a tincture postYou could also use food-grade glycerine, but will need to follow different instructions for the tincture which will be found in our how to make a tincture post.
  • If using a metal lidded jar, cover jar with plastic prior to screwing on lid as you don't want the metal to be in contact with the tincture to corrode it.
  • Label your jar with the name of herb, date and the medium used (i.e., alcohol or cider vinegar). 
  • Store in a cool, dark area like your pantry. Let the mixture sit for 4 - 6 weeks for a nice, strong blend. Shake every few days to infuse the herbs into the liquid.
  • When the time is completed, place a fine strainer over a glass bowl. Line the strainer with a piece of clean lightweight cotton or thin cheesecloth. Pour the contents through and strain. Your tincture is ready to use!
  • If you have a clean dropper bottle, then pour some of your tincture inside and add it into your medicine cabinet. The remaining jar of tincture can safely be stored in your pantry for up to 5 years if using vodka (or longer) while the apple cider vinegar tincture will last up to a year.
  • Make sure to label your final product with the name of tincture, date made and medium used (such as vodka, vinegar or glycerin).

Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The suggested dosage for adults would be to start off with one dropperful (aka 1/4 tsp.) before bedtime (if necessary, you may increase to 2-3 dropperfuls which is 1/2 - ¾ tsp.). If you notice any adverse affects, try making the tincture without the valerian (as a very small part of the population doesn't agree with it). 

"O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head."
~Thomas Hood

It is wonderful to have a variety of these long lasting and all natural medicines in your pantry! When a need arises, we simply administer the proper mixture. Sending some sweet dreams your way and some pleasant preparations! This post is a part of our Make Your Own Apothecary ~ Home Pharmacy Series.
Disclaimers: I am not a certified herbalist but a homemaker interested in the arts of natural healing. The information I have learned has been gleaned through study of some of the following favorite books; Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's GuideHerbal Recipes for Vibrant HealthGrow Your Own Drugs by James Wong, The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs by Reader's Digest and websites of herbalists (such as the Bulk Herb Store Blog). As with all medicine, if problems still persist, discontinue the use of this remedy.

I am not a doctor. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, remember that using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others. Also, if you have a medical condition, are taking pharmaceutical drugs, or are pregnant, please consult your physician prior to taking herbs.


  1. Oh JES! This post was simply beautiful, and so inspirational too! I would love to grow some of the herbs you mentioned here to try my own sleepy-time tincture...often I struggle to sleep, so this would be just right! And I love using herbal remedies:)
    I hope your week has been wonderful thus far!
    Blessings and joy to you!

  2. JES thank you so much for this natural sleep remedy! I definitely need something! LOL! It is currently 4:I5 here and I am still awake and haven't slept a wink all night. This is definitely something that I should try. Thanks so much!

  3. Ahh JES. we are on the same wavelength or something! I was JUST thinking I needed a stronger nighttime tincture and I'll for sure be trying this one.. I use your chamomile tincture before bed now, and often I add valerian root to it. Being an anxiety sufferer, passionflower will be a perfect addition Thanks for sharing this!

    Kristi @Stone Family Farmstead

  4. Hi, I trust your visit with family is going wonderfully well, JES.
    Thank you for thinking of your readers beforehand and providing such helpful information for us. I've had valerian root in the pantry for years, but I've never used it for the very reason you mention. - It's just smell-shock awful when sniffed only slightly. However, I will venture to make this since we need sleep a aid desperately at times. Love the thought of a tincture since we don't like drinking a lot right before bed.
    Enjoy your week!

  5. This sounds good, except for the chamomile... I have allergies to it, so don't use it. I made my own blend of herbs in a tincture for sleep... passionflower and others were in it... should have been great, but for some reason it seemed to wind my system up, so that didn't work... I saved it, but was afraid to use it since it had the same effect on others in the family... finally got rid of it and now I really need to do more experimenting. We grow passionflower, so have a good source for that. I love tinctures for so many things... thank you for sharing this. :)

  6. Oh my goodness! This is beautiful and so full of detail. I'm so glad to have found you through the blog hop today.

  7. JES, I hope you have a wonderful summer away with your family! How exciting! While I don't suffer from sleep issues, this is a good remedy to know, as I do have a friend who does. Appreciate your helpful information - as always! Have a blessed day! :)

  8. I typically drink Valerian root tea, but some day I may have to make this. I have everything except passion flower. I even have a glass bottle with a dropper.

  9. Beautiful post !
    I like that, - do it yourself recipe- all natural.
    Have a blessed week. ^_^

  10. I love natural remedies, especially for sleep. Thanks for sharing!

  11. OK this girl is going to have to get herself some of these herbs to make this right away. I'm an insomniac and hate having to take pills to sleep (not to mention that they are very addictive) so this would be great. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Do have a lovely summer away, Jes! I will be spending time this winter catching up on all your wonderful posts, organising my pantry, printing out lots of lovely labels and gathering lots of home making advice.

  13. Thank you for sharing your post with us at Wildcrafting Wednesday! You've been selected as a Featured Post, once again! Congratulations!


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