Ayurvedic Herbs To Improve Sleep: Chronological List

In a person with sleep disturbance, as far as possible, the usage of medicines should be avoided. There are many natural methods and techniques to induce good sleep. They should be used as first line of treatment.  

Read related: 20 Simple Ayurveda Sleep Tips On How To Sleep Better

With perseverance and disciplined sleeping habits, in most of the cases, sleep correction can be achieved within 4 – 6 weeks of time.
However, in some cases, with depression, anxiety, diabetes, hypertension, neurological disorders etc, herb supplementation for better sleep becomes necessary.


Herbs that are useful for better sleep can be classified into
Mild Herbs – can be used almost by anyone, very safe.
Moderately strong herbs – Some conditions apply for its usage.
Strong Herbs – Doctor’s consultation is required.

Sleep improving herbs

Grade 1 – Mild herbs for better sleep:

Gotu kola

Gotu Kola – Centella asiatica
Useful when the person has anxiety and depression. It is especially useful when the patient has anxiety, fear associated with sleep problems. (research)
Gotu Kola leaves are used as chutney in some parts of India.

How to use?
Gotu kola leaves are made into chutney and used along with diet.
Gotu kola powder – 2 – 3 grams at night after food is administered.
Its capsule / tablet – 1 – 2 tablets at night after food is administered, can be continued for 2 – 3 months of time, with gradual decrease in dose.
Read related: Gotu Kola Health Benefits, Uses, Dose, Side Effects – Ayurveda Details


Shankhapushpi – Convolvulus pluricaulis
It is a very good neuro-protective (soothes and protects nerves, useful in neuropathy, neuro toxicity) (research)
A nootropic – Medhya – improves memory and concentration
Useful in amnesia – loss of memory
Anti oxidant – improves cell health
Anti convuslant – relieves tremors, improves body co-ordination.
With all these benefits, Shankhapushpi is very ideal to use in elderly people with sleep problems. It is useful in cases of parkinson’s disease as well.

How to take?
Shankhapushpi powder – 2- 3 grams at night with ghee or with water.
Shankhapushpi syrup – 5 – 10 ml (not ideal in diabetic people)
Shankhapushpi capsule / tablet – 1 – 2 at night after food, can be continued for 2 – 3 months of time, with gradual decrease in dose.
Read related: Shankhapushpi – Convolvulus pluricaulis – Benefits, Dose, Side Effects


Amla – Indian gooseberry
Amla is a coolant and decreases Pitta. If insomnia is associated with burning sensation, gastritis, eye tiredness, headache etc, then Amla is very useful.
Read related: How To Eat Amla Fruit And Amla Powder Based On Body Type And Needs?

Amla hair oil (or any hair oil for that matter), is applied on scalp, forehead and even a couple of drops are applied over closed eyelids for better sleep.
The oil is also applied on the feet. This is well known to induce deep sleep.


Brahmi – Bacopa monnieri
Improves memory, learning capacity, improves cognitive functions.
In some people, brahmi at night may increase alertness and hence can reduce sleep. Such people can take it in the morning for improved brain functions and alertness, this eventually leads to better sleep at night.
It can be consumed in the form of powder, capsule / tablet, as similar to Gotu Kola.

Rose Petals

Rose Petals – Gulab phool – It calms down Pitta, calms the nerves and mind.
Its flower distillate is consumed in a dose of 2 – 3 ml at night. Or dry powder of flower petals is consumed in a dose of 2 – 3 grams at night after food.

Herbs to treat insomnia

Grade 2 – Moderate Herbs For Insomnia Treatment:


Ashwagandha – Indian ginseng – Withania somnifera – useful, when associated with depression and stress. It can lower blood sugar and high blood pressure. Hence, some caution is required.
Asgandh is also useful to relieve excess physical exertion, physical stress and Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These two are also very important cause for sleep distubrances.

Very rarely, in some people, it causes increase in aggressive behavior / anxiety. But this is very rare. Hence, doctor’s consultation is required.
Its powder, capsule and tablets are used for treatment.
Read related: Ashwagandha- Withania somnifera Benefits, Dose, Side Effects, Medicines, Research


Nutmeg – Jatiphala
It is very effective in depression associated sleep problems. 
Nutmeg powder – 1 gram at night and nutmeg oil 5 – 6 drops – both are very useful to induce sleep.  (research)
3 – 4 drops of Nutmeg essential oil is applied on temples at bed time for good sleep.


Bala – Country mallow (root) – Sida cordifolia
Bala in Sanskrit means strength and this herb is useful to improve nervine strength.
It is very useful in cases of neurological disorder, restless leg syndrome. Both these are diseases associated with sleep disturbances.
Ksheerabala 101 oil – oral inatke – 5 – 10 drops once or twice a day is the regular dose and method of its intake.
Even its decoction is made (Bala Moola Kashaya) and administered in a dose of 15 ml, 2 times a day before food.
Read related: Bala – Country Mallow -Sida Cordifolia – Uses, Side Effects

Poppy seeds

Poppy seeds – Khas Khas – Gasa Gase
It is very calming and can be used occasionally. It is directly related with insomnia treatment.
Khas khas kheer prepared by cooking with coconut milk, sugar/jaggery and little amount of Rava/wheat pieces is very effective in cases like insomnia,heaviness of the head ,head ache etc.
Read related: 6 Poppy Seed Remedies (Khas Khas): Acne, Insomnia, Headache


Asparagus racemosa – Shatavari
Against to the popular belief, Shatavari is used both in women and men. It is useful to calm the mind, in cases of general anxiety disorder and phobia.
It is useful in diabetes, hypertension, candidiasis and hepatoma. It is a good anti oxidant and immuno-modulator.
The method of taking it is similar to other herbs explained above.
Read related: Shatavari -Asparagus racemosus Uses, Research, Side Effects


Yashtimadhu Mulethi – Licorice – Glycyrrhiza glabbra
It again calms mind, similar to Shatavari. It is used in anxiety treatment as well.
Gastritis, Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD) are related to insomnia. Licorice is an excellent remedy for this condition.
Read related: Yastimadhu: Licorice Benefits, Usage, Research, Remedies, Side Effects

Strong Ayurvedic herbs for sleep

Grade 3 – Strong Ayurvedic herbs for sleep: 


Jatamansi – Nardostachys jatamansi
Very useful in treating insomnia related with anger, anxiety, mania, schizophrenia. But care should be taken in case of hypertension, menorrhagia.
Read related: Yastimadhu: Licorice Benefits, Usage, Research, Remedies, Side Effects


Sarpagandha – Rauwolfia serpentina
Probably most effective remedy to induce sleep. But can lower blood pressure and pulse rate in higher doses and I have seen some people getting withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include nervousness, tremors, uneasiness and anxiety.
Excluding this, rest above mentioned herbs do not show much withdrawal symptoms.
Read related: Sarpagandha- Rauwolfia serpentina Uses, Side Effects


Tagara – Valerian root – Valeriana officinalis  / Valeriana wallichii
Its herbal tea, powder, capsules are useful to establishe better connection between gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) with its GABA receptor in brain. This leads to better sleep.
Read related: Tagara Valeriana wallichii: Benefits, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

Honourable mentions:
Saffron – Kesar (Crocus Sativus/Saffron) 5mg – 1 strand mixed with half a cup of milk at night improves mood, relieves depression and stress.
Jyotishmati (Celastrus Paniculatus)

Bach (Acoras Clammus)
These are used in improving brain power, memory, concentration and hence useful to some extent to induce sleep as well.

Combination –
Usually a combination is made with above mentioned herbs.
Grade 1 + grade 2 herbs – for mild to moderate insomnia
Grate 2 + grade 3 herbs for severe insomnia.

If you think I have missed any important herb that is useful in sleeping, please let me know in the comment section below.

4 thoughts on “Ayurvedic Herbs To Improve Sleep: Chronological List”

  1. Dear sir,
    One correction is to be done. Sarpa gandha is Rauwolfia serpentina, not Withania somnifera. Ashwagandha is Withania somnifera.

  2. Please correct your statement about jatamansi that care should be taken in case of hypertension. Jatamansi is anti-hypertensive.


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