Herbal Aromatherapy Encourages Sleep

Herbal Aromatherapy Encourages Sleep

By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America

Falling-Rock_Serenity-Room_Nemacolin-Woodlands-Resort (6)
Sleep is a pillar of good health and at least one-third of Americans are getting less than they need. That might result in higher health care costs and lower quality of life. Herbs and essential oils can play a role in the solution.

“When you look at recent research, sleep deprivation can really have some damaging effects on our long-term health,” says Katlyn Hatcher, director of spa and wellness at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. “It affects mood, relationships, work functioning. It can affect your mental health and increase your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, Long-term studies have even shown that consistent lack of sleep can drop your metabolism up to 40 percent.”

Woodlands Spa - ExteriorTo help people manage sleep-related issues and improve their health, experts at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, just outside Pittsburgh, are pioneering a Sleep Revolution Retreat. Guests sign up for immersive two- or four-night packages that include exercise, yoga, meditation, relaxation treatments, journaling and essential oils. The workshops are conducted at the five-star Falling Rock boutique hotel that’s part of the Nemacolin complex.

“One thing that blew me away is that, in 2015, Americans spent $41 billion on sleeping pills and sleeping aids,” says Katlyn. “People want better sleep, but may not have the tools.”

Among the many tools she offers is aromatherapy, using herbal essential oils to encourage healthy sleep. She says

  • Lavender is calming to the nervous system. It lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It can be rubbed on pressure points like the wrist and neck or used in a diffuser in the bedroom.
  • Citrus aromas like lemon and bergamot relieve tension and anxiety. At the resort’s spa technicians use lotions with a bergamot scent to finish treatments.
  • Clary sage helps with relaxation and some research suggests it has an antidepressant benefit.


Nemacolin-Woodlands-Resort-relaxationThe spa has a local vendor custom blend essential oils with carrier oils for their use.  Proprietary blends of essential oils are mixed with two-thirds fragmented coconut oil and one-third grape seed for massage oil. “If you want to make your own massage oil, you can add more or less to your liking,” Katlyn advises. “It’s a great thing to incorporate at home. Rub it onto your hands, hover hands over your face and do three deep inhalations.”

Of course, herbal teas have a place in sleep preparation as well. “I think the act of making and sipping tea can be a meditation and very relaxing,” sh says. “Herbal tea can be great for your routine. Jasmine tea has a sweet aroma. Chamomile is great for calming as well.”

“Aromatherapy is great,” she says, “but, you do have to be careful. I don’t recommend ingesting essential oils.”

Hops: Beyond Beer

By Paris Wolhopsfarmfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America

Hops flowers can do more than give you a buzz. Like chamomile and lavender, they are said to hasten sleep. Simply sew a sachet, put it near your pillow and Zzzzzz.  To get more insight for the herb user, Blogmaster Paris Wolfe interviewed Kori Rodley, public and media relations coordinator from Mountain Rose Herbs in Eugene, Oregon.

Q. Where are hops traditionally grown?
A. Hops grow best in moist, temperate climates like Germany, the Pacific Northwestern United States, and central Europe.

Q. How many varieties are there? Do they differ greatly? Is it like grapes and wine?
A. Hops can be like wine grapes. Different varieties tend to be grown in different regions where they are best suited. They have different flavors, sizes. If you look at beer brewing recipes, you will see that different hops are used in different recipes and at different points in the brewing—some used for bitterness, some for flavor, and some for aroma.

Q. What variety best induces sleep?
A. All hops have similar relaxing qualities. The plant, “Humulus lupulus,” is considered a sedative plant so the variety shouldn’t matter. It is a matter of taste and preference.

Q. What are their uses?
A. Hops can be used in all sorts of culinary and medicinal ways. One can make a tea, tincture, vinegar or other infusion. They are also made into essential oil.  I have even seen recipes for hops flowers sautéed in butter and garlic.

Hops copyQ. What parts are used?
A. The female hop flowers are generally used in brewing, culinary applications and herb projects. However, leaves, stems and roots are edible.

Q. How does a home user acquire the fresh or dried flowers?
A. You can buy hops plants at local garden nurseries and online, if you’d like to grow them yourself. You may be able to find fresh flowers at your local farmer’s market in the late summer or get in touch with a local brewer to see if they have a source. You can also buy hops in a dried pellet form—normally frozen—from a brew supply shop. Mountain Rose Herbs sells the dehydrated organic hops flowers in bulk. 

A Word About the Company:  Mountain Rose Herbs has wide range of product offerings including bulk herbs and spices, aromatherapy and essential oils, tea and tea supplies, and natural health and body care. Every aspect of product creation is carried out in accordance with strict quality control and organic handling procedures.