2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Vegan foods can get a bad rap for being bland and tasteless. In the Western world, meat has become a predominant part of every meal. Many people have become so accustomed to the salty, fatty flavor offered by animal protein that they find it difficult to imagine how a person could subsist on a diet of vegetables and legumes alone.

Using a vegan spice guide to add the appropriate spices to a dish can mean the difference between cooking that keeps you coming back for more, and boiled, lifeless veggies in a pot. Not only does it add depth and flavor to vegetables, but using herbs and spices in vegan cooking can also open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

When my partner and I transitioned to a plant-based diet and lifestyle, we stopped eating meat cold-turkey (pun intended). Learning to cook with a variety of herbs and spices from the get-go allowed us to be creative in the kitchen and get to know and understand the types of flavors that went well with the foods we were now eating on a regular basis. We both became familiar with combining spices such as cumin, turmeric, garam masala, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper, for example, to create a spice blend to cook down with onions to form the base of a curry dish.

Creating A Vegan Spice Guide

One of the first things we did when we went vegan was to prepare a vegan spice guide: a list of the essential spices we would always have in our pantry. We opted for organic spices stored in mason jars for easy cooking. Now, we cannot last long when we run low on cumin, turmeric, or nutritional yeast. Taking the time to develop a vegan spice guide and using it to stock our pantry has been integral to our success in transitioning to plant-based eating and helping us to make some beautiful, healthful meals within the comfort of our home.

It can be overwhelming to know which spices to include in your pantry, especially if you are beginning the journey of home-based vegan cooking. With new vegans in mind, I created this vegan spice guide which will walk you through 8 essential spices which can jazz up any vegan dish.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Turmeric

Turmeric tops the list as one of my favorite herbs in my vegan spice guide. I’ve written a whole post about this beautiful spice. Turmeric is a prominent spice in Indian dishes such as curry and dahl. Turmeric also has many health properties, which make it a must-have in the kitchen. At this point in our vegan journey, we add turmeric to everything. It has a slightly bitter taste; however, it pairs well with other herbs such as ginger, garlic, and cumin.

Cumin

Cumin is one of the most versatile herbs in our pantry, which make it a must-have for my vegan spice guide. Cumin makes a great base for most curries. Use cumin seeds fried on medium with some coconut oil for 30 seconds before adding in diced onion, garlic, and ginger for the beginning of delicious curry. My favorite way to use cumin is in homemade veggie chili. Find how to make your own chili spice blend below.

Chili Spice Blend

[recipe_ingredients]

1 tbsp. ground cumin
1.5 – 2 tbsp. chili powder
½ tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 pinch smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Combine herbs together in a bowl and mix well.
  • Store in a labeled, airtight glass jar.

[/recipe_directions]

Add this blend with chopped onions to a large pot until fragrant and then throw in the remainder of the chili ingredients. Another tip to enhance the depth of flavor in chili is to add a tablespoon of dark cocoa powder to the pot of chili along with the chili spice blend featured above.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Mustard Seed

I’ve only recently become accustomed to using mustard seed in my vegan cooking, and now it is a staple in my vegan spice guide. Mustard seed can be toasted using coconut oil similar to cumin seed which lends a deep, earthy flavor to dishes.

My favorite recipe that calls for mustard seed is a take on a traditional ayurvedic dish, kitchari, which you can find here. In this recipe, mustard seeds are toasted along with coriander and cumin seeds until they become fragrant. My favorite part about this recipe is that the mustard seeds dance out of the pot!

Another interesting way to incorporate mustard seeds into your diet is to add them with oil and onion to the bottom of a pot to fry. Then I add in some basmati rice and turmeric, covering the rice with oils from the toasted seeds and onion. After that, I cook the rice as usual. This is a simple way to add some interest, color, and flavor to the rice.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Garlic

Although I prefer to use whole, fresh garlic cloves, it can never hurt to have garlic granules in your pantry for times when you’re in a pinch. Even if you are using garlic cloves, who said you can’t double up? If you’re a garlic lover, you’ll find that this spice becomes a part of your everyday life when you’re cooking plant-based meals.

Recently, my partner cooked a simple, slow-cooked stew in which he incorporated large cloves of fresh garlic and garlic powder. It was delicious! When you are purchasing garlic powder, opt for the granules as opposed to the powder. The powder tends to stick and clump together over time, whereas the granules remain separate.

Smoked Paprika

Before transitioning to a plant-based diet, my only familiarity with paprika was that it was the orange spice sprinkled on top of potato salads or deviled eggs at backyard barbecues. Now, it is a go-to for most recipes. The benefit of paprika is that it lends a smoky flavor to vegan dishes which mimics the savory taste of meat. If it is available where you are, choose smoked paprika over the regular spice.

Garam Masala

Next in the vegan spice guide is the beautiful spice blend, garam masala. While you can make a garam spice blend (ground coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg),  it can also be easily purchased at your local health food store. Think of this blend as a finisher for curries like chickpea-based chana masala or other Indian dishes that incorporate tomato. Season your curry with garam like you would salt or pepper, just before you serve. Although it is traditionally used as a finishing spice, feel free to add it to mashed chickpea sandwiches with vegan mayo, chopped pickles, and salt and pepper.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Cayenne

Bear with me on this one. Becoming vegan requires a level of openness to trying new foods. While you may be hesitant to venture into the realm of spicy foods, I can assure you that it is worth giving it a shot. Adding just a dash of cayenne to dishes like vegan spaghetti can add a level of brightness your dish might be missing. Build your spice tolerance up over time by adding small increments of the spice into dishes throughout the week. Before long you’ll be putting cayenne on everything.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Salt and Pepper

Although this might seem obvious, salt and pepper are two necessities in the kitchen. Do not be afraid of using a little salt and pepper in your spice blends as they will help to tie all the flavors together. You do not want to go overboard on salt and pepper. However, I have read that seasoning with a little of each of these seasonings at each step of the cooking process can help to meld individual flavors resulting in a more savory and satisfying dish.

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast, or “nooch,” as it is so fondly referred to in the vegan community, is an indispensable component of any vegan spice guide. Though nutritional yeast is not technically a spice, it has quickly become as familiar to us as ketchup in a 1980’s refrigerator. We keep a jar of nutritional yeast on our kitchen table at all times. We use it as a seasoning as we would apply salt and pepper. Sprinkle it over everything from salad to noodles, pasta, and curry. It adds an “umami” flavor which vegans often miss out on when they stop eating rich foods like cheese. Nutritional yeast also forms the basis of many vegan “cheese” sauces and can be used to make a delicious baked mac and cheese.

Becoming vegan has added excitement to my time spent in the kitchen. Plant-based foods are often critiqued as being boring or flavorless, but I can tell you that if you begin to experiment with some of the spices in this vegan spice guide, you will find that vegan cooking is anything but dull.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

3 Ways to Simplify Life During Hectic Seasons

3 Ways to Simplify Life During Hectic Seasons | Herbal Academy | The holidays needn’t be a time of hustle and bustle. In fact, it is possible to simplify life during hectic seasons. Here are 3 ways to do just that!

The holidays needn’t be a time of relentless hustle, bustle, and unfulfilled, unrealistic expectations. It is easy enough to get swept up in the pressure and commercialism of the holiday season. Even for the most centered among us, you may find yourself getting stressed out about gifts for loved ones or pressured to be merry and bright at holiday gatherings, regardless of your true emotional state. And then, after all the holiday pressure and overindulgence, there is the boomerang effect of guilt and unrealistic New Year’s resolutions. However, I have good news! It is, in fact, possible to enjoy the best of the holidays and to enter the new year with ease, simplicity, grace, and acceptance. It is possible to simplify life during hectic seasons.

3 Ways to Simplify Life During Hectic Seasons

1. Give Simple Gifts

I grew up in a family that enjoyed the traditions of Christmas to the fullest. I fondly remember the holidays and recall a brightly decorated tree, overflowing Christmas stockings, traditional Cioppino on Christmas Eve, and the titillating excitement of wondering what Santa would bring. Every year, my grandmother would take my three siblings and me to pick out a new Christmas ornament for the tree, and we would wander the ornament shop for what seemed like hours, painstakingly selecting the decoration that most spoke to our young hearts. Some 30 odd years later, I still own many of those ornaments, and each one reminds me of my grandmother’s kindness and patience, as well as sharing in the holiday excitement with my two brothers and one sister.

As my siblings and I matured into adulthood, marriages, jobs, and grad school spread us out across the country, and our holiday traditions have changed with the times and in an effort to simplify life during hectic seasons like Christmas. However, it is my feeling that the heart of the holidays has remained intact in our family, and I believe our practices in simplicity and flexibility have assisted in that.

3 Ways to Simplify Life During Hectic Seasons | Herbal Academy | The holidays needn’t be a time of hustle and bustle. In fact, it is possible to simplify life during hectic seasons. Here are 3 ways to do just that!

One such example is our tradition of gift giving. Perhaps more than a decade ago, my parents, siblings, and I decided to simplify our Christmas gifts. Each family member is assigned to give to one other family member. This practice eventually evolved so that the gifts were restricted to handmade goods only. We rotate who gives to whom each year, and I find this to be a wonderful way to spend time really thinking about the person to whom I am gifting. The gifts are unveiled on Christmas Eve, and each year we marvel at the creativity and care of each offering, no matter how humble. These handmade treasures have included a terrarium; handmade jewelry; hand-drawn, screen-printed clothing; paintings and photography; and delightful edibles such as homemade truffles, a kitcheree making kit, cranberry chutney, and pineapple salsa.  

Last year, I made Kate O’Donnell’s Sunbutter Truffles as a gift for my father-in-law. I highly recommend these delightfully creamy, simple truffles as a gift or addition to your holiday spread.

3 Ways to Simplify Life During Hectic Seasons | Herbal Academy | The holidays needn’t be a time of hustle and bustle. In fact, it is possible to simplify life during hectic seasons. Here are 3 ways to do just that!

Sunbutter Truffles

These truffles feature sunflower butter, which is considered in Ayurveda to be lighter and easier to digest than peanut butter. Sunbutter truffles also contain an adaptogenic boost of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) for extra resilience around the holidays.

[recipe_ingredients]

Filling:

2 tsp melted coconut oil
1/2 cup sunflower butter
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root

Chocolate Coating:

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons cacao powder
Shredded coconut for outside (optional)

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Mix together melted coconut oil, sunflower butter, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add almond meal, cinnamon, and ashwagandha. Mix well. Cover the mixture and freeze for 45 minutes.
  • To make the chocolate coating, combine 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil with maple syrup and cacao powder in a warm saucepan. The coating must remain liquid for dipping, so working out of a warmed saucepan helps.
  • Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the sunflower butter filling from the freezer, and shape into one-inch size balls, dropping them one at a time into the chocolate coating mix. Coat sunbutter balls evenly (using two spoons helps). Once coated, place them onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle with a bit of dried, shredded coconut if you like. These wonderful truffles are creamy, simple, and divine. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat!

[/recipe_directions]

I share my family’s traditions not to dictate what you and your loved ones should do. It is merely to plant the seed for ways that you might be able to simplify life during hectic seasons so you can relish the joy of the holidays, and hopefully, reduce pressure and stress. I think my family members will agree that by changing this one aspect of how we celebrate, we have become more liberated to enjoy the holidays, and we also suffer less from the stress and financial strain that can accompany the pressures of extravagant gift giving.

2. Let Go. Do Less.

Whatever your traditions may be, winter can provide a wonderful opportunity for reflection, release, and rethinking about what really matters. Something that I love about the holidays is that our collective priorities seem to shift. Professional ambition gets a chance to take a back seat to social engagements and quality time with the family. As we take time away from work and day to day responsibilities in order to celebrate and connect with dear ones, it seems there is a common understanding that productivity is slowed and that it is a time to rest, retreat, and revel allowing us the perfect opportunity to further simplify life during hectic seasons. I would like to emphasize that the choice about what to do with this special time of year lies with you. For some, time away from work is not an option, but if you have that luxury, I suggest you take a moment to truly consider what you want to do with the gift of downtime. What are the traditions that you want to invent, adhere to, or toss aside with the outgoing year?

3 Ways to Simplify Life During Hectic Seasons | Herbal Academy | The holidays needn’t be a time of hustle and bustle. In fact, it is possible to simplify life during hectic seasons. Here are 3 ways to do just that!

There may be an unspoken pressure to follow suit when it comes to holiday traditions. However, interestingly enough, when one person leads the way in the rethinking and simplification of rituals, that choice often takes the pressure off others, and everyone can enjoy the freedom of eased expectations. For instance, I have shared my family’s gift-giving tradition with friends who have then been inspired to adopt it among their circles. When we encounter ritual, therein lies the perfect opportunity to explore and question what we want to keep and what actions are motivated purely by obligation, expectation, or even guilt.

3. Enjoy The Space Between

It may be comforting to listen to messages from nature as the days turn dark and cold. You may delight in festive food and twinkling lights (I do!), and yet, it is also helpful to remember that winter signifies the end of the life cycle. It is a barren time, and in many ways, time for stripping away, letting go, and reflecting on the year that has gone by. I often feel a tinge of sadness in the quiet days between Christmas and the new year. It amazes me how quickly the years pass, and perhaps I am simply feeling the existential melancholy that comes along with all human shortcomings. I am keenly aware of all that I failed to do and all the unexpected surprises, twists, and turns that the road of life has taken me on. Yet, in this quiet window, when the noise of holiday gatherings dies down, I can often get a glimpse at humbling self-acceptance, and that type of acceptance is relieving. With the pressure to do, be, and create temporarily lifted, there is a chance to realize that we are not our accomplishments. There is a beauty in the quiet, the stillness, and the space between, and in this space, one can find ways to simplify life during hectic seasons.

3 Ways to Simplify Life During Hectic Seasons | Herbal Academy | The holidays needn’t be a time of hustle and bustle. In fact, it is possible to simplify life during hectic seasons. Here are 3 ways to do just that!

Rather than making stringent or grandiose New Year’s resolutions that will be forgotten by Valentine’s Day, the dawn of a new year can be viewed as the ideal time to enjoy some quiet reflection and to clear the way for the activities of the year to come. A few new year’s practices that I enjoy are taking time for silence, cleaning house, throwing away to-do lists, and retreating to somewhere quiet and restful for a few days.

Silence has a wonderful purifying effect, and you don’t have to go on a retreat to practice it. A decision as simple as choosing not to speak from sundown to sunrise for a few days can be a lovely way to reset and step away from the noise. The post-holiday time is also a great chance to purge the excess from your home. Excess clothing, odds and ends, and unnecessary paperwork can all be tossed out, donated, or recycled to make space for the freshness of the new year. I find the transition from one year to the next to be a good time to reassess my to-do lists and expectations. If there are tasks that are truly important, I try to accomplish them before the start of the new year. However, I may look at what I set out to do and realize that some of it can be put off, crossed out, or simply thrown out.

3 Ways to Simplify Life During Hectic Seasons | Herbal Academy | The holidays needn’t be a time of hustle and bustle. In fact, it is possible to simplify life during hectic seasons. Here are 3 ways to do just that!

In regards to to-do lists, a lawyer friend once shared his experience after leaving a high-stress job at a law firm. He was cleaning out his desk and came across a long list full of tasks that he never accomplished. He then realized that although he had never done any of those things, nobody else ever cared or even noticed. He was still completely successful at his job and moving on willingly. Seasonal transitions, as well as life transitions, provide a prime opportunity for revamping, releasing, and making space to rethink our true intentions for the road ahead.

My message to you as you clean up holiday messes, return from travel, and transition into the year to come, is don’t rush in. Before you get caught up in the collective ambition of the new year, enjoy a little time to exhale and pause. Take a moment of silence, a walk in the snow, turn off your phone, throw away your to-do list, and hang out in the in-between for a moment. When you reflect on the year gone by, and all that there is to do and become, I suggest you consider how you can simplify and what you can let go of. By doing so, you give permission for others to do the same, and perhaps we can all move closer to a state of purity and grace as we strive to simplify life during hectic seasons.

3 Ways to Simplify Life During Hectic Seasons | Herbal Academy | The holidays needn’t be a time of hustle and bustle. In fact, it is possible to simplify life during hectic seasons. Here are 3 ways to do just that!

REFERENCES

O’Donnell, K. (2015). The everyday Ayurveda cookbook. Boulder, CO: Shambala Publications, Inc.

Herbal Sleep Cycling: How To Create Your Own Protocol For Deeper Sleep

Herbal Sleep Cycling: How To Create Your Own Protocol For Deeper Sleep | Herbal Academy | Discover the nuts and bolts of herbal sleep cycling, herbs you can draw from for deeper sleep, and how to build your own basic herbal sleep cycle protocol in this post.

Cultivating deeper, more restful sleep can be one of the most foundational pieces to rebalance your overall health. But actually achieving deeper rest in the long-term is more complex than simply “knocking yourself out” with the same choice each night. Herbal sleep cycling is a protocol design I incorporate frequently in my clinical practice and is easy to learn and adapt into your routine at home if you struggle with sleep issues. Read on to discover the nuts and bolts of herbal sleep cycling, herbs you can draw from for deeper sleep, and how to build your own basic herbal sleep cycle protocol.

Why Herbal Sleep Cycling?

I often get asked: why cycle between herbs when using them as sleep aids? Depending on the complexity of the root causes for your sleep troubles, it could take some time for the body to re-adjust to sleeping naturally again. During this time of adjustment, it is helpful to have an arsenal of natural sleep aids you can cycle through so that your body can still receive the adequate, good quality sleep it needs (Winston, 2002).

For example, if someone is struggling with menopausal insomnia triggered by night sweats and hot flashes waking them up, a comprehensive protocol to help re-balance their hormones, restore the nervous system, and calm the heart would often be suggested for months while cooling herbal sleeping aids are used to alleviate symptoms in the meantime. For some individuals, symptoms of menopause can take over a decade to go through, and the likelihood of the same herbal sleep aid remaining effective for them every night throughout that period is slim.

Herbal Sleep Cycling: How To Create Your Own Protocol For Deeper Sleep | Herbal Academy | Discover the nuts and bolts of herbal sleep cycling, herbs you can draw from for deeper sleep, and how to build your own basic herbal sleep cycle protocol in this post.

In herbal practice, it is suggested to avoid taking any herb (or formula of herbs) nightly to prevent building up a tolerance (Hershoff & Rotelli, 2001). In my clinical practice, I have found herbal sleep cycling helps improve the efficacy of herbal sleep aids especially if they are being taken long-term. Every person’s body is unique so discovering the right pattern of sleep cycling can take some time and experimentation to figure out. A good rule to go by is to change the herb (or formula of herbs) you are using every night and cycle between at least three different herbs (or formulas).

How To Build A Basic Herbal Sleep Cycle Protocol

Building an herbal sleep cycle protocol can be as simple or complex as you choose to make it. As a basic template, you should make your protocol around a three-day cycle at minimum, choosing three different formulas or herbs to use on a rotating basis. Here are some key steps to consider as you create your own personalized toolbox for deeper sleep.

Step 1

Before diving into creating your protocol, take a moment and reflect on what the roots of your sleep issues are, your constitution (i.e., do you tend to run hot or cold; are you more dry or moist), and your general symptom picture. Through building your own protocol for deeper sleep, you can tailor it to your specific wellness picture. Even if you are unsure of the exact roots causing your sleep issues at the moment, use this time to reflect on all of the contributing factors you do know of.

For instance: maybe you have no problem falling asleep at night, but you always wake up in the middle of the night from intensely vivid dreams and are unable to fall back asleep. Or, maybe you lay down to sleep feeling anxious with a racing mind every night, making bedtime an uncomfortable process. There are many different categories to sift through here so use this step as an opportunity to clarify what your personal sleep picture looks like (Winston, 2002).

Step 2

Based on your personal sleep and health symptom picture, it’s time to choose the herbs you want to use in your sleep cycling protocol. You can reference the list of herbs and herbal categories below to help you get started. It is helpful to choose your herbs based on which actions are most necessary for you, which herbs are most accessible, and if there are any particular herbs you feel especially drawn to work with.

You can either choose a handful of herbs and then build several different formulas for the varying days of your sleep cycle protocol, or you can incorporate the herbs as simples in your routine. When it comes to choosing the herbal components of your sleep cycle protocol, sometimes one simple herb can be as effective as an intricately designed formula. Consider the desired actions you would like to include in your sleep aid, then assess if one simple herb would be enough to offer this, or if multiple herbs in a formula would be more ideal. It might take a bit of research and self-reflection to discover the ideal action-formula balance for your sleep picture.

Incorporating some kind of sedative herb (or multiple herbs) should be present in every formula to assist in easier sleep. Remember that these formulas are only intended to be taken at night.

Consider the energetics of each herb when deciding which ones to use. If you suffer from night sweats, for instance, you would want to avoid heating herbs like valerian. Note that any naturally stimulating herbs are best avoided around bedtime even if they are caffeine-free (Hershoff & Rotelli, 2001). Some examples of these include ginger (Zingiber officinale), cayenne (Capsicum annuum), and rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea).

Step 3

Herbal Sleep Cycling: How To Create Your Own Protocol For Deeper Sleep | Herbal Academy | Discover the nuts and bolts of herbal sleep cycling, herbs you can draw from for deeper sleep, and how to build your own basic herbal sleep cycle protocol in this post.

After choosing your herbal formulas or simples, you can decide which kind of herbal preparations to use. Some common preparations you could choose from include: infusion, decoction, tincture, herbal bath, and herbal powder. Depending on your symptom picture and when you anticipate needing to take your sleep aid (i.e., before bed vs. in the middle of the night), you should consider the convenience and accessibility of preparing or taking the herbs.

For instance, preparing a relaxing herbal bath and tea formula might be ideal if you need help falling asleep at bedtime, but if you need to take your sleep aid in the middle of the night to help you fall back asleep, taking a tincture would be more accessible. Consider the flavor and taste of your herbs too when deciding which preparations you would like to implement into your protocol. It is fine to use all of the same preparations between each of your cycle nights or use a different preparation each night.

Step 4

Once you have your herbs and extraction methods chosen, it’s time to figure out a basic dosage strategy. This step requires the most experimentation and patience while you figure out what works best for you. Determining the right dosing for your herbal sleep cycling protocol depends on your herbal sensitivity, how “wound up” you are (i.e., how much sedation you need), and root causes of your sleep issues. Pay close attention if you choose to incorporate any low-dose herbs into your formulas (or use them as a simple) and what the standard recommended dosage is for those herbs. Some of the stronger sedative and relaxant herbs, like lobelia and corydalis, have a much lower dosing threshold than other herbs.

A good place to start when determining your dosing strategy with herbal tinctures is to start with the standard recommended dose, then repeat every 30 minutes until sleep is achieved (without exceeding a determined amount of doses, so that you do not pass any herbal safety thresholds). It is critical to do your herbal research here so that you know how to create a safe and effective dosing strategy for yourself. Remain patient and curious as you refine all of the pieces in your herbal sleep cycling protocol over time.

Herbs To Draw From

Herbal Sleep Cycling: How To Create Your Own Protocol For Deeper Sleep | Herbal Academy | Discover the nuts and bolts of herbal sleep cycling, herbs you can draw from for deeper sleep, and how to build your own basic herbal sleep cycle protocol in this post.

Here are some herbal action categories you can reference and pick from when choosing the herbs to use in your sleep cycling protocol:

Sleep support (sedatives): valerian (Valeriana officinalis), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), lobelia (Lobelia inflata),* catnip (Nepeta cataria), passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), hops (Humulus lupulus), corydalis (Corydalis ambigua),* kava kava (Piper methysticum), and skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

*Safety Note: Lobelia and corydalis are low dose botanicals and should be used with caution. It is necessary to note the specific professional dosage instructions for each herb individually prior to using or suggesting to others.

Depression support: lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), and damiana (Turnera diffusa)

Anxiety support (anxiolytics): passionflower, chamomile, lemon balm, ashwagandha, skullcap, St. John’s wort, rose (Rosa spp.), and lavender

Nervous system & stress support: oatstraw or milky oats (Avena sativa), tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), ashwagandha, and skullcap

Liver stagnation support: burdock (Arctium lappa), reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root, and turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Pain support (analgesics): corydalis, California poppy, Jamaican dogwood (Piscidia piscipula), and wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa)

You can learn more about these herbs in The Herbarium (our herbal membership site) through our library or herbal articles or our extensive list of herbal monographs.

Bonus Step: Supplementing Your Herbs

There are many other natural supplements and support available which you can incorporate into your herbal sleep cycling protocol to help cultivate deeper sleep. Although we will not focus on these in this article, keep in mind that there are other options which could be helpful to add into your routine or combine with your herbal formulas for additional support. Depending on the nature of your sleep issues, certain supplements, herbs, and other support could be more indicated than others.

One Step Closer To Deeper Sleep

Think of herbal sleep cycling as one more beneficial tool you can use to achieve deeper sleep. Remember, herbs interact with everyone differently so it could take a little time for you to discover which herbs will be most supportive for you in your personal sleep cycle protocol. Be sure to always check for any contraindications and herb-drug interactions before using any herbs if you are taking any prescription medications.

Looking to learn even more about using herbs for deeper sleep? Read our articles: 7 Herbal Remedies For Better Sleep and A Simple Solution For More Rejuvenative Sleep.

Herbal Sleep Cycling: How To Create Your Own Protocol For Deeper Sleep | Herbal Academy | Discover the nuts and bolts of herbal sleep cycling, herbs you can draw from for deeper sleep, and how to build your own basic herbal sleep cycle protocol in this post.

REFERENCES

Hershoff, A. & Rotelli, A. (2001). Herbal remedies: A quick and easy guide to common disorders and their herbal treatments. New York, NY: Penguin.

Winston, D. (2002). Botanical/nutritional protocols for insomnia and other sleep disorders. Retrieved from: https://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/sites/default/files/winston_david_-_botanicalnutritional_protocols_for_insomnia_and_other_sleep_disorders.pdf