Sedative Herbs

Drugs which calm the nerves, relax the body and quieten the spirit are called “sedatives.” They are of two types: one type is derived from heavy minerals and shellfish and is used in cases of over-stimulation and excitement due to “full” ailments. The other type is derived from plants which nourish the heart and tonify the liver. These are used when the symptoms indicate “empty” ailments.

Common symptoms for which sedative medications are used include jittery, “floating” yang-energy insomnia, hysteria, traumatic shock, fright, nervous irritability, quick temper, and other nervous disorders of yang-injury. If symptoms combine with heat excess, “heat-clearing” drugs should be included in the treatment. If symptoms are caused by excess liver-yang ascending, drugs which are specifically sedative to the liver should be combined with regular sedatives. Patients with blood, heart, or liver-yin deficiencies should be treated with sedative drugs which nourish yin-energy and tonify blood.


Natural distribution: Common mineral.

Parts used: Ground powder.

Nature: Sweet; slightly cold.

Affinity: Heart.

Effects: Sedative; antidote; anti-spasmodic.

Indications: Hypertension; nervous excitement; insomnia; traumatic shock; fright; applied externally to abscesses on body, tongue, and mouth, and swollen, painful throat.

Dosage: 0.5-1.5 g.

Remarks: Slightly poisonous; an effective remedy for chronic night- mares and hysteria; ancient Taoist alchemists attributed great power to this mineral and it was a principal ingredient in their “Elixir of Life”.


Natural distribution: Common mineral.

Parts used: Crushed stone.

Nature: Pungent; cold.

Affinity: Liver, kidneys.

Effects: Sedative; tonic to blood and kidneys.

Indications: Hypertension; heart palpitations; insomnia; hysteria; traumatic shock; fright; asthma due to “empty” kidneys; dizziness; ringing in ears and deafness.

Dosage: 7-15 g.

Remarks: An effective treatment for prolapse of the rectum; appropriate sedative for patients with weak blood and kidneys.



Natural distribution: World-wide.

Parts used: Crushed fossilized bones.

Nature: Sweet and sour; neutral.

Affinity: Heart, liver, kidneys.

Effects: Sedative; calms excess liver-yang; astringent.

Indications: Hypertension; insomnia; shock; fright; hysteria; dizziness; spermatorrhoea; leukorrhoea;. diarrhea.

Dosage: 10-20 g.

Remarks: Effective external styptic action on abscesses and other persistent sores.




Natural distribution: World-wide.

Parts used: Crushed or powdered shells.

Nature: Salty and sour; slightly cold.

Affinity: Liver, gall bladder, kidneys.

Effects: Sedative; calms excess liver- yang; astringent; softens and dissolves hard tumors.

Indications: Hypertension; heart palpitations; insomnia; ascending excess liver-yang: dizziness, headache, blurry vision, etc; severe fright; spasms; spermatorrhoea; menorrhagia; leukorrhoea; diarrhea; cold-sweats; swollen lymph glands; hard tumors; vomiting bile.

Dosage: 5-10 g.

Remarks: Contains 75 percent calcium carbonate; promotes bone growth; prescribed for calcium- deficiency in pregnant women.




Natural distribution: China, Japan, India, Afghanistan, Malaysia.

Parts used: Seeds.

Nature: Sweet and sour; neutral.

Affinity: Heart, spleen, liver, gall bladder.

Effects: Sedative to liver; cardio-tonic; nutrient; tonic to yin; inhibits perspiration.

Indications: Insomnia; neurasthenia; heart palpitations; cold sweats.

Dosage: 6-15 g.

Remarks: Long-term use improves the complexion.




Natural distribution: Northern China, Mongolia.

Parts used: Skin of the roots.

Nature: Bitter and pungent; warm.

Affinity: Lungs, heart, kidneys.

Effects: Sedative; expectorant; tonic to heart and kidneys.

Indications: Dizziness or fainting due to excess phlegm accumulation; insomnia; coughs with profuse phlegm.

Dosage: 5-7 g.

Remarks: The drug irritates the mucous membranes in the throat, causing hyper-secretion and expectoration; combined with Chinese licorice, it is a good expectorant for heavy smokers.



Natural distribution: Northern hemisphere.

Parts used: Mature kernels.

Nature: Sweet; neutral.

Affinity: Heart

Effects: Sedative; cardio-tonic.

Indications: Insomnia; hypertension.

Dosage: 15-30 g.

Remarks: The immature grain is prescribed to inhibit profuse sweating due to “empty” ailments.

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