When a client is handed a hot cup of herbal tea there are more benefits than the biological effect of the tea. First, handing a guest a cup of tea is a ritual deeply engrained in human civilization for thousands of years. It is an act of kindness and the clients in a drug treatment program have been offered very little kindness for months or years or maybe in some cases during their entire lives. It speaks to them, therefore, in a subtle message that we respect them and are willing to engage them in a relationship based on our common humanity.
Second, holding a warm beverage is comforting. It helps relieve the anxiety around waiting for needles to be placed in one’s body. It helps relieve anxiety for any other reason as well. One residential program in Connecticut reported a 90% reduction in Valium demand when they added Sleepmix tea to their protocol.
The formula for Sleepmix Tea was created by Michael Smith, MD, to accompany NADA’s 5-Point Ear Protocol. The tea is a blend of Western herbs – 3 parts chamomile and 1 part each peppermint, yarrow, hops, skullcap and catnip – and is designed to “help in detoxification, aid in digestion, prevent insomnia, promote relaxation and reduce stress” according to page 37 of the NADA manual. Clients are tickled when told the tea includes catnip (an herb that excites cats but relaxes human beings) and intrigued when told it also includes hops (sounds like beer)! In combination the ingredients help calm and soothe the nervous system, stimulate circulation, and eliminate waste products. The 6 herbs are considered food compounds so there are no legal restrictions on their use. The tea has been used by pregnant and nursing women, people going through detox, and people who need to stay awake during the day for their classes and group meetings.
The formula can be used for the treatment of conventional stress and insomnia as well as providing an adjunctive support in addiction treatment settings. It has been shown to be particularly effective in the management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms (one facility discovered its seizure rate increased when the program ran out of tea).
Programs can brew tea on site and/or offer teabags to clients to drink throughout the day reserving enough for a cup before going to bed.
The constituents of Sleepmix Tea have been reported to have the following effects:
Hops: To reduce anxiety, improve sleep, relax tension and ADHD symptoms, and
improve appetite and digestion.
Yarrow: To relieve anxiety and insomnia and improve digestion.
Catnip: To reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality and digestion.
Peppermint: To reduce pain, muscle tension, and digestive tract spasms.
Skullcap: To reduce anxiety, insomnia, and nervous tension.
Chamomile: To relieve gas, upset stomach, restlessness, and insomnia.
Preparation: 1 teabag per cup of boiling water. Brew mild (steep 1 – 2 minutes) or strong (3 – 5 minutes). Drink hot or cool. In winter I serve it hot. What’s left over I put in a glass pitcher on a pile of paper towels in the refrigerator (because it’s still hot when I leave) and in summer use the cold tea. Even in winter I take the cold tea in with me and add it to the hot tea so it is comfortable to drink because the coffee urn makes hot tea so hot it’s dangerous for some time until it cools a bit. We don’t allow sweetener and usually clients love it anyway.
May be used on a continual basis. Caffeine free. Usually will not cause a.m. drowsiness when used as a sleep aid, however, at times clients have stated they felt tired later in the day. I suspect they are simply so unused to feeling relaxed, relaxation is identified as tiredness.
Anyone can order Sleepmix Tea from: Nutra-Control , PO Box 1199 , Old Chelsea Station New York, NY 10011 212-929-3780, firstname.lastname@example.org