My wife hates all tea whether is it tea made with actual tea leaves, or it is an herbal tea (semantics, it’s an infusion but we call it all tea). My son and I, though, tough guys that we are, we like all sorts of tea. We drink iced tea by the gallon and enjoy our herbal teas.
One of my favorites is Bengal Spice by Celestial Seasonings. It’s what I drink when I want hot tea. I just love the flavor of it. You can think of it as an herbal spiced chai but it has a particular robustness and almost mocha-like undertone due to roasted chicory and carob. Chicory has long been used as a coffee substitute, or as an addition to coffee, while carob, from which we get locust bean gum (carob gum) is widely known as a chocolate substitute, even though it has a value all its own. This combine with vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and nutmeg give a unique flavor that I just love. I could do without the black pepper as I do not think the slight hint of heat is necessary, but I’m not really complaining. It’s just as likely I’d miss the pungency that the black pepper brings to the brew. Just writing this paragraph about it caused crave it so I had to make a cup to drink while I work.
Nighty Night Tea versus Sleepytime Tea
But this post is supposed to be about another tea, Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night Tea. I could do with a less infantile name.
Just kidding. What are they supposed to call it? Knock You Over the Head tea? Anyway, this herbal tea is meant to help you relax and fall asleep. If you have tried Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea, then you may find this product to be more effective simply because, frankly, it contains more effective ingredients including passionflower, chamomile, hops, and catnip. Keep in mind that the evidence as to the effectiveness of any of these is mixed, but such evidence exists, and I’d have to say that chamomile is overrated as a general relaxant or sedative, and probably has more value as a topical and digestive relief.
As for the taste, I’ll admit that Sleepytime tastes a bit better, but then again, I get the impression that Celestial Seasonings thinks about taste as much as effectiveness.
The actual ingredients in Nighty Night tea are passionflower, chamomile, linden flower (called tilia flour in Sleepytime tea), catnip, hop strobile (fruit of hops plant), and a ‘proprietary blend’ of spearmint, lemon verbena, lemon peel, and West Indian lemongrass leaf.
Catnip, you say?
Yes, catnip! Catnip is most definitely not just for cats. This member of the mint family is one of the safest herbs around, suitable even for very young children. But, although it is stimulating for your cat, it is relaxing to humans. It is especially good for any kind of gastrointestinal upset, especially cramping and bloating. It helps relax the GI tract while exerting a gentle anti-anxiety effect. Like many herbs, it’s no miracle cure-all, it works for certain things. It works so well, and is so safe, in fact, that, when my son was a baby, I brewed a catnip and fennel tea for his colic, to give to him with a dropper. This was such an effective treatment that he would calm down as soon as he saw the dropper.
Traditional Medicinals is one of the few herbal tea companies that has caught on to this relaxing herb for humans. And yes, you buy catnip leaf in bulk for making teas, like this Wild Foods Dried Catnip Leaf or, for convenience, in tea bags such as Celebration Herbals Catnip Tea. Do not use pet store catnip for making tea. Instead, buy catnip suitable for human use and use it for yourself and your cat. Be cautious with catnip during pregnancy, as it may have a uterine stimulating effect.
They also have a Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night Valerian Tea. Valerian is a popular herb for treating anxiety but unless you enjoy the smell of stinky feet from a tea, I’d avoid it. As well, valerian is not very effective when used on an as-needed basis. It needs to be taken every day for a period of time before you will begin to have any benefit. It is, therefore, more convenient in a capsule form. Also be aware that some people will find that valerian has the opposite effect intended, and will keep them up as if they consumed too much caffeine before bed.
Is Nighty Night Tea Safe?
Here, I will dispense with examining the evidence of the effectiveness of any one ingredient, and go with a personal recommendation, based on one criterion: The ingredients are safe, or, at least, there is no evidence of harm from long-term use, as of this time. In my experience, this tea is more effective than Celestial Seasonings, which is probably the more popular tea, based on its availability at many large supermarkets.
Using Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night Tea Properly
One note on the use of Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night tea. Just having a cup right at bedtime while you do your nightly reading is probably not going to be of much benefit. You need more than one cup of any of these types of teas. So, you have to plan ahead and have one or two cups around a half hour before bed (or one big cup, two tea bags), and then another one as you are winding down and having your Netflix and chill time. These aren’t knock out pills in a cup. They are meant to help you relax and to fall asleep, don’t expect them to sedate you outright. And as with any herbals, your personal mileage may vary. Some people may notice no effect, and others, although rarely, may notice the opposite effect intended. A couple of other Traditional Medicinals teas I keep on hand:
- Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea, containing slippery elm and other ingredients which coat and soothe the throat.
- Traditional Medicinals Belly Comfort Tea, which is self-explanatory and is also suitable as a relaxing bed-time type tea.