The frequency of sleep disorders has increased in recent years with one in three French people reporting suffering from insomnia. In this context, natural approaches are increasingly sought after as alternatives to sleeping pills. A booming branch of herbal medicine, gemmotherapy will be particularly interesting to use in cases of chronic insomnia. Through their regulatory and global action, several bud macerates such as Linden, Fig or Hawthorn are in fact recommended to improve falling asleep and the quality of sleep, while acting on certain frequent digestive or cardiac manifestations. when insomnia is the consequence of stress or anxiety.

This article was updated on 04/12/2023

Why use bud macerates in case of sleep disorders?

Given their global and regulatory action, bud macerates will especially be useful in case of chronic insomnia or predictable insomnia (exam period or upcoming stressful events, etc.). The mechanisms of insomnia being complex, the versatility of bud macerates will be an additional asset to act synergistically at these different levels:

  • On the central nervous system with a mild sedative effect which will help improve falling asleep and the quality of sleep;
  • On the peripheral nervous system in all situations where stress and anxiety are suspected of being the main causes of insomnia;
  • On the digestive system, given the frequent association of sleep disorders with digestive disorders;
  • On the cardiovascular system when stress and anxiety are accompanied by heart rhythm disturbances, peaks of hyper or hypotension.

Among the bud macerates indicated for sleep disorders, we find plants already widely used in herbal medicine such as Linden or Hawthorn, but also “newcomers” such as Fig. These bud macerates have the advantage of being particularly flexible to use. Due to the presence of alcohol, although the quantity ingested is very small, they are nevertheless not recommended before the age of 3 and in pregnant women. It will also be necessary to take into account the recommended dosages for breastfeeding women and young children.

Which bud macerates should you choose to sleep better?

For sleep problems and insomnia, Linden may be sufficient alone. However, in situations of anxiety or stress, it is often interesting to combine it with other buds such as Fig, particularly when the signs appear on the digestive level. If the symptoms are more of a cardiac nature, we will prefer to add Hawthorn bud macerate.

Linden, the reference bud macerate

In gemmotherapy, linden bud macerate is considered the first reflex in case of sleep problems. This macerate is in fact recommended for its sedative, anxiolytic and mildly hypnotic properties. It will be used both to improve falling asleep, the duration or the quality of sleep.

At the cardiac level, it is certainly less specific than Hawthorn, but its calming activity is already interesting if it concerns palpitations of nervous origin. Some authors also mention its benefit in the case of digestive disorders or restless legs syndrome. So many problems that can be associated with sleep disorders.

It's this versatility that makes it the first-line bud to promote calming at bedtime. It is flexible to use like most bud macerates. You will just have to be careful with sensitive people. In case of overdose, it can cause the opposite effect (excitement and insomnia). It is then recommended to reduce the number of drops.

The Fig Tree, in cases of stress and digestive disorders

Alone or in association with Linden, fig bud macerate east the other essential macerate in case of insomnia. Its action being more regulatory than sedative, it will mainly contribute to improving the quality of sleep.

The Fig Tree is particularly indicated when sleep disorders are associated with digestive disorders, which is often the case, when there is stress and/or anxiety. THE current knowledge on the links that exist between our two brains (central nervous system and digestive system) allow us to better understand its action and its interest in this area

Hawthorn, against nocturnal palpitations

In cases of stress and anxiety, sleep can also be disrupted by cardiac manifestations such as palpitations or high blood pressure spikes. Hawthorn bud macerate will then be indicated. In herbal medicine as in gemmotherapy, it is in fact “the plant of the heart” but also nervous states.

Bud macerate has the advantage of combining the action of the flower and that of the fruit, both on the cardiovascular systems (regulation of blood pressure and heart rate) and nervous systems (regulation of anxiety, improvement some sleep…). For sleep problems and insomnia, it is rarement proposed alone, but rather in association with Linden and/or Fig for a more complete synergistic action. As a precaution, it is generally advisable to seek medical advice before using this macerate in cases of hypothyroidism.

How to use them?

Bud macerates are taken orally, pure or diluted in a glass of water, outside of meals for optimal results. In case of sleep problems, it is recommended to start with a 3-week treatment followed by a one-week break. The cures can then be repeated for several months, always at the rate of 3 weeks of intake and a week of break.

Depending on the results obtained, it is then possible to consider a maintenance treatment with the following rhythms to choose from:

  • 10 days per month
  • or 3 days a week

At what dosage?

Adults and adolescents
Take 5 to 15 drops per day in a glass of water (or pure), 15 minutes before a meal, for 3 weeks. Start with 5 drops and increase gradually:
  • or one drop per day up to 15
  • i.e. 5 drops the first week, 10 the second and 15 the last
Children over 3 years old

Limit yourself to 1 drop per day per 10 kilos, starting with one drop and gradually increasing the dose. Example: a 9 year old child weighing 40 kilos can ingest up to 4 drops.

Breastfeeding women

Limit yourself to 5 drops maximum per day, on medical advice only given the presence of alcohol in the macerates.

How to take several buds together?

For sleep problems and insomnia, Linden can be sufficient alone, but taking into account the complementary action of Fig and Hawthorn, it is often their association in 2 or 3 which will allow for the most complete action. It is in fact possible to use up to 3 different bud macerates at the same time.

It is then advisable to take them away from each other, that is to say 1 macerate before each meal, or with a minimum of 2 hours between each dose ideally. Another possibility is to divide the daily dose of each macerate at different times of the day.

For example, if you take lime, fig and hawthorn bud macerates, it is possible:

  • to take 15 drops of Fig Tree in the morning, 15 drops of Hawthorn at noon and 15 drops of Linden in the evening.
  • or take 8 drops of each in the morning and 7 drops of each in the evening.

Bud macerates to avoid in the evening

Certain bud macerates like those of Blackcurrant, Oak or Rosemary are known for their stimulating effect on the adrenals and the production of natural cortisone. It is because of this cortisone-like effect that they are particularly recommended against fatigue, but that they can also be exciting. To avoid disturbing sleep, it is therefore recommended to ppreferably in the morning.

Among the macerates to avoid in the evening, we also find giant Sequoia macerate. Its mechanism of action is not specifically cortisone-like, but it is also a nerve and endocrine stimulant.

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About these tips

This aromatherapy article was written by Théophane de la Charie, author of the book “Treat yourself with essential oils”, accompanied by a multidisciplinary team made up of pharmacists, biochemists and agronomists. 

La Compagnie des Sens and its teams do not encourage self-medication. The information and advice provided comes from a reference bibliographic database (books, scientific publications, etc.). They are given for information purposes, or to suggest avenues for reflection: they should in no case replace a diagnosis, consultation or medical follow-up, and cannot engage the liability of the Compagnie des Sens.