Can you suggest alternative herbal medicines to replace antidepressants?

Q. What are the best alternatives for insomnia other than using antidepressants?

Answered by
Dr. Vishvendra Singh
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 13, 2023

Hello doctor,

Can you suggest an alternative herbal medicine to Mirtazapine and Alprazolam for better sleep? Eventually, I would like to move away from using prescription anti-depressants. Instead, I want to use some sort of natural remedy or natural herbal ingredients over the long term. Unfortunately, I have problems falling asleep and waking up at least every 30 to 60 minutes. This happens daily and worsens if I do not take my medication.

I purchased Chamomile tea, which has a small positive effect when I drink it at night. I also purchased the following herbal tablets online, but I have yet to take them because I need to know the risks.

  1. Valerian Root, 2000 mg.
  2. Lemon Balm Extract, 1500 mg.
  3. 5-Hydroxytryptophan: 5-HTP High Strength, 100 mg natural Griffonia extract.

1. Is it safe to take these herbal tablets while taking Mirtazapine or Alprazolam?

2. Is it safe to mix or combine these herbal tablets? For example, take 1 cup of Chamomile tea and 1 Valerian Root 2000 mg, 1 Lemon Balm Extract 1500 mg at night, and no other tablets.

3. Are there other herbal tablets you recommend to help improve my sleep?

I also eat a lot of sweeteners every day. I alternate between Aspartame and Sucralose. But many low-calorie products I eat, like low-fat yogurt and chewing gum, contain another sweetener called Acesulfame potassium. I saw some online research articles which say that sweeteners like these three can cause bad sleep.

However, I have been eating artificially sweetened food all my life. I replaced all my sugar with artificial sweeteners. During this time, I lost weight, became much healthier, and improved my teeth and gum health by a huge amount. But my sleep problems started around a few years back. So I cannot see the connection between sweeteners and bad sleep. Is it true that artificial sweeteners affect sleep or cause insomnia somehow? Do I need to reduce the amount of artificial sweetener daily?


Hello, Welcome to

Pills cannot completely cure sleeplessness, depression, or anxiety, but they can become a habit and become less effective when taken continuously. Suppressed anger, resentment, or bitterness can cause this issue. Constipation, dyspepsia, overeating at night, excessive intake of tea or coffee, and going to bed hungry are other common causes, so you have to avoid these things. You should follow a regular sleeping schedule. Research has shown that people with chronic insomnia almost invariably mark deficiencies of such key nutrients as vitamins, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc. So, a balanced diet will help you in the treatment and cure. So you should include or exclude the following things from your diet:

1. Exclude - white flour products, aerated drinks, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, fatty foods, fried foods, foods containing chemicals for preserving, coloring and flavoring, excessive use of salt, and strong condiments.

2. Include - In breakfast (fresh and dried fruits, whole cereals, seeds, and yogurt). One of the two main meals should consist of a large mixed salad, and the other should be protein-based. A cup of milk sweetened with honey at bedtime is helpful as the amino-acid tryptophan in milk induces sleep.

3. You should avoid forcing yourself to sleep. It only drives it further away. Instead, it is better to divert your mind with soft music and light reading.

4. Avoid smoking.

5. Do regular exercises like walking, jogging, skipping, and swimming that stimulate the elimination of lactic acid from the body, which correlates with stress and muscular tension and produces hormonal changes which are beneficial to the body and the sleep pattern.

6. Hydrotherapy is also effective in that insomnia-like application of hot packs on the spine before retiring, hot fomentation to the spine, hot foot bath, or an alternate hot and cold foot bath at bedtime are all time-tested methods.

I hope this helps.

Thank you.

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