What are Sedatives?
Sedatives, also known as tranquilizers, slow down the brain's activity to make the person feel relaxed. They depress the CNS activity, thereby reducing irritability and excitability. There are copious sedatives on this Earth and they all follow their respective mechanism of action, but most of them increase the GABA neurotransmitter activity to induce relaxation.
One of the earliest documentation of a sedative potion is mafeisan, created by Chinese surgeon Hua Tuo in the 2nd century. The true recipe of the potion is lost but it is believed to have contained cannabis or monkshood. In the Middle Ages, an alcohol-based English soporific drink was available, consisting of bile, opium, vinegar, lettuce, hemlock, and henbane. By the time the 15th century arrived, a mixture of opium, henbane, and mandragora was held as the anesthesia of choice before conducting a surgery. It possessed the properties of both sedatives and hypnotics that induced both calm and heavy sleep to carry out the surgery smoothly.
Oftentimes, the word sedative is used in conjunction with hypnotic, but there is a slight difference between them. Sedatives relieve anxiety and establish a stable state of calmness without drowsiness, whereas hypnotics are solely prescribed to encourage sleep.
What are the herbal benefits of sedatives?
Sedatives are used to relieve:
- Anxiety and disorders related to it
- Anxiety before any surgical procedure
- Muscular pain and spasms
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder