Are you one of the many people suffering from insomnia? Are you annoyed and frustrated of not obtaining a good night’s sleep?
If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, you’re on the right page at the right time. Follow this article through to find out the solution to your problems.
There is but one wondrous herb that’s been used as a remedy for relieving anxiety, nervous restlessness and insomnia since the 2nd century A.D.
Valerian root is the name of the powerful herbal sleep assistant. The plant is highly rated and respected amongst physicians for its anti-anxiety properties and sedative effects.
You’ve probably already had valerian root previously without realizing it. It’s often a persisting ingredient of tea blends that promote sleep.
Not only does valerian root help an uninterrupted sleep at night, but it also has the ability to lower the blood pressure and ease anxiety the all-natural way.
Further, the herb offers a vast variety of health benefits, but we’re only going to talk about the ones that concern us.
5 Amazing Benefits of Valerian Root
1. Enhances Your Sleep Naturally
If you can’t fall asleep, this herb is just what you’re looking for. Studies reveal that valerian root decreases the necessary time to fall asleep and enhances the quality of the sleep itself.
Unlike most of the prescription pills for sleeping, valerian root is less likely to prompt morning drowsiness and has fewer side effects in general.
The Swedish Health Center of Foellinge performed a double-blind study analyzing the effects of valerian root on patients with poor sleep.
The results report 44% of the patients to have had a perfect night sleep, while 89% of all patients report a significant overall improvement when they take valerian root. Additionally, no side effects were noticed during the observation of this group.
Valerian root is frequently integrated with other sedative herbs, such as lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis) and hops (Humulus lupulus) to treat insomnia.
Phytomedicine published a study including children with minor sleep issues. The results show that 81% of the children who took an amalgam of valerian root and lemon balm slept much better than children who took a placebo.
What is the reason behind the valerian’s root ability to enhance the sleep so well?
Valerian extract increases the GABA (an inhibitory transmitter that causes sedative effects in large enough quantities) levels in your brain, thus causing a sedative sensation.
Results from one in vitro study indicate that valerian root might have the ability to release GABA from the nerve endings in the brain and then obstructs its way back into the nerve cells.
In addition, another way to boost your GABA levels and enhance your sleep is the valerenic acid inside a valerian root which inhibits an enzyme responsible for GABA destruction.
2. Soothes Anxiety
Scientists discovered that the valerian root increases the GABA levels. The valerianol and valerenic acid inside the valerian extract act as supreme anti-anxiety agents.
GABA is a chemical or gamma-aminobutyric acid inside the brain, to be more precise, responsible for nerve cells regulation thus soothing anxiety.
Drugs such as Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) can also increase the GABA levels in the brain, similar to valerian root.
It’s pretty impressive for a herbal remedy to have the same anti-anxiety properties of the psychotropic drugs but only without all the severe side effects.
3. Lowers the Blood Pressure
Valerian root not only soothes our mind and body but also improves our overall well-being by reducing blood pressure. We can hold the same active ingredients for anxiety and stress management responsible for proper regulation of the blood pressure.
High blood pressure increases the risks of strokes and heart attacks, thus avoiding it is the only reasonable solution. Supplements of valerian root can effectively regulate a healthy blood sugar level which is crucial for our overall wellbeing.
4. Soothes Menstrual Cramps
The relaxing and medicinal nature of valerian root make it an excellent choice to naturally alleviate the discomfort and reduce the severity of the menstrual cramps.
Valerian root is a natural muscle relaxer due to its antispasmodic and sedative properties which subdue the muscle spasms.
It soothes the acute uterine muscle contractions that women endure during menstruation in an efficient manner, according to an Iran study from the Islamic Azad University.
5. Stress Management Therapist
Valerian root is a remarkable tool that helps with daily stress management by decreasing anxiety and enhancing the quality and length of sleep.
While anxiety is stressing you out, chronic stress triggers the anxious feelings. To achieve the ideal state of relaxation in both mind and body, we need to boost the GABA levels.
Since relaxation is the unique antithesis of stress, valerian root is a fantastic way to keep the stress levels down and the quality of life up in a natural way.
According to a study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, valerian root is the perfect natural remedy to subdue both psychological and physical stress.
Valerian Root Origins and Chemical Properties
Valerian root is an extract from Valeriana officinalis, which is a perennial flowering plant that belongs to the Valerianaceae family.
The plant has a rather sweet scent, and its flowers that only bloom in the summer come in white and pink color. The valerian roots are native to Europe and some parts of Asia, but now also grows in North America.
Valerian root consists of valepotriates (short-chain fatty acid esters), volatile oils (including valerenic acid) and some less volatile sesquiterpenes.
These active elements are most likely responsible for the plant’s ability to create the healing and relaxing effects on the central nervous system in our body. The name of the plant comes from the Latin verb ‘valere’ which means ‘to be healthy, strong.’
The utilization of the herb goes way back to Ancient Romans and Greeks. Hippocrates gave a rundown of the plant’s properties, later to become a prescription remedy for insomnia thanks to Galen.
The Swedish in the medieval ages used the valerian root as an accessory to the groom’s wedding clothes to keep the ‘envy’ of the Elves at bay.
Ways to Use Valerian Root
In the U.S. valerian root is classified and generally identified as safe, and can be acquired either at any domestic health food market or online.
The remedies come in a variety of forms. Including capsules of dry powder extract, essential oils, as a supplement to food, or as liquid/tincture extracts and tea.
Fair warning: the herb smells rather dreadful, but luckily the taste isn’t as heinous as the smell. It can take up to several weeks before you start to feel the positive effects of the supplement.
Reportedly, 2-3 weeks of constant utilization is ideal if you want to reap the most benefits of the herb. If you suffer from insomnia, take the remedy 3 times a day with the last dose no longer than 2 hours before bedtime.
The recommendations of valerian root dosage for insomnia depend on the state of matter, and slightly vary accordingly:
- Dry powdered extract: 250-600mg
- Fluid extract: 1-2ml (½ to 1tsp)
- Tincture: 4-6ml (1 to 1½tsp)
- Tea: 2-3gr of dried root (1 teaspoonful) in 1 cup of boiling water, let it steep for 5-10min
For anxiety, you can take 120-200mg, 3-4 times a day. Once you improve your sleep, you need to keep taking the remedy for another 2-6 weeks for ultimate results.
Caution for Potential Side Effects of Valerian Root
Although the herb is generally considered as safe, some side effects can occur, including dizziness, headaches or stomach problems. Sometimes it can even prompt reverse reactions and instead of feeling calm and sleepy – you’d feel restless and anxious.
Most studies exhibit no dangerous effects of valerian root on fetal development or fertility. However, more studies are due to happen to confirm the previous claims.
Seek advice from your doctor before giving valerian root to your children or if you’re nursing or pregnant. Most people agree with the general opinion that Valerian root doesn’t prompt any type of dependency whatsoever.
Most people also claim that it doesn’t prompt withdrawal symptoms. However, there are but a few conflicting reports where valerian was actually the root of the withdrawal symptoms.
If you are to stop taking valerian root after a longer period of time, it’s safer if you lower the dosage gradually rather than stopping at an instant.
Since valerian makes you feel sleepy, avoid taking it before doing any alert-requiring activities like operating heavy machinery or driving. If you’re undergoing any kind of liver disease, avoid taking valerian root at all costs.
It’s not recommended to combine the valerian root (due to its’ optimization effects) with any of the following:
Valerian root can also impede some prescription medications and may block or alter the effects of different natural supplements like kava, melatonin, and St. John’s wort.
Consult your doctor prior to implementing valerian root into your daily diet, or if you have any chronic disease to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your current supplements or medications.
Poor sleep is one of the most common health problems worldwide. And valerian root is the safest natural way to help you deal with it.
With rare and minor side-effects, it easily beats the prescription sleeping pills due to the overall benefits it provides for our health.
On the other hand, prescription sleeping pills often leave you feeling dizzy when you wake up in the morning. Not to mention all the other severe and frightening risks they carry around like an accessory.
Valerian root has a perfect harmony with your body’s chemistry and will help you get your good night sleep back on track in no time.
In addition, the natural sedative abilities of the herb provide relief for many different common health ailments like:
- High blood pressure
- Menstrual cramps
- Mental breakdown
In a word, there is no better remedy for treating insomnia and all of the above conditions than valerian root.
Keep in mind that it could take up to 2 weeks before you feel the results. However, they could appear as early as after the first dose!
If you or anyone you know suffers from insomnia or anxiety, do share this post with them. And let us know what you think in the comment section below!