If you suffer from insomnia, you will be very happy to find out that there is an incredibly effective and natural way to ease this condition, as well as treat anxiety and nervous restlessness!
The Most Important Benefits Of This Herb:
This herb minimizes the time needed to fall asleep. Unlike many prescription sleeping pills, it causes fewer side effects.
To treat insomnia, Valerian root is combined with other sedating herbs, like hops (Humulus lupulus)and lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis).
Valerian root increases the brain’s GABA levels thanks to its sedative properties. GABA( gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and it serves as a sedative.
The valerenic acid and valerenol in this herb are potent anti-anxiety agents. This herb has the same effects as prescription drugs but it doesn’t have any serious side effects.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Due to its calming effects on the body and mind, it also lowers the blood pressure. High blood pressure raises the risk of stroke and a heart attack. However, Valerian root naturally reduces it and thus supports heart health.
This herb effectively suppresses both physical and psychological stress.
Relieves Menstrual Cramps
The relaxing qualities of the Valerian root also relieve menstrual cramps. Its natural sedative and antispasmodic properties soothe muscle spasms and relax the muscles.
It also calms the uterine muscle contractions which are the main cause for the pain during menstruation.
Valerian Root vs. Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone created in the pineal gland and is linked to the sleep-wake cycle of the body. When the sun sets and darkness occurs, this gland is stimulated by the SCN and begins producing this hormone, which is then released into the blood.
When the levels of melatonin in the blood increase the person starts feeling sleepy. The levels of this hormone remain high for about 12 hours.
During the day, the levels of melatonin are barely detectable. If there is some kind of dis balance in the levels of melatonin during the night, insomnia appears.
The Valerian root, is a sedative herb and it is extremely useful in the treatment of insomnia. The increased GABA levels reduce brain activity, leading to sleep.
Origin And Chemical Properties Of The Valerian Root
This herb is derived from valerian (Valeriana officinalis), a perennial flowering plant from the Valerianaceae family. It is native to Europe and parts of Asia, but it grows in North America too. It has white or pink flowers with a pleasant smell, and they bloom in the summer.
Its name comes from the personal name “Valeria” and the Latin verb “valere” (to be strong, healthy).
Hippocrates spoke about its helpful properties, and Galen later prescribed it as an insomnia remedy. In medieval Sweden, it was believed to be able to ward off the “envy” of the elves, so people put it in the wedding clothes of the groom.
The Valerian root contains numerous beneficial active constituents, including volatile oils, like valerenic acids, less volatile sesquiterpenes and valepotriates (esters of short-chain fatty acids). These provide a calming and restorative effect on the central nervous system.
It is classified and generally recognized as safe and you can buy it in various forms. It comes as tea, tincture, fluid extract, or dry powdered extract.
Most effects are noticed after a regular use of two weeks.
How To Use The Valerian Root
To treat insomnia, take it one to two hours before going to bed or up to three times per day. These are the recommended dosages for insomnia:
- Tincture (1:5): 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon (4 to 6 mL)
- Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoonful (2 to 3 grams) of dried root, steep 5 to 10 minutes.
- Fluid extract (1:1): 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (1 to 2 mL)
- Dry powdered extract (4:1): 250 to 600 milligrams
Continue taking it for 2-6 weeks more even if your sleep has improved. In the case of anxiety, take 120 to 200 milligrams of Valerian root 3-4 times per day.
Possible Side Effects & Caution
It is generally regarded as safe, but there are rare cases when it can cause headaches, dizziness or stomach problems. Sometimes, instead of feeling relaxed you can feel anxious and restless.
Numerous studies have shown that it causes no harmful effects on fertility or fetal development, but more research is needed. Yet, avoid it if you are pregnant or consult your doctor if you want to give it to your children.
It generally does not cause dependency or any withdrawal symptoms. Yet, some people report withdrawal symptoms after using it for a long period of time. Therefore, make sure you gradually lower the dose.
Avoid taking Valerian root before driving, operating heavy machinery or doing any activities, as it might reduce your alertness. Moreover, it should not be taken in case of liver disease.
You should not combine it with other sleep aids, depressants, alcohol or narcotics.
It might also interact with or increase the effects of other natural supplements such as kava, St. John’s wort, and melatonin.
Nevertheless, this herb is definitely one of the best natural sleep aids you can use. With minor and rare side effects, it is much better than prescription sleep aids.
Therefore, we highly recommend it if you suffer from insomnia or any of the conditions listed above. Be patient and wait for two weeks for the initial results.