What are the Potential Health Benefits of Valerian?
- Improves sleep
- Relieves stress
- Soothes anxiety
- Cures menstrual cramps
- Helps with depression
- Good for cardiovascular health
Valerian is known to have a number of health benefits. It is a herb used to treat anxiety and get a good sleep. Now, let us find out more about its effectiveness.
If you are having a hard time sleeping, then valerian or valerian root is maybe what you need. It is considered a natural sleep aid.
Unlike commonly prescribed sleep medicines, valerian does not have many side effects. It is not likely that you will experience morning drowsiness.
A study was done by the Foellinge Health Center. It observed how valerian affected poor sleep. The result showed that 89% of the participants reported enhanced sleep when using valerian. 44% even reported having perfect sleep. (1)
Valerian can help you sleep because of its linarin content. This chemical creates a sedative effect. Moreover, valerian root is mixed with other sedative herbs to treat insomnia. Some of these herbs are lemon balm and hops.
A study on children with sleeping difficulties was published in Phytomedicine. 81% of the participants who took combined lemon balm and valerian were able to sleep better. The result was greater than the group who took a placebo. (1)
In case you are struggling with stress management, valerian may help you as well. This happens as this herb can improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.
Valerian can help increase the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brain. As a result, it becomes easier for the body and mind to relax.
Furthermore, valerian can repress psychological and physical stress by maintaining serotonin levels. This is supported by a study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (1)
As mentioned, valerian root can calm anxiety too.
Research found that valerian can increase the amount of GABA through its receptors. GABA is known to aid in calming anxiety and regulating nerve cells. (1)
Meanwhile, valerian root extract contains valerenol, valerenic acid, and valeric acid. They function as anti-anxiety agents.
In addition, valerian can ease menstrual cramps, which is one symptom of PMS. The soothing nature of this herb makes it a good natural remedy for menstrual cramps.
How does valerian work? It is due to its antispasmodic and natural sedative properties. It means it can function as a muscle relaxer, thus suppressing muscle spasms.
A study was conducted by the Islamic Azad University. It showed that valerian can soothe severe uterine muscle contractions in women with menstruation. (1)
Moreover, valerian can be helpful for curing depression. This is due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
One study was done in ovalbumin sensitised rats with depression. It revealed that the hydroalcoholic extract of valerian had an impact on the condition. Furthermore, the study supported that valerian can be beneficial for the nervous system. (1)
In addition, valerian root may support heart health.
This herb has several biological activities that can benefit the cardiovascular system. Some of these are decreasing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and regularising blood lipid levels. (1)
Valerian is a promising natural remedy for various conditions. However, we need to wait for more studies to confirm that they can be alternative medications for our health concerns.
What is Valerian?
Valerian is a perennial plant characterised by fragrant white or pink flowers. It is scientifically known as Valeriana officinalis and belongs to the Valerianaceae family.
This plant is native to different parts of Asia and Europe. Now, it is also cultivated in North America.
This herb has been a traditional medicinal herb for thousands of years. It was even used in ancient Rome and Greece. It was prescribed by Galen as an insomnia remedy.
How Does Valerian Work?
Valerian root’s effectiveness is attributed to its nutritional content. It contains volatile oils, like valerenic acids and valepotriates. These are responsible for the relaxing effect of the herb on the central nervous system.
Moreover, valerian contains linarin. This chemical has a sedative effect, and it is responsible for stimulating sleep.
Valerian extract can increase the GABA levels in the brain. It results in sedation.
How Do I Take Valerian?
You can find valerian supplements in the local health shop or online. It is found in different forms, like extract, tincture, tea, or capsule. There are also valerian essential oils available.
Valerian supplementation is most effective if taken regularly for at least two weeks. Usually, it may take some weeks before the effects will be experienced.
If you are struggling with insomnia, take valerian 1-2 hours before sleep. You can take it up to three times per day.
Valerian dosages may vary depending on the condition. Thus, it is necessary to ask your doctor about it. Also, see to it that you only use supplements from trusted brands. You should also follow the guidelines carefully.
Can I Take Valerian Along with Vitamins and Medicines?
Valerian may have fewer side effects than other supplements, but it can interact with other drugs.
Please be advised that valerian can interact with alcohol. Taking this supplement with alcohol may result in too much sleepiness.
Valerian can interact with sedative medications too. Some of these are CNS depressants and Benzodiazepines.
Be careful in taking valerian with alprazolam and drugs changed by the liver. The supplement may disrupt how the liver breaks down the medications.
To find out if it is safe for you to supplement with valerian, talk to your physician.
Is Valerian Safe?
Normally, valerian is safe for adults when taken orally on a short-term basis. However, you should avoid taking it beyond 28 days, since the long-term usage effect is unknown.
There are known side effects of valerian usage. Some are stomach upset, headaches, uneasiness, excitability, mental dullness, and heart disturbances. It may even cause insomnia in some users.
There is limited information regarding how safe valerian is for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. Therefore, it is best if avoided.
Valerian may be safe for children when taken orally within 4 to 8 weeks.
This supplement can slow down the central nervous system. To prevent complications, stop valerian consumption two weeks before surgery.
How Will Valerian Benefit Me?
Valerian can be good for you if you are struggling with anxiety, insomnia, depression, or PMS. It can also help you keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
If you need the best valerian supplement for you, learn more about our products.