Did you know that there is a herb that has been used since ancient times to ease insomnia, anxiety and nervous restlessness? This natural herb is called Valerian root.
Valerian root is especially respected and used by numerous people and physicians for its natural sedative effects and anti-anxiety properties.
Today, valerian root is commonly included in sleep-promoting tea blends, but it doesn’t just offer a solid night’s sleep, it is also amazing at reducing anxiety and even can reduce high blood pressure.
5 Valerian root benefits
Naturally aids sleep
According to studies, Valerian root reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep. So, if you can’t sleep, Valerian may be just what you’re looking for. What’s more, Valerian has fewer side effects and is a lot less likely to result in morning drowsiness.
In one study performed by Foellinge Health Center in Sweden, 44 percent of participants reported perfect sleep while 89 percent reported improved sleep when taking Valerian root. Additionally, no side effects were observed in participants.
Valerian root can cause sedation because it increases the levels of GABA in your brain, which in large quantities cause sedative effects.
Moreover, valerenic acid present in Valerian root inhibits an enzyme that destroys GABA, which is another way that valerian can improve your GABA levels and promote a great night’s rest.
Because Valerian increases the amount of GABA in the brain, it regulates nerve cells and calms anxiety. Drugs such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) also work by increasing the amount of GABA in the brain. The valerenic acid and valerenol contained in Valerian root extract act as anti-anxiety agents.
Lowers blood pressure
The same active components that make Valerian root so effective for stress and anxiety management can also help the body properly regulate its blood pressure.
It is very important to avoid high blood pressure since it increases your chances of stroke and heart attack. Valerian root supplements can help naturally lower blood pressure and keep it at a normal level, which has a direct positive impact on your heart health.
Eases menstrual cramps
Because of its relaxing nature, Valerian can be used as a natural relief of menstrual cramps. It can reduce the severity and discomfort of menstrual cramps, which is a common problem for women who suffer monthly from PMS.
Valerian is a natural sedative and antispasmodic, which means it can suppress muscle spasms and acts as a natural muscle relaxer. Moreover, Valerian can effectively calm the severe uterine muscle contractions that cause the terrible pain many women experience during menstruation.
Improve stress management
By reducing anxiety and improving the length and quality of sleep, Valerian root can significantly help with daily stress management. Chronic stress can make you feel anxious, but anxiety can also make you feel more stressed out.
By increasing GABA levels, Valerian makes it easier for both the mind and body to relax. Since relaxation is the opposite of stress, Valerian root is an excellent natural way to help keep your stress down and your quality of life up.
How to use Valerian root
Valerian root can be purchased as a supplement in a variety of forms online or at your local health food store. It’s sold as a dry powdered extract in capsule form, a tea, tincture or fluid extract.
Valerian is the most effective after you take it regularly for two or more weeks. It may take a few weeks before the effects of valerian root supplementation are felt.
For insomnia, you should take it one to two hours before bed or up to three times in the course of the day, with the last dose near bedtime.
Recommendations can vary slightly, but for insomnia, it can be taken in the following forms at these recommended dosages:
- Tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoonful (2 to 3 grams) of dried root, steep 5 to 10 minutes.
- Tincture (1:5): 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon (4 to 6 mL)
- Fluid extract (1:1): 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (1 to 2 mL)
- Dry powdered extract (4:1): 250 to 600 milligrams
Once sleep improves, it’s recommended that you keep taking valerian for two to six weeks. For anxiety, try 120 to 200 milligrams, three to four times per day.