What is Valerian?
Valerian, a perennial native plant to North America, Europe, and Asia, contains a root stock which harbors many active compounds that herbalists believe give this plant an amazing medicinal value. Valerian’s effects can be both positive and negative, however, so we’ll talk about both the health benefits of Valerian and possible side-effects of Valerian in this article.
First and foremost, Valerian’s root stock has been shown to help fight insomnia in several cases. Promoting sleep, many people use this supplement to help rest easier at night. Valerian is not an addictive substance, and doesn’t lead to the usually groggy "Sleep Hangover" that some people feel when they take sleep aids.
For this reason, its use is widely accepted. Another of the health benefits of Valerian root would be its ability to put the user in a calm and relaxed state, helping to alleviate the effects of stress and anxiety. Valerian has also been used for such tasks as alleviating headaches, relieving pain, improving menstrual flow and cramps, and also for helping irritable bowel syndrome.
Valerian root is available in capsules, tablets, tinctures, and liquid extracts. The effective dosage varies depending on how the supplement is prepared.
Total daily intake should be no more than 15 grams of plant material, which is usually about 15 to 20 drops of tincture taken several times a day or 450 to 500 mg of concentrated, standardized extract. Standardized extracts should contain between .5 % and 1% volatile oils. Valerian root can also be prepared as a tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of the dried root in a cup of hot water for ten minutes.
Time-release formulas of Valerian root are useful for maintaining a feeling of relaxation throughout the day. They can also be taken an hour or so before bedtime to help induce sleep.
Double blind studies have shown that Valerian root can decrease the amount of time it takes for people with mild insomnia to fall asleep. Valerian root is also used to treat anxiety disorders and counteract stress. It has a sedative effect that helps to relax the central nervous system and provide a feeling of calmness.
In addition to its use as a tranquilizer and sleep aid, many herbalists also recommend Valerian root as a remedy for tension headaches and muscular pain because of its ability to act as a muscle relaxant.
The side effects of Valerian root are worth considering. Possible side effects from taking overly high amounts of Valerian can include nausea, headaches, dizziness, grogginess, and palpitations of the heart. Very high dosages may also impair the liver and the central nervous system. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid Valerian since its effects on newborns have not been tested. Also, taking Valerian for stretches of longer than 2 weeks is not recommended.
Now that you know more about Valerian root, you can make a more informed decision about whether the health benefits of Valerian outweigh the possible risks of taking it.
The substances that are in Valerian include alkaloids, volatile oils (including borneol and isovalerianic), and inridoids. Valerian is used for many different ailments, including as an expectorant, tranquilizer, diuretic, lowering blood pressure, antispasmodic, carminative, and as a mild anodyne.
The root is the commonly used part of the plant in the making of a herbal remedy. It is normally used for relieving nervous tension. It is also known for treating insomnia, anxiety, and strengthening the heart. It is sometimes used for treating ulcers and wounds as well. This herb is normally harvested in fall.
Nature's Way's Valerian
Solaray's Organic Valerian Root