A healthy body and mind are both reliant on getting adequate sleep each night.
Adequate rest helps the body to restore and prepares the brain for what lies ahead the next day.
When someone does not get enough rest, they manifest the symptoms of a lack of sleep. Circumstances like this may lead to mental health troubles, raising the odds of feeling anxious, dejected, and similar issues.
The state of one’s physical well-being deteriorates, which increases the possibility of weight gain, coronary issues, and other problems.
An ordinary grownup needs approximately seven to eight hours of rest per evening. Roughly one-third of grown-ups don’t get a sufficient amount of rest each day, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People with sleep disorders have several options to consider. It may be possible to utilize medications to enhance sleep. These drugs do come with some side effects. There are several alternative options available too.
Valerian root is an excellent example. This plant extract, which is completely natural, might assist in obtaining undisturbed sleep.
What Is Valerian Root?
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), a perennial flowering plant from the Valerianaceae family, is the source of valerian root. In the summertime, pleasant-smelling pink or white flowers blossom on this plant.
Valerian, an herb that is sometimes inaccurately spelled as “valarian”, was originally found in Europe and certain areas of Asia. It is now also planted in North America. In the US, it is commonplace to incorporate this herb into tea and nutritional supplements in order to attain a better night’s rest.
Valerian root contains essential oils, including valerenic acids, longer-lasting sesquiterpenes, and salts formed by combining fatty acids with valeric acid. The components contained within valerian root could explain why it can bring about a soothing and healing effect on the central nervous system.
The title of the plant is taken from the given name “Valeria” in addition to the Latin verb “valere”, meaning “to be in good health and strength.”
Valerian has been employed for its therapeutic benefits since the days of Ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates gave an account of its characteristics of it, and Galen later suggested it as a treatment for difficulty sleeping.
It served as a medication for treating epilepsy until the 1800s. It was discovered by investigators that isovaleric acid, which is part of valerian, could possibly stop seizures, similar to what the anti-seizure drug valproic acid accomplishes.
1. Naturally Aids Sleep
Research demonstrates that taking valerian can cut down the amount of time it takes to drift off and better one’s sleep quality, so if you have difficulty dozing off, it could very well be the solution you are in search of. Valerian is not as likely to make you feel sleepy in the morning as some prescription sleep medications, and its possible side effects are not as severe.
At the Foellinge Health Center in Sweden, a double-blind study demonstrated noteworthy improvements in wrong sleeping habits when valerian was taken. Approximately half of the subjects said they had flawless sleep quality, and almost nine out of ten said they experienced better sleep while taking valerian root. There were no negative outcomes seen in this group.
Valerian root is frequently used in conjunction with other calming herbs, like hops and lemon balm, to help people who have difficulty sleeping. A Phytomedicine research was done on children who had limited sleeping issues, and it was determined that 81 percent of those who consumed an herbal mixture of valerian and lemon balm noted an elevated quality of sleep compared to those who had received a placebo.
How does valerian root help you sleep so well? Linarin, a substance found in Valerian, has been demonstrated to possess calming qualities.
Valerian extract has the ability to cause a state of relaxation by elevating the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a type of chemical messenger used in the central nervous system that helps to control or inhibit certain functions. If enough is taken, it can have a calming effect on your nerves.
An in vitro experiment has shown that, when taking valerian extract, GABA is liberated from neurological epilogues and prevented from going back into the nerve cells. Furthermore, valerian’s valerenic acid counteracts an enzyme that reduces GABA, another means of increasing GABA amounts and ensuring restful sleep.
2. Calms Anxiety
Research has revealed that valerian root, in particular the active compound valerenic acid, leads to higher amounts of GABA being transmitted to the brain through its GABA receptors.
Substances like alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) are also known for boosting the quantity of GABA in the brain. Valerian root extract holds valeric acid, valerenic acid, and valerenol, which work as tranquilizers.
It is remarkable that a natural remedy such as valerian root can produce the same effects on anxiety as pharmaceuticals, yet without the hazardous results of anxiolytic medications. Do not consume valerian if you are presently utilizing other medications that are intended to reduce anxiety or depression (like tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline or tetracyclic antidepressants) simultaneously.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
It is unsurprising to learn that the calming effects of valerian root extend to helping to reduce blood pressure, thereby bettering heart health. The substances that make valerian effective in controlling anxiety and calming restlessness can also help the body balance its blood pressure.
You should do everything possible to keep your blood pressure low as it increases the likelihood of stroke and heart attack, which are primary health risks in the United States.
Research suggests that using valerian root supplements can allow one to naturally lessen blood pressure levels, giving your cardiovascular health a beneficial outcome.
4. Eases Menstrual Cramps
Valerian root is a great option for calming menstrual cramping naturally. Its calming properties can provide much-needed relief. PMS can be a bothersome issue for women, but taking certain steps can help lessen the pain and discomfort of menstrual cramps associated with it.
How exactly can valerian root help? This herb has a calming and calming effect and is also able to ease muscle tension and act as a natural relaxant for the muscles.
A study from Islamic Azad University in Iran revealed that Valerian root dietary supplements could substantially reduce the powerful uterine muscle contractions that cause severe discomfort for women during their periods, which was supported by a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.
5. Improves Stress Management
Valerian root can be a great aid to managing daily stress, as it alleviates anxiety and enables better quality and lengthier sleep. Chronic stress is a common problem among American adults that has a number of deleterious effects on an individual’s physical health, such as reduced ability to sleep soundly and a weakened immune system.
Valerian has the potential to promote relaxation by boosting the levels of GABA which helps to reduce stress for both the psyche and the physical body. A great way to keep Cortisol levels low and enhance your life is to practice natural techniques.
Research published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine demonstrates that valerian root can help control both emotional and physical stress. This appears to be attributable to the root’s influence on serotonin, the neurotransmitter which is responsible for regulating temperaments.
6. May Fight Breast Cancer
Research suggests that valeric acid may have the potential to slow down the expansion of breast cancer cells, though further investigation is required. Research published in 2021 in Scientific Reports discovered that valerian essence lessened breast cancer cell development, and valeric acid was correlated with breast cancer cell migration and the development of colonies.
What Are The Effects Of Valerian Root On The Body?
A number of compounds can be identified in the root of a valerian plant. We are examining the possible advantages of this herbal product, focusing on the relevant chemicals.
Two of the most important chemicals of interested in valerian root include:
- Isovaleric acid
- Valeric acid
Valerian root contains two chemicals as well as various antioxidants.
The most important interaction would be with gamma-aminobutyric acid. Gamma-Aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is an essential neurotransmitter in the body. GABA is responsible for controlling nervous system signals that affect both the central nervous system and the brain.
The sedative effects of valerian root can be attributed to its chemicals which interact with the neurotransmitter GABA.
Previous research has suggested that there is a connection between tension and diminished GABA concentrations. Insomnia appears to be connected to a deficiency in GABA when levels are too low. The quality of sleep is negatively impacted by insufficient amounts of GABA neurotransmitters. Additionally, it appears that those with a deficit of GABA are more likely to endure anxiety.
Valeric acid may be useful in lessening the metabolism of GABA in the brain. One is probably going to circumvent low GABA concentrations particularly throughout periods of tension.
This process helps to provide a feeling of tranquility. One may feel more at peace when the disruption of GABA is stopped. Prescription medications like Xanax and Valium have a similar action to valerenic acid that is present in valerian root.
Valerian root contains two distinct antioxidants which could boost the quality of sleep. These two include:
Research has indicated that both of these have a calming effect. The calming effect may assist in enhancing someone’s slumber.
How To Use Valerian Root?
People who are keen on taking valerian root ought to make sure they are aware of how to utilize these dietary enhancements. Although it is a normal occurrence, there are still some aspects that need to be taken into account.
In this part, we explore the best way to consume diet items with valerian root. We take into account any possible drug interactions that people should be cautious about. These could lead to unpleasant side effects in the person’s body.
What Drugs Interact With Valerian?
Several significant interactions have been noted with valerian. When attempting to get better sleep with the help of this supplement, it is essential that one takes into consideration any other medications they are taking. This can assist the person in staying away from possibly hazardous undesirable outcomes.
Some drugs and substances that can interact with valerian include:
- Xanax (Alprazolam)
- Sedative drugs
- CNS depressants
One should exercise care when combining valerian root with substances that are processed by the liver. It is important to take into account substances which are processed by cytochrome P450 3A4.
Valerian may alter how the liver metabolizes medications. They may not be able to provide sufficient help in treating the person’s particular problem.
Valerian Root Dosage – How Much Should You Take?
No specific dosage has been identified for valerian root. Different clinical studies have been conducted. Investigations of this sort typically employ varied doses to figure out the level of efficiency of valerian.
If an excessive amount of the supplement is consumed, more serious adverse reactions may manifest. It is essential that people follow the suggested dosages to ensure they are in compliance.
Although the results of studies can vary, it is typically accepted that valerian doses will fall within a certain range.
Take valerian at least half an hour prior to heading to sleep for optimal effectiveness. The supplement may not provide the desired results if taken too far from the time of going to bed. No more than two hours should be spent in the hours leading up to bedtime.
The amount of valerian root taken to help people sleep tend to be between 400mg and 900mg. It looks like taking a larger quantity of the medication can lead to more adverse reactions or at least raises the possibility of such reactions. It has been observed that there are some effects on individuals who ingest a 900mg dose of valerian root.
In certain circumstances, an intake of up to three grams of valerian can be beneficial. When this happens, the primary ingredient employed is the dried root of valerian. The root is soaked for around 15 minutes in boiling water. This also seems to be an effective dose.
Side Effect Comparisons
- Valerian — headache, dizziness, stomach problems, excitability, uneasiness.
- Melatonin — headache, short-term feelings of depression, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, stomach cramps, irritability.
- Valerian — Severe tiredness can result if combined with dietary supplements that have sleep-inducing properties.
- Melatonin — Use caution when combining melatonin with supplements that slow blood clotting and those with sedative properties.
- Valerian and melatonin — The safest bet is not to take them together because the combined sedative effect could be too strong. Both are considered to be nervous system depressants, producing a sedating effect as they promote sleep. You shouldn’t take melatonin with any other type of sedative because it may be unsafe.
It is advisable to avoid taking melatonin or valerian in conjunction with any other sleep aids that are obtainable without a doctor’s prescription or contain booze.
Best Valerian Supplements
Valeriana officinalis is a key component in numerous nutritional supplements. When acquiring these supplements, it is essential to take into account the product’s excellence.
Looking at the full ingredient list is also important. Lemon balm is often incorporated for an increased sedative result, for instance. There may be other added ingredients too.
The supplement is generally employed as an aid to combat stress. Valerian has been used to treat insomnia and may be beneficial for those struggling with anxiety.
Factors other than valerian root should be taken into consideration when deciding what ingredients to add. They should be secure and not result in any more adverse reactions. One should make sure they do not have an allergy to any of the components used in the supplement before taking it.
Considering the amount of valerian root to take is a must. Consuming more than 900mg of a certain substance could induce dizziness, especially in the early hours. If the quantity of the product administered is below 400mg, it might not be sufficient for enhancing slumber and alleviating the signs of sleeplessness.