Valerian is a perpetual flowering plant first found in Asia and Europe, and also it grows in North America. The matured plant will be 1.5mts height and it bears the beautiful sweet-scented white or pink flowers that alluring different types of fly species like hoverflies. The Valerian Root is used to make medicines, tinctures, syrup, drops, and more.
Valerian herb is commonly used in treating people suffering from sleep disorders like insomnia. Evening Valerian Drops are also used orally for psychological stress and anxiety; however, there is restricted scientific evidence to these uses.
The Valerian Extract and oils are used as flavoring beverages and foods. This herb acts as a sedative on nervous system and brain. Here you can find some of the best benefits of Valerian Root.
Valerian Roots: Usage, Side Effects and More
Valerian plants are having been used for its medicinal value since the time of ancient Greek and Romans. Even in the terrific times of World War 1 and World War 2 Valerian had been seen consumed by common citizens and prescribed by military doctors to treat Post-Traumatic Stress disorder or PTSD caused by the vividness of visual horror and shell shock. Valeriana officinalis is an aboriginal plant of Asia and Europe, but also flourishes in parts of North America. It is a perennial flowering plant to zone 4 with sweetly scented white or pink blossoms that attracts insects and flies. Sun rays or slight shadows are required to grow the plants. Extracts of Valerian roots are used as sedatives, anti-anxiety medicines or as anxiolytic substances and to treat insomnia. The extract of the plant is usually sold as dietary supplement capsules or as Valerian tea to increase sleep quality. There are many products available on the market now which contains various amount of valerian. Valeriana officinalis is commonly known as garden heliotrope, common Valeriana or all-heal plant. Red Valerian is also named as only Valerian. Valerian is a plant that grows naturally and can be 3 to 5 feet tall, normally shorter than 6 feet. Valerian plants have been cultivated today to produce non-prescriptive substances to treat a large number of problems. Extract of this plant is seen to be used in perfumes. There is no serious insect or disease problem in cultivating or growing the plants. Valerian has seen to be a benefit to the other plants in the garden as it stimulates phosphorous and earthworm activity in soil, and thereby help the other plants to nourish and grow. The leaves which are mineral saturated can be a great fertilizer. Cats are seen to be infatuated with Valerian plant.
The seductive and hypnotic effects of valerian can be found in myths and legends. The Nordic goddess Hertha has used Valerian as a whip to revitalize the stag to attain greater speed, the stags bridle is said to be made of hops. Legend is that if one sees a quarrelling couple and throws this root on them they would stop fighting. It is said that it can be used to tame the wildest of beasts. It is said to be used in love-potions and tea for sleep pillows regarding to magic. Even in the magical world of Harry Potter it is believed to have soporific qualities and is seen to have mixed with teas. In the legends it is generally associated with feminine qualities, its powers including to love, protect, purify and to help in sleeping. Valerian root uses are to be described as nervine, antispasmodic, hypnotic, sedative, emmenagogue, stomachic, mild anodyne, expectorant, muscle relaxant and a tonic for the nerves.
Even the etymology refers to its use-value. The name of the plant is derived from the proper noun- “Valeria” and from Latin verb “valere”, meaning “to be strong and healthy”. The plant grows better on dry, arid and stony soil rather than on moist soil. The plant is described by Hippocrates for its properties and its medicinal value is described by Galen.
The ancients recommended valerian flower for several purposes- Pliney recommended it to relieve pain, Dioscorides as a diuretics, Galen as decongestants, Hildegard of Binger as a tranquilizer, John Gerard for convulsions, chest congestion, and bruises, Culpepper claimed that it was useful in treating the plagues, and coughs and wounds. The Ecletics of the nineteenth century had used it for epilepsy and as a calmative agent. During the two World Wars it was used to relieve shell shock and to calm nervous people in general. Further it has been used by U.S. Pharmacopeia from 1820 – 1942 and it had been also included in the National Formulary until 1950.
Many people take Valerian tea as herbal medicinal beverage which is made from the valerian roots underground stems and rhizomes. Commercially sold tea may contain other ingredients like other medicinally useful herbs or dry extracts, though the principle ingredient being the Valerian root. The extract of the roots has a keen pungent smell which is often compared to dirty socks by many people. The longer the tea is brewed, the stronger it would taste just like any other tea.
How to Prepare Valerian Tea?
Valerian root tea is sold in tea-bag form. Although loose leaves are sold by some vendors in some particular areas. The tea can be made just as any tea is prepared. The process is the same. One has to place one tablespoon of fresh leaves or a commercially bought tea-bag inside the container. Then, the water should be boiled and let sit for a minute to cold it up slightly. One has to pour the required quantity of water over the container and the tea should be allowed to brew as long as necessary. It can be brewed for a short time if one prefers light-flavoured tea and for extra few minutes if one wants a strong tea. After straining the leaves or removing the tea bag, the tea is ready to drink.
Benefits of Valerian tea and Valerian Root
As per Therapeutic Research Center Natural Medicine database, a few evidences show that by taking the tea one can fall asleep in a shorter period of time(in 15 to 20 minutes prior). This tea can also be used to provide relief from menstrual cramps, as per some limited lab tests. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer centre, two research show that hot flashes and insomnia in postmenopausal women can be improved with this tea. Some research show that Valerian can perform well while mixing with other herbs, such as Hops and lemon Balm. The benefits can also be used for nervousness, headache, trembling, and psychological stress.
Valerian root sleep is, as per some reports, the number one over-the-counter drug in Europe. It is often referred by many as the magic sleep potion.
Valerian root Side-Effects
Since, valerian has sedative components which depress central nervous system; it should be taken with other depressants, as opiates, ethanol, benzodiazepines, kava, barbiturates or antihistamine drugs. Valerian is discouraged in pregnancy as it can cause toxicity in the foetus and hepatoxicity in the mother’s body. Even the lactating mother is not advised to take Valerian as it can be unsafe and can cause toxicity. A study done over 12,000 people which lasted up to 28 days have shown that it is likely safe in most people. Other side effects include headache, excitability, stomach upset, mental dullness, heart disturbances, and even insomnia in some people. After taking valerian root overdose, one can feel sluggish in the morning. Many experience vivid dreams or dry mouth. So, it is advisable not to operate any heavy machinery, crossing roads alone or driving cars after taking Valerian tea or root extract or Valerian in any form. Some information shows, Valerian is possibly safe when it is consumed by children for 4 to 8 weeks. If it is safe to consume for long-term is unsure and have to go underneath a lot of research before to be proved so. The side-effects gradually decrease after discontinuing Valerian. To have less impact on health after a prolonged use, it should be discontinued slowly. One should stop Valerian two to three weeks before, if he or she is going to have a surgery, as Valerian is known for its sedative effects and the anesthesia and other elements also affects the central nervous system. The combined effects might be helpful. If one notices any side-effects it is advised taking Valerian immediately.
Valerians must not be taken with some elements as combination. Valerian must not be taken with alcohol as both cause sleepiness. Thus, these two taken in combination in a large amount can cause over-sleepiness and can be too harmful for health. Taking Valerian with alprazolam (xanax) can cause adverse effects. Valerian can slow down the breaking down of alprazolam in the liver and may increase the effects and side effects of alprazolam such as drowsiness. Further, Valerian must not be taken with sedatives as they can cause prolonged sleepiness. Clonazepam(Klonopin), diazepam(Valium), midazolam(Versed), triazolam(Halcion), alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), temazepam (Restoril), pentobarbital (Nembutal), secobarbital (Seconal), phenobarbital (Luminal), thiopental (Pentothal), morphine, propofol (Diprivan), fentanyl (Duragesic, Sublimaze), and other sedatives drugs are prohibited taking with Valerian.
The medications which are changed and broken down by liver can be affected by taking Valerian. As is stated above, Valerian can cause the medications to break down slowly. Effects and side effects of these medicines may increase as a result. Such medicines are triazolam (Halcion), fexofenadine (Allegra), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), lovastatin (Mevacor) among others.
Dosage: The valerian root dosage that can be taken as per scientific research-
Safe dose for taking Valerian as orally for insomnia
- One can take 400-900 mg valerian extract prior to bedtime for the time period of 6 weeks, or
- 120 mg of valerian extract, with 80 mg of lemon balm extract prior to bedtime for up to 30 days can be taken, or,
- 374-500 mg of valerian extract with 83.8-120 mg of hops extract prior to bedtime for 2-4 weeks is shown to be safe and efficient, or
- 300 mg of valerian extract, 80 mg of passionflower extract, and 30 mg of hops extract prior to bedtime for up to two weeks can be also consumed, or
- One can take valerian 30 minutes to 2 hours prior to bedtime.
Valerian roots work best when taken regularly for two or more weeks. It should not be taken for more than a month without seeing a consultant or doctor.
Safe dose for taking Valerian for menopausal symptoms:
- 225 mg of ground Valerian root can be taken three times daily for 8 weeks. Also, 530 mg of valerian root extract can be taken twice daily for 8 weeks. Also check the valerian side effects before you get started.
Valerian root for anxiety:
- 120-200 mg valerian root capsules daily three doses should be taken. The final dosage of valerian should be prior to bedtime. For anxiety, the recommended dose of valerian root anxiety is naturally lower than insomnia as daytime-sleepiness may be a hindrance in work.
Valerian comprises of the following compounds
- Isovaleric acid
- Iridoids, that include valepotriates: valtrate and isovaltrate
- Sesquiterpenes (contained in the volatile oil): acetoxyvalerenic acid, hydroxyvalerenic acid and valerenic acid,
- Flavanones: hesperidin, 6-methylapigenin and linarin
- Alkaloids: valerine, valerianine, shyanthine, chatinine and actinidine,
- The extraction procedure may create Isovaleramide
- (GABA) Gamma-aminobutyric acid.
How Valerian works?
Researchers have not got any idea about how Valerian works. It is thought that after taking valerian root high, it subtly increases the level of a chemical known as gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Gamma aminobutyric acid helps to achieving calming sensations in the body. Common prescription drugs for anxiety like diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam( Xanax) also contribute to feel calm by increasing gamma aminobutyric acid levels in brain.
Valerian root Reviews:
Valerian is shown to act like sedatives on the nervous system and brain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA tags valerian root as generally recognized as safe or GRAS, though slight side effects have been reported. In the 2009 studies conducted, women who suffered from insomnia had to take 300 mg of root capsule thirty minutes prior to bedtime for 15 days. No significant improvements were found in the quality or onset of sleep. But NIH or the National Institutes of Health says in comparison to placebo, dosage of 400mg works better. The most important valerian root use It improves sleep significantly.
The NIH also studied a clinical trial in which 121 people having insomnia took dried valerian roots pills rhizome of 600 mg in comparison to placebo which had decreased manifestations of insomnia post 28 days of treatment.
People who suffer from racing thoughts, ADHD and bad anxiety, have seen significant effects after taking one valerian root capsule 500mg and the result can be perceived within 30 minutes of taking it. So, it is worth trying valerian root pills as everyone may react differently with the same drugs or product and can notice the changes inside their body, effects and side-effects included. The only thing one can complain about it is the biting smell.
Where to buy valerian root?
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