Ease your insomnia or calm your anxiety with the natural herb of valerian root. How does it work? What other health benefits can this herb that has been helping people ease insomnia, anxiety, and nervous restlessness since the second century A.D. offer us?
Our over stressed societies can have us grabbing the well-advertised sleeping pills – which can cause us a whole lot of other issues. While we are working at slowing down our lifestyles to a more manageable level, the use of valerian root may offer you the sleep your body has been craving. Let’s see what my favorite ‘go to guys’ have to say about valerian root – I really appreciate their in depth articles. Let’s begin with the medicinal compounds of valerian root that Dr. Mercola shares, numbered research can be viewed in his original article.
Frequently referred to as “nature’s Valium,” valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) has a sedative effect and has been used in traditional medicine to promote relaxation and sleep for at least 2,000 years. Some of the sedating compounds in valerian root include:
• Valerenic acid. As noted by Authority Nutrition,4 stress can lower your levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which in turn has been linked to anxiety and impaired, poor quality sleep. The valerenic acid in valerian root has been shown to inhibit breakdown of GABA, resulting in greater calm and relaxation. Valium and Xanax work in similar ways.
• Isovaleric acid, which helps prevent involuntary muscle contractions. Its action is similar to valproic acid, used to treat epilepsy
• Hesperidin, an antioxidant with sedative properties
• Linarin, an antioxidant with sedative properties
Valerian has also been shown to help maintain serotonin levels in the brain, which has a mood stabilizing effect. In fact, a number of studies have noted valerian root (sometimes in combination with other herbs, such as lemon balm), can be useful for anxiety brought on by acute or chronic stress. Studies have also demonstrated its usefulness for hyperactivity, generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, too high a dose can have the converse effect, increasing anxiety. In one study, anxiety was increased when the highest dose, 1,800 milligrams (mg), was administered.5