Valerian Root for Healthy Sleep: Benefits and Side Effects
For centuries the most uncomfortable disorder a person faces is insomnia (sleep disorder), and the most popular natural therapy for treating insomnia is using Valerian root.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects many metabolic processes in the body and leads to dull life, poor sexual health, and wellbeing.
Insomnia is referred to different types of sleep disorders which can occur at any stage of the sleep/wake cycle such as:
- Inability to fall asleep quickly,
- Frequent wakefulness in the middle of the night,
- Unable to get back to sleep after waking up at night,
- Unable to complete the sleep or lack of deep and good quality sleep.
What Is Valerian Root?
Valerian root is a herb that belongs to a perennial plant Valerian officinalis, which is a tall flowering grassland plant, that is grown mostly in Asia and Europe. It is also grown in the US, China, and other countries. It has been used as a medicinal herb for ages in ancient Greece and Rome.
The Valerian plant is used for many purposes. Its scented flowers are used in perfumes and the roots are used for medicinal purposes. Roots have a strong earthy/pungent odor. Fresh roots have a stronger smell and are more effective.
Valerian root is a safe, a non-addictive biological herb used popularly for good sleep, to calm the nerves, to reduce anxiety, and stress.
What Does Valerian Root Contain That Causes Relaxation and Sleep?
The valerian root contains many substances that are responsible for the medicinal effects.
- Volatile oils are responsible for sedative effects, relaxation, and sleep.
- Acids such as valarenic acid and isovaleric acid give the pungent odor to the root and have medicinal value. They are similar in structure to the neurotransmitter GABA which stops hyperactivity in the brain thus relaxing and lowering stress levels. The valerenic acids inhibit the breakdown of GABA which acts on neurons and helps to calm the brain and reduce anxiety.
- Antioxidants like hesperidin and liner cause a sedative effect and enhance sleep.
Benefits of Valerian Root
- Valerian root decreases the amount of time it takes to fall asleep after you go to bed. The normal duration to fall asleep is usually around 15-20 minutes.
- Valerian root improves good quality sleep, that is to get deep sleep without disturbance so that the body gets time for repairing and rejuvenating.
- It reduces frequent wakefulness in the middle of the night that disturbs sleep.
- Valerian Root has no hangover effect the next day of sleep and keeps you awake in the daytime.
- Has no addictive effect and so it is better than the benzodiazepines and other sedatives which cause dependence and may lead to addiction.
- Decreases night sweats which can disturb sleep.
- Decreases mood swings, anxiety, restlessness, restless legs, and stress.
What Are the Side Effects of Valerian Root?
There are no serious side effects when Valerian root is taken in recommended doses. If take in excess, then the following unpleasant symptoms may occur.
- Stomach ache
- Daytime drowsiness
- Not to be taken by pregnant and breast feeding women
- Very young children, those suffering from medical problems, and those on medications such as anti-hypertensives, sedatives, anti-anxiolytic, and anti-convulsants.
Precautions to Be Taken While Taking Valerian Root
- Avoid taking excess alcohol, sedatives, anti-anxiolytic drugs along with the Valerian root.
- Do not drive or operate machinery after taking the Valerine root.
- Consult the doctor if you have any medical problems before using it.
Just remember that sleep is very important to humans. Lack of sleep is detrimental to both physical and mental health. Be aware, gain correct knowledge, and take care of yourself. Your health and happiness are in your hands.
Leave a comment