Valerian is a flowering plant native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is an ancient remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including insomnia, anxiety, depression, and digestive issues. Root has been found to have a calming effect on the mind and body, making it an ideal natural remedy for stress relief. In this post, we’ll explore the potential benefits and how it can help improve your sleep, mental health, and overall wellbeing. We’ll also discuss the potential side effects of taking it and how to safely incorporate it into your daily routine. Finally, we’ll look at some of the top Valerian products on the market today and provide tips on how to get the most out of this powerful herbal remedy.
Valerian Root in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, Valerian Root is traditionally used to treat insomnia, restlessness, and nervousness. It is also used as a sedative and anti-anxiety remedy. In addition, it is believed to help relieve muscle spasms, promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve mental focus. It is also used to reduce inflammation and pain, improve sleep quality, and treat digestive issues. Jatamansi is a nerve tonic. It is used for epileptic seizures and St. Vitus dance, nervous derangement or irritations. Excellent for children with measles and scarlet fever. Its antispasmodic action works well in muscle pains and digestive cramps. It is one of the first herbs to consider when a remedy is needed to ease anxiety and panic attacks. Very helpful to treat confusion, migraines, insomnia, palpitations and depression with anxiety.
- Scientific Binomial: Valeriana officinalis / Valeriana Jatamansi
- Common English: Jatamansi / Garden Heliotrope / Common Valerian
- Ayurvedic: Tagara / Nata / Baalaka
- Unani: Sugandhabaalaa / Taggar
- Sanskrit: Jatamansi / Natah / Tagarah
- Hindi / Urdu: Balchhari / Mansi / Nihani / Smak / Sumaya / Tagar
- Marathi: Thagar Mool
- Telugu: Tagara
- Tamil: Shadamangie
- Kannada: Jatale / Naati Jatamaansi / Nandu Batlu / Tagara
- Malayalam: Takaram
- Punjabi / Sindhi
Valerian Health Benefits
Valerian root has been used as a traditional herbal remedy for centuries to treat a range of ailments. It has recently gained popularity as a natural sleep aid. Studies suggest that valerian root may be beneficial in treating insomnia, anxiety, headaches, and menopausal symptoms.
- Valerian root is believed to work by increasing the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is an important neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating nerve activity and calming the brain. By increasing GABA, valerian root may help reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and alleviate stress.
- Valerian root may also be beneficial for reducing inflammation. It contains compounds that may help reduce inflammation and improve the body’s ability to heal itself.
- In addition, valerian root may help reduce the frequency of headaches. Studies suggest that its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the intensity of headaches and may even prevent them from occurring.
- Valerian root is generally considered safe, but it may cause side effects such as headaches, dizziness, and stomach upset in some people. It is important to speak with a doctor before taking valerian root.
It is the valerian root that is used in making remedies, and a tea may be made of it to cure what ails you. Always use the root fresh in this herb and you may make an infusion or a cold extract of it. Valerian is well known as an antispasmodic, but before doing that, see that it is used properly, as large doses or extended use may cause symptoms of poisoning. You will probably find the smell or taste of valerian objectionable, so use it in a capsule or tincture form rather than as a tea.
- Relieves Pain: The herb is a good antispasmodic, can relieve muscle pain and tension in menstrual cramps, rheumatic aches, and irritable bowel syndrome. Valerian can also be used in a calming bath. Chop or grind 75 g dried valerian root, add to 2 litres of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Add to the evening bath.
- Insomnia: A key remedy in many herbal sleep preparations, valerian can prove valuable when sleep is disturbed due to worry or overwork. It promotes sleep and in modern herbal medicine, it is the leading herb recommended for insomnia. It helps most people fall asleep and sleep more deeply without causing the morning “hangover” characteristic of many prescription sleep aids. Capsules of concentrated valerian root are available at health food stores; some brands may also contain other relaxing herbs such as lemon balm and passionflower. Follow package directions. Valerian is a strong nerve relaxer and is especially helpful for insomnia caused by anxiety. Take 300 mg or 0.5 to 1.0 ml two to three times daily. OR Mix together equal amounts of tinctures of valerian root, dandelion root, and chamomile flowers. Store in a dark bottle. Take 1–3 teaspoons in a little water before bed for sleeplessness with tension or from indigestion.
- Anxiety and Depression: If you want relief from stress or anxiety, drink valerian tea once during the day and again just before bedtime. Nervousness may be treated with this herb, but don’t use it over long periods as the side effects are very bad, possibly making worse the condition you already have. Safe and nonaddictive, valerian helps in easing anxiety symptoms such as tension headache, palpitations, and tensed muscles. Take valerian on its own or in combination with herbs such as oat straw or skullcap. Prepare a chamomile tea, add 15 drops of valerian root extract to treat anxiety. For nervous palpitations, combine it with lime flower. Valerian is best used for two- to three-week periods or when needed rather than on a daily basis. If you are prone to depression though, check with your health care practitioner first.
- High Blood Pressure: As it is a strong nerve relaxer, it may indirectly helpful for high blood pressure. Take 300 mg or 0.5 to 1.0 ml two to three times daily. The herb valerian are muscle relaxants. Taking 1/2 teaspoon of dried root powder with some warm water will relax the muscles that may be causing back pain. It will also help induce restful sleep. Valerian is a strong central nervous system relaxant. It can help poor concentration for those under stress. Tinctures made from fresh plant or capsules are best. Take them twice a day.
Do not use with prescription medications such as diazepam (Valium) or amitriptyline (Elavil). Valerian should not be combined with alcoholic beverages. May intensify the effects of sleep-enhancing or mood-regulating medications. Discontinue valerian if you experience heart palpitations or nervousness, excitability, headaches, or insomnia. Do not use large doses for more than three weeks in a row. Avoid during pregnancy except in very small doses. Do not give to children under the age of three. Avoid in cases of very low blood pressure or hypoglycemia; avoid long-term use in cases of depression. Use with caution if you are going to be driving, operating heavy machinery, or undertaking other activities that require fast reaction times. Valerian may potentiate the effects of benzodiazepine and barbiturates. Those taking sedatives, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications should use valerian only under the guidance of a qualified health-care professional.
Q. What drug interact with Valerian?
Valerian can interact with several types of drugs, including:
- Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam, alprazolam, and diazepam
- Stimulants, such as amphetamines
- Other herbs and supplements, such as kava, melatonin, and St. John’s wort.