Do you toss and turn for hours at night before drifting off? Rest assured people all over the world suffer from this issue. Health experts state that getting optimal sleep is top priority as insufficient sleep leads to serious health issues. Fortunately, there are several natural sleep aids, such as valerian root, to help you out.
What is valerian root?
The herb, which is the root of the valerian plant, is native to Asia and Europe but can also be found in North America. It is known for its distinctive scent. Medical usage of valerian root can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. It was used to treat migraine, tiredness, stomach cramps, and insomnia. Nowadays, it is used as a dietary supplement and popular sleep aid. The root is usually dried and made into a capsule, tablet, tea, or tincture.
Why should you take valerian root?
Valerian root can address several health conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, headaches, digestive problems, menopause symptoms, and post-exercise muscle pain and fatigue.
Effect on the body
Even though more research is needed, valerian root definitely impacts the body in several ways. For instance, iridoids found in valerian root may act as anti-inflammatory agents and inhibit the expression of specific genes. It could offer pain relief via flavonoids, which inhibit the creation of nitric oxide.
Effects on the brain
In this case, researchers have studied the effect of valerenic acid (present in valerian root), on GABA receptors, which is a type of neurotransmitter in the brain. The effect on GABA receptors is at least partially how valerian root supplements ease anxiety. However, the effects could vary depending upon an individual’s age and sex. Valerian root most likely impacts serotonin receptors, which are involved in mood and sleep.
So what is the verdict – can valerian root aid in sleep?
There has been numerous research studies published over the last few decades, so it is safe to determine that valerian root can reduce anxiety and help to get a good night’s rest too. Valerian root supplements have been found to help people fall asleep faster, improve their sleep quality, and spend more time in a deep sleep stage. But some studies say that valerian root needs to be taken regularly for the effect to be consistent.
What are the benefits of valerian root?
Apart from better sleep and reduced anxiety, valerian root provides other benefits too – take a look:
- Helps to manage premenstrual symptoms, both mental and physical.
- Treats tension headaches.
- Offers pain relief.
- Helps to keep hot flashes under control during menopause.
Is valerian root safe?
Many studies have found valerian root to be a safe and natural sleep aid. However, those who take sedatives or other anti-anxiety or sleep medications should avoid valerian root. There is a possibility of these drugs interacting or having an overly sedating effect when combined. Those who are pregnant or nursing, and children under the age of 3 shouldn’t take valerian root because risks haven’t been studied in these groups yet.
What is the correct dose?
There is no official dosage recommended, but as per studies people have to take 300 to 600 milligrams, once per day, on a regular basis. Talk to your doctor to determine if this is the best sleep aid for you and then discuss the dosage.
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