Though its name sounds like something out of science fiction, valerian is a flower that has a long history of use in herbal medicine. But why? How can valerian benefit your health? What are its uses in alternative medicine? What is the science behind the effects of valerian? We have answers to these questions and many more!
Welcome to our deep dive into valerian extract, a natural remedy known for its calming effects. If you've ever struggled with stress, sleeping issues, or feelings of anxiety, you might find this blog post particularly interesting. Join us as we embark on an exploration of the history, science, benefits, and usage of valerian extract to help you consider whether or not it could become a valuable part of your wellness routine.
Valerian, also known as Valeriana officinalis, is a flowering perennial plant native to Europe and parts of Asia. The root of the valerian plant is the most commonly used part for herbal remedies, often being made into an extract. Valerian extract contains active compounds, including valerenic acid, which may be responsible for its therapeutic effects.
The use of valerian in herbal medications can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. It was believed to have healing properties and was used to treat various ailments, including insomnia and nervousness.
Valerian extracts gained popularity throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and its use continued to spread across Europe. Today, it is widely recognized as an effective natural sleep aid and appears in a variety of herbal supplements.
As we mentioned, valerian extract contains bioactive compounds. These compounds may interact with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, promoting feelings of relaxation and reducing anxiety.
GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for the regulation of stress responses. Valerian extract may increase the release and effectiveness of GABA, further enhancing its calming effect on the nervous system.
Valerian extract offers many different benefits for both the mind and body. Let's explore some of its key advantages using valerian root in potentially safe herbal therapies.
Valerian root extract has been shown to help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress by promoting a sense of calmness and relaxation. Again, this may be a result of interactions between the active compounds found in valerian root and the neurotransmitter GABA, which plays a part in regulating stress responses.
Several studies have explored the potential benefits of valerian extract in managing feelings of anxiety¹. While research is still ongoing, some findings suggest that valerian may be effective in improving symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety, without causing the sedative effects associated with conventional pharmaceuticals.
One study also found that valerian root may have potential in reducing symptoms of restless legs syndrome².
Valerian root extract has long been valued for its potential to improve sleep quality and aid individuals experiencing sleep problems. Like other natural sleep aids, this herbal medicine may promote sleep by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and enhancing overall sleep duration.
The root of valerian's sleep medicine may once again come from its modulation of GABA receptors. By influencing GABA activity, valerian extract may produce sedative effects, making it easier for individuals to fall asleep and avoid sleep disturbances.
Scientific evidence suggests that valerian root may improve sleep structure and quality for people experiencing mild to moderate insomnia³. It may even do without causing the morning grogginess often associated with conventional or clinical sleep medicine. Combining valerian extract with healthy sleep habits and a relaxing bedtime routine may further enhance its potential benefits for treating sleep problems and achieving a restful night's sleep.
Valerian root has also been explored for its potential in providing relief from menstrual cramps. While research on this specific use is not as extensive as other applications of valerian root, there is some evidence to suggest that it may offer benefits in alleviating menstrual discomfort⁴.
The relaxing properties associated with valerian treatment are believed to play a role in reducing muscle tension and spasms, which may be beneficial for relieving menstrual cramps.
Valerian root has been considered for its potential in alleviating headaches and migraines, offering a natural alternative for individuals seeking relief from these painful conditions. While not as extensively studied for this specific use as some other herbal remedies, valerian root's calming properties and potential to modulate the neurotransmitter, GABA, may contribute to its effectiveness in mitigating headaches.
Since GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps reduce nerve activity, the ability of valerian root to increase the effectiveness of GABA could potentially ease tension headaches and certain types of migraines associated with feelings of stress or anxiety.
Though research on valerian root's direct impact on headaches is still limited, its potential to reduce muscle tension and induce relaxation might indirectly aid in headache relief⁵. Additionally, some individuals with headaches may experience improved sleep quality with valerian root, and better rest can positively impact headache frequency and intensity.
Valerian extract is available in various forms, allowing you to choose the method that best suits your preferences and needs. Let's dive into a few of the most popular ways to use valerian root!
One extremely common way to consume valerian root is through tea infusions.
For relief of sleep disturbances in particular, adults may choose to pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoonful of dried valerian root and steep 5 to 10 minutes⁶. Drinking a relaxing cup of this bedtime tea 1 to 2 hours before sleeping may help improve sleep quality.
Valerian root extract is often available in capsule or tablet form, making it convenient for daily use. It also appears in a variety of dietary supplements like natural sleep aids or mood supplements. Always be sure to follow the recommended dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer or your doctor.
A valerian extract tincture is concentrated liquid extract that can be taken orally. Typically, adults will add the recommended number of drops to water or another beverage and consume.
Valerian root can also be found in other forms, such as powders or as an ingredient in sleep-enhancing blends. Conduct thorough research so you can be sure to choose the form that aligns best with your preferences and lifestyle.
Remember that you should consult your healthcare professional before consuming valerian root in any form to make sure it is a safe option for you.
You may be wondering, "Is valerian root safe?" While taking valerian root is generally safe for most people, it is important to be aware of potential adverse effects and precautions.
Allergic reactions. Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to valerian root, such as skin rashes or difficulty breathing. If you have known allergies, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before using any form of valerian treatment.
Potential interactions with medications.Valerian root may interact with certain medications, such as mild sedatives or anti-anxiety drugs, causing adverse effects. It is important to inform your healthcare provider about any medications you are currently taking before using valerian root.
Dosage recommendations.The recommended dosage of valerian root may vary depending on the individual and the specific product. It is best to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
BioNeurix's Seredyn Complete Calm is a formula designed to quickly calm and soothe the worried, restless mind. Clinical studies suggest that the natural compounds in Seredyn Complete Calm help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety by supporting the brain's natural ability to relax.
One of the natural remedies used in Seredyn is valerian root extract. Seredyn contains the optimal amount of standardized valerian extract (minimum 0.8% valerenic acid), formulated to provide maximum relief without side effects or drowsiness. And only Seredyn combines valerian with Passion Flower extract and L-theanine to provide a complete anti-anxiety supplement.
Valerian root is a natural remedy with profound calming effects on the mind and body. Whether you're struggling with feelings of anxiety, experiencing chronic sleep problems, or simply looking to reduce the damaging effects of your daily stressors, valerian extract may be a beneficial addition to your wellness routine. Serenity now!
Remember to use natural remedies safely by consulting a healthcare professional for personalized advice before adding a supplement to your routine and always following recommended dosage instructions.
(1) Tammadon, Mohammad Reza, et al (March 2021) The Effects of Valerian on Sleep Quality, Depression, and State Anxiety in Hemodialysis Patients: A Randomized, Double-blind, Crossover Clinical Trial
(2) Cuellar, Norma G. and Sarah J. Ratcliffe (March 2009) Does valerian improve sleepiness and symptom severity in people with restless legs syndrome?
(3) Donath, F, et al (March 2000) Critical evaluation of the effect of valerian extract on sleep structure and sleep quality
(4) Moghadam, Zahra Behboodi, et al (July 2016) The effect of Valerian root extract on the severity of pre menstrual syndrome symptoms
(5) Azizi, Hossein, et al (May 2020) Effects of Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) on tension-type headache: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial
(6) Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (2023) Valerian