Valerian

(Known as Valeriana officinalis, Valerian)

tickHerbal
tickAids health
tickMood enhancer
tickAids rest
How does it work?
Valerian has been used to ease insomnia, stress-related anxiety, and nervous restlessness for thousands of years. It appears to work in a similar way to prescription tranquilisers such as Valium and Halcion but without the side effects.
Who is it used for?
Valerian may help people suffering from temporary feelings of anxiety, nervousness or insomnia.
How does it work?
Valerian has both mild sedative and tranquilizing properties, and may also help to relieve anxiety. Studies show that valerian reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep itself, with some studies suggesting that it could be an alternative to benzodiazepines in the treatment of insomnia [3].

Valerian appears to interact with the GABA, melatonin and/or the adenosine systems in the brain [1]. This might explain why valerian helps many people deal with stress and anxiety more effectively [2]. Unlike many prescription sleep aids, valerian has fewer side-effects (such as morning tiredness and fatigue) the next day. Valerian is deemed safe by the German Commission E for treating "restlessness and sleeping disorders brought on by nervous conditions."
How do I use it?
As a general guideline, approximately 450 milligrams of a standardized Valerian Root extract (0.8% valerenic acid) can be taken before bed (as a sleep aid) or as needed to treat anxiety and nervousness.
What results can I expect?
Valerian can reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, as well as easing anxiety and nervousness.
What can it be combined with?
Valerian is a herb considered safe with a wide dosage range. However, it is a sedative that may increase the effects of alcohol and medications for anxiety and insomnia.

1. Abourashed EA, Koetter U, Brattstrom A. (2004). In vitro binding experiments with a Valerian, hops and their fixed combination extract (Ze91019) to selected central nervous system receptors. Phytomedicine, 11, 633-638
2. Kohnen R, Oswald WD. (1988). The effects of valerian, propranolol and their combination on activation performance and mood of healthy volunteers under social stress conditions. Pharmacopsychiatry, 21, 447448
3. Hallam KT, Olver JS, McGrath C, Norman TR. (2003). Comparative cognitive and psychomotor effects of single doses of Valeriana officianalis and triazolam in healthy volunteers. Human Psychopharmacology, 18, 619-625

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