Valerian plant is a herb that grows perennially in Europe, parts of Asia, and some parts of North America as well. It grows as a wild plant in grasslands and is also found as a decoration plant in gardens. It has straight stems and umbrella-shaped heads with dark leaves, growing up to two feet. The root of this plant has several medicinal applications once it is crushed into juice or made into powder. One can use it in the form of capsules or tea. The main purpose to take valerian root tea is to induce sleep and generate a feeling of inner calmness. It is used orally to treat anxiety and psychological stress. While the plant has been used to treat stress-related problems like anxiety and insomnia since very long back in Europe, it regained popularity in the 17th century. It has been approved as a mild sedative by Germany as well as the drug administration of the United States. Hence, as a safe sedative, it can be used for several daily purposes as the following.
Amazing Health Benefits of Valerian Root
1. Sleep disorders–
As a sedative, valerian root tea induces mental calmness. It has been used historically for sleep disorders and treating insomnia. Several types of research suggest that it can reduce the time taken to sleep (sleep latency) by 15 to 20 minutes and also increases the quality of sleep. Sometimes it is needed to take dosages distributed through some days, to have the appropriate effect. Valerian root has the property to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid that helps in regulating nerve cells. Thus, it is also a remedy for anxiety throughout the world. It can be taken with tea and honey or can also be taken in capsules for the same effect. The effect can be increased by mixing other herb extracts like hop and lemon balm. It can be effective against the use of sleeping pills those who are trying to avoid the pills.
2. Anxiety and stress treatment–
Valerian root tea is quite a safe and natural option to treat anxiety, which is a very sensitive state of psychological distress in individuals to take note of. Anxiety can build up in an individual to have chronic stress and similar psychological problems in future. The sedative effect by an increase in GABA levels calms down nerves, also improving the quality of sleep which in turn has significant effects on improving the freshness of mind and thus reduced stress. It composes the action of the body by controlling serotonin and norepinephrine levels in amygdala and hippocampus regions of the brain. These are important neurotransmitters whose deficiency may cause depression and anxiety. Researchers have established that valerian root is amongst the most effective natural agent against physical and psychological stress.
3. Treats epilepsy–
It helps to reduce the frequency of seizures in the body. The sedative effects on the nervous system are very calming for epileptic patients. The researches have established the effects of valerian through animal studies. Other herbs can also have great effects, but there can chance of side effects. Valerian tea can have a calm and soothing effect on taking orally for a regular period of time.
4. Memory improvement–
A small tincture of valerian root dried can have great improvements in your memory performance. It can improve the problem-solving capacities of children and adults alike. It’s is the valerenic acid that has a direct effect on the brain and increases cognitive functions and reactionary impulse. Older people who are more prone to memory loss and cognitive impairments also observe significant improvement through valerian tea. Its action is to reduce oxidative pressure in the memory centre of the brain and thus, increase its performance.
5. Menopausal symptoms and menstrual cramps–
The menopausal symptoms in older women are experienced as hot flashes. This can be significantly reduced according to researches through regular valerian root tea consumption throughout a period of time. It may take a month or two for the symptoms to be reduced. It also increases the quality of sleep. Even during menstruation, it has relief action on painful cramps. It has the property to reduce muscle cramps and hence, also helps with uterine muscle contractions. Valerian tea keeps the use of another pain reliever at bay in women’s periods.
6. Heart Health–
Valerian acid is also an effective treatment against heart problems. It can strengthen blood vessels, also adding elasticity to them and thus, make them capable of bearing arterial stress. As it also has a significant effect on soothing blood pressure, reducing blood flow and keeping it steady. It benefits the heart when a muscle works smoothly without any obstruction, and hence valerian root has quite an instant effect.
7. Treats Headache–
Headache and migraines are common problems in metropolitan citizens due to added mental stress and exhaustion. A migraine comes with symptoms like severe throbbing sensation in the brain with induced nausea and dizziness. No research has claimed it as a direct treatment to a migraine, but the stress-reducing action does work on the symptoms. Its action on circulatory and nervous systems also has a soothing effect which calms stress in mind avoiding pain.
8. Restless leg syndrome–
RLS is quite a common problem among various individuals, due to subconscious anxiety in several situations. Sometimes, the shaking of the leg is quite difficult to manage and can cause problems like daytime fatigue and also, reduces the quality of sleep. Valerian root tea has a direct effect on those symptoms due to reduce nervous stress and calm the body. The leg muscles are exposed to a sedative effect that relaxes them significantly. The dosage should be fixed, ideally recommended by a physician.
9. ADHD treatment–
Valerian root has properties that induce an individual for a better attention span and sharpening their focus. It decelerates the triggers which cause hyperactivity — the increase in GABA levels in the brain the lowering of which causes restlessness and obsessive behaviour. Researchers have established its effects on adults as well as children. The dosage should be strictly regulated especially in children to avoid side effects.
10. Body muscle and joint pain treatment–
The pain-relieving symptoms of valerian root can have an effective action against muscle pain and cramps. The volatile oil in it has an instant action to relax the muscle and reduce tension and strain. The same property causes sleep and calming effect in the entire body. It is easy to absorb by the blood, and the sedative effects can work to relieve any kind of pain in the body. It also works for calming symptoms of fibromyalgia which is seen as a widespread pain in the body and dizziness in the brain. It relieves pain in joints like the knee and also works on vertebral stress. Back pain is a common problem among older citizens which can be reduced effectively by valerian tea.
11. Kidney damage control–
High cholesterol levels may cause fat accumulation in the body, causing problems in the heart as well as the kidney. The relaxation of kidney muscles increases its capacity to filter the blood and limit the problems caused by it. However, one should be careful if there’s already a liver or kidney problem. Check your doctor before taking valerian for kidney problems.
12. Obsessive-compulsive disorder–
It is often noticed that some people are constantly dissatisfied by little changes in surroundings, and this makes them very irritable. OCDs are a sign of internal anxiety, and the valerian tea is a natural method to reduce it. The problem is often ignored relating it to the personality of the individual and is often left untreated. However, it can eventually lead up to extra psychological stress which would be harmful to the person’s health. It is advised to take some dosage of valerian root either in the form of tea or capsule for gradual changes.
Hyperthyroidism can also be a cause of sleep problems and other stress-related hyperactivity. Insomnia is quite a direct result of an over-active thyroid gland. This over-activity can be reduced by valerian root as it increases GABA level. This sends nerve signals to the brain such that the body calms down with the reduced action of muscles and other enzymes. The thyroid is an extremely important gland in the body controlling several hormonal actions in the body. A physician should recommend the treatment by valerian root such that any side effects don’t occur.
While valerian root tea has largely been associated with compound effects to improve the quality of sleep and overall calmness, it is recommended to take in limited dosage. As a sedative, over-consumption may lead to lethargy and further tiredness. Also, individuals suffering from any previous disorders should be careful before starting daily usage. Valerian tea is beneficial for all age groups, but the dosage may vary from body to body. As a herbal medicine, it can be recommended by several physicians for body muscle and joint pain problems, psychological problems, and nerve disorders. As a natural treatment, the side effects are not very severe. But because it is a strong sedative, the quantity should be checked for regular consumption. Some side effects may include headaches, nausea, stomach irritation, heart palpitation and liver toxicity. Thinking problems and strange dreams can also be some psychological side effects.
Thus, if taken in careful amounts valerian tea can be one of the best herbal drugs for several stress-related problems. Regular usage can significantly calm down irregularities in body functions and induce a lifestyle of harmony and balance.