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Valerian


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valerian plant herb - Longwood Gardens by Raul654The benefits of valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) supplement for treating insomnia have been shown in extensive studies.

For insomnia, this supplement is ideal. It has only mild side effects and is natural. It is not reported to be habit-forming like prescription benzodiazepines (like Valium).

Don't forget that melatonin is also an excellent choice as well and it is also shown to be helpful in treating insomnia.

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Evidence of Benefits

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Insomnia

Many research studies show that it is beneficial in speeding up the time to falling asleep. It also enhances the quality and quantity of sleep in individuals.

See Valerian for Sleeping Difficulties for a discussion of research studies on this.

Melatrol is an example of a product that contains this herb, melatonin and several other ingredients to help treat insomnia.

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Anxiety / Stress

There are some research studies that show that this herb is effective in reducing stress and anxiety.

One group of chemicals isolated from this herb are valepotriates, similar to what is found in catnip. Catnip is known to have relaxing and calming properties.

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Restlessness and Insomnia in Children

A study showed that combining this herb with lemon balm is effective in treating restless and dyssomnia (disturbance in the normal rhythm or pattern of sleep) in children.

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal High Blood Pressure

One study shows that it might lower high blood pressure. More studies will be required before we can recommend it for this use.


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Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

Orally
  • antispasm
  • attention deficit disorder (ADHD)
  • chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • convulsion
  • depression
  • epilepsy
  • excitability
  • headaches
  • hot flashes
  • hypochondria
  • joint pain
  • menopause
  • menstrual cramps
  • migraine
  • mild tremors
  • mood disorders
  • pain relief
  • seizures
  • stomach gas (carminative)
Topically (on the skin) - It has been used in bath oils to help with:
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • restlessness
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Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

It has been reported to cause mild side effects such as headache, heart disturbances, stomach upset, dry mouth and vivid dreams.

It does not seem to cause morning drowsiness (unlike some prescription sleep pills).

However, it is wise to find out how it affects you before driving or engaging in activities requiring alertness.

There are limited data on overdose risks. In one research study, an individual took twenty times the usual dosage and it caused stomach cramping, tremors, fatigue and chest tightness.

Safety - In USA, it has the status of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Clinical studies have been completed that lasted up to a month with no major reports of toxicity or safety issues.

Its use in children is probably safe when used for a short period of time. Studies have been done in children for up to 8 weeks.

Pregnancy and Lactation - Safety of using it in pregnancy and breast-feeding women is currently unknown.  


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Common Drug & Health Condition Interactions

It can be expected to interact with other herbs (such as St. John’s Wort, melatonin, kava and L-tryptophan) that have sedating properties as well.

Alcohol - Caution advised

In theory, combining it with alcohol would enhance the sedating effects. Avoid this combination if possible.

Benzodiazepines - Avoid taking when on Valeriana officinalis

Combining prescription benzodiazepines (such as Xanax - alprazolam, Serax - oxazepam) and other sleeping pills (such as Ambien - eszopiclone, Imovane - zopiclone) would enhance the sedating effects. Avoid this combination.
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Dosage & How to Take It

From research studies, the best dose is 400 to 900 mg of the valerian root extract taken 2 hours before going to sleep. This seems to be the most beneficial range. As well, it can be given 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime.

Some people may need to take it for several nights up to a month to see a significant benefit.

As a tincture, (Alcohol extract 70% 1:5), use 1 to 5 mL up three times daily. As a liquid extract, use 0.3 to 1 mL up to three times daily.

Dosage as high as 1,800 mg daily have been used in capsule formulation.

The standardized form is the preferred formulation as there is a large variation in the dried valerian root. Standardization is done as a percentage of the active ingredient valeric acid or valerenic acid.

 


What an effective natural remedy for insomnia?

Melatrol is an effective combination natural remedy specifically formulated to help treat insomnia. It contains several herbs and supplements in a special blend that are shown to help a person fall alseep and to stay alseep at night.

Get More Info on Melatrol

 

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Related Articles and Resources and Products

What is Insomnia?

The List of Natural Supplements for Anxiety Disorder



Jump to Insomnia Natural Cure Home Page

Return to Natural Remedies List

Selected References
Updated: March 11, 2011
 

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