Health & Wellness

5 Powerful Valerian Benefits for Your Health

If you’ve ever spent much time on a supplement aisle, you know it can be tough trying to find one that encompasses a variety of benefits. But did you know the herb valerian benefits everything from sleep quality to calming anxiety to fighting inflammation?

If you haven’t heard about this powerful root, take a few moments and learn more about valerian to determine if this supplement may be right for you!

 

What is Valerian?

While not as well-known as mint or basil, valerian is an incredibly effective herb that offers amazing health benefits.

Valerian is an herb found all over the world. Interestingly, its root and extract are frequently used in medicines and supplements to help promote relaxation as well as remedy both sleep disorders and anxiety.

This herb is known to contain sedative effects, and this is because it’s believed to bind GABA receptors in the brain and slow the removal of GABA from the body, resulting in a feeling of calm and relaxation.

As you may recall, GABA helps to calm your body by regulating your nerve cells, and it’s absolutely crucial for sleep. Accordingly, lower levels of GABA are linked to both major depressive and anxiety disorders.

Now that you have an idea of how valerian impacts your body, let’s take a look at some of the incredible valerian benefits you can expect to get from consuming this herb.

5 Valerian Benefits for Your Health

Here are some of the top valerian benefits for your health.

1. Improves sleep quality

There are many valerian benefits, but one of the most well-known is its ability to improve your quality of sleep.

So, how effective is it? Well, according to one study, taking valerian extract decreased sleep latency (the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep) and also allowed particpants to sleep longer. [1]

This occurs because valerian contains both valepotriates, which have natural sedative properties, and sesquiterpenes, which contain calming properties.

And according to a double-blind study, these components in valerian not only improved sleep for 89 percent of participants but also supported “perfect sleep” in 44 percent of those studied. [2]

So, if you struggle to fall asleep at night, consider tapping into this powerful valerian benefit.

2. Helps calm anxiety

Although an estimated 264 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, natural treatments are rarely talked about. Instead, standard medical care often supports pharmaceutical use, but that comes with many side effects.

Fortunately, one of the many valerian benefits is that it helps to naturally calm anxiety.

According to a 2010 animal study, animals who were administered valerian extract exhibited a significant reduction in anxious behaviors. [3]

Additionally, it’s important to note that low GABA levels are linked to anxiety. And due to how valerian benefits your GABA levels, it naturally combats anxiety. [4]

While valerian benefits typically outweigh the possible side effects, it’s important to know that taking too much valerian can trigger anxiety attacks. So, if you plan on taking valerian to ease your anxiety, remember to consult with your physician about your optimal dosage.

3. Fights menopause symptoms

You may be surprised to learn that one of the most surprising valerian benefits is its ability to calm the symptoms of menopause.

According to a 2013 study on 68 menopausal women, valerian benefits those suffering from more extreme menopause symptoms.

When the women took 255 mg of valerian supplements three times daily for eight weeks, they experienced a significant reduction in the severity of their hot flashes. [5]

Accordingly, the researchers stated that taking valerian may provide an all-natural alternative to hormone therapy for those hesitant to start the therapy.

4. Improves symptoms of RLS

Although restless leg syndrome (RLS) is fairly common in the U.S., there aren’t many natural remedies for it. Fortunately, one of the many valerian benefits is actually helping to relieve symptoms of RLS.

In fact, a 2009 study found that taking 800 mg of valerian was effective in improving symptoms of RLS.

For the study, 37 participants were assigned to one of two groups: taking the valerian or a control group. At the end of eight weeks, the group who took the valerian experienced significant improvements in both RLS symptom severity and sleep quality.

Moreover, they reported less daytime sleepiness as a result. [6]

While valerian has very few side effects, one reported rare side effect includes vivid dreams, which can disrupt sleep,, so make sure to discuss your plans to take this herb with your doctor—especially if you’re looking to use it to improve sleep quality.

5. May help fight inflammation

Did you know that one of the many valerian benefits is that it’s believed to help fight inflammation?

According to a 2012 study, valerian root offers not only anti-microbial properties but also potent anti-inflammatory effects. [7]

This happens because your body releases prostaglandins (which control processes like inflammation) in response to valerian.

So, if you’re concerned about chronic inflammation in your body, it’s worth discussing valerian supplementation with your doctor.

 

Valerian benefits - Dr. Pingel

 

How to Use Valerian

When it comes to tapping into valerian benefits, I prefer to use this herb in an alcohol-free tincture or extract.

While standard dosages range from one-half to one dropperful at bedtime, I recommend speaking with your physician before taking valerian due to its sedative properties. It’s also known to interfere with certain medications, so if you’re currently taking anything, make sure to mention that to your doctor.

Valerian also comes in both tea and capsule form, if you prefer to stay away from the extract.

 

Key Takeaways

  • While not as well-known as mint or basil, valerian is an incredibly effective herb that offers amazing health benefits.
  • This herb is known to contain sedative effects, and this is because it’s believed to bind GABA receptors in the brain and slow the removal of GABA from the body, resulting in a feeling of calm and relaxation.
  • Some of the top valerian benefits include: improving sleep quality, calming anxiety, fighting menopause symptoms, improving RLS symptoms, and helping to fight inflammation.

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