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Sleeping Made Easy: The Valerian Root That Can Aid Good Sleep

Sonia Nair Jun 18, 2019
Valerian, a perennial flowering plant, has roots rich in medicinal qualities. A common antidote to sleep disorders, these roots reduce the duration it takes people to fall asleep, thereby increasing the span of sleep. This root relaxes the nervous system and muscles and also acts as a mild tranquilizer.
With insomnia and other sleeping disorders getting more and more common, herbs like valerian roots are fast gaining momentum. These roots have been used for treating insomnia, from time immemorial. The use of this herb has been traced to the period of ancient Greeks and Romans.
It is said that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates had identified the properties of this herb, which was later recognized as a remedy for insomnia and other sleep disorders. This herb is still widely used for treating such problems.

Valerian Root

Valerian is a plant that is native to Europe and some parts of Asia. It produces fragrant white/pink flowers that were used to prepare perfumes. It is the roots of this plant that are used for medicinal purposes. Valerian root has been a popular remedy for insomnia and anxiety, throughout the centuries.
It is also used for treating migraine, depression, digestive problems and menstrual cramps. Even though, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to prove the efficacy of this herb in treating insomnia and other health problems, it is one of the popular herbs, that are being used for this purpose.
One of the reasons behind the soaring popularity of valerian root could be the possible side effects of prescription medication for insomnia. This does not mean that use of this root is fully free of side effects. But, most of its side effects are found to be associated with use of root extract, over dosage, improper use and use of adulterated products.
Some of the valerian root side effects include headaches, sleepiness during daytime, difficulty in concentrating and memory problems. This herb may also interact with prescription medication and may also cause liver damage in people who consume alcohol, along with this herb.

Using Valerian Root for Sleep Problems

Valerian root is so popular, as a remedy for sleep disorders, that it is now available in various forms like tea, pills, capsules, solid and liquid extract.
It is also one of the vital ingredients in a number of herbal formulations used for insomnia treatment. It is sometimes used in combination with other herbs like, lemon balm, passion flower, hops, and St. John's wort.
Long-term use of prescription drugs for insomnia may actually worsen the condition by affecting memory, behavior, and mood. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms may also occur, in case of discontinuation after long-term use.
So, valerian root is widely used as a safe alternative to these prescription drugs for insomnia. The active ingredients in this root, like valeric acid and compounds like iridoids, boost the level of neurotransmitters that controls normal sleep patterns.
Valerian root is believed to shorten the time required to get sleep, and reduce the frequency of awakenings in between sleep. Even the overall quality of sleep improves with this herbal remedy. Mentioned, herbs are not believed to cause severe side effects, as compared to prescriptions drugs.
Valerian root has to be used just before bedtime, so as to increase its efficacy. The dosage may vary with the form you use. It comes in the form of pills, capsules, extract and tea. It has to be taken an hour before bed. So, right dosage is very important, even in case of herbs.
In short, valerian root is said to be effective in treating insomnia, and various studies have supported this claim. However, improper use of this herb may cause some minor side effects. Even long term use is not recommended. Usually, a course of treatment with valerian root lasts for around 28 days only.
Pregnant and nursing women must avoid this herb. Even those using prescription drugs like, antidepressants and sedatives must refrain from using this herb. Never use it before driving. The before said information is for information purposes only. You must consult a qualified herbal practitioner and use this herbs as per his instructions.
Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.