Legends and History
Valerian has been accepted as a medicinal herb since before the times of ancient Rome and Greece. Hippocrates reported its attributes, and Galen later appointed it as a treatment for sleeplessness. The Native Americans utilized it in healing injuries and lesions, as well as a cold remedy.
Common Use and Health Benefits
With a history ranging back to at least Ancient Greece and Rome, the Valerian Root has been employed as a sleep aid, for anxiety reprieve and much more throughout the ages. Greek doctors Dioscorides and Galen stated it was a remedy for poison, although it was adopted as a remedy for epilepsy in the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, it’s as a treatment for nervous disorders that Valerian has become unique.
The most widespread use of this multifaceted herb is as a sleep aid. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that transmits chemical communications throughout the brain and nervous system. Its function is to inhibit or decrease the activity of neurons or nerve cells. In high enough volumes GABA can produce a sedative effect – Valerian root has been shown to enhance GABA levels within the brain which can in turn not only decrease the measure of time taken to fall asleep, it can also enhance the quality of sleep.
A double-blind study led by the Foellinge Health Centre in Sweden discovered that the consequences of Valerian on reduced sleep were significant. 44% of the partakers reported wholesome sleep, whilst 89% reported enhanced sleep – none of this group stated any side effects either.
The aforementioned GABA also serves to calm anxiety with its management of nerve cells. The valerenic acid and valerenol held in the Valerian root act as anti-anxiety compounds, supporting the central nervous system. The enhanced GABA levels make it more accessible for the mind and body to rest, suggesting that Valerian root can also serve to keep stress at bay – significantly supporting regular and daily stress management.
3. Pain Support
Valerian seems to act quickly on the nervous system as a natural pain killer. Researchers from “The Indian Journal of Experimental Biology” discovered that the entire extract and the isolated essential oil had a notable analgesic influence.
4. Muscle Relaxant
Characteristically calming and antispasmodic, Valerian root functions as a potent muscle relaxant and can be particularly helpful in alleviating menstrual cramps. It can efficiently calm the sharp uterine muscle contractions encountered by some women throughout menstruation. This was confirmed by a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled research study from the Islamic Azad University in Iran.
5. Heart Health
Extensive researches have observed that GABA also improves blood pressure. Adequately regulated blood pressure has a positive influence on heart health; thus, raised blood pressure increases the chance of heart attack or stroke.
Valerian Essential Oil
The calming and sedative effects can be obtained through this pungent oil by diffusing or dilution with a pure carrier oil. The valerenic acid and valerenol included in Valerian essential oil act as anti-anxiety agents, supporting the nervous system.
Recipes & uses for Valerian Root
- Valerian Tincture
Three times per day or before bed; Or as prescribed by a herbal practitioner.
- Valerian Root Tea
1-2 tsp of chopped herb root to one mug of heated water.
Steep for 10 minutes or longer.
Enjoy before bedtime.
- Valerian Essential Oil
Valerian EO can be utilized in the bath or vaporized in an oil burner.
It can be combined to massage oil or lotion.
Use 6-8 drops per bath.
10 -18 drops per 35ml of carrier oil.
One final note
Look out for Valerian root in Sweet Willow Wellness web shop– a nutritive, calming tea with a light, delicious flavor.
The information provided here is educational in nature. These statements have not been evaluated by the US FDA. Any product referred to in this information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.