Valerian for Insomnia
Valerian is an excellent herb for insomnia; it gently induces slumber without the undesirable side effects of the conventional drugs. In fact, the herb has been officially approved as a sleep aid by medical authorities.
What is Valerian? (Valeriana Officinalis)
Valerian is a perennial plant, and is native to Europe and North America. The plant has pink flowers which grow from a rhizome. The rhizome is packed with numerous health promoting compounds – valeric acid, valepotriates, and various volatile oils. Experts state that the sleep inducing property of valerian is because of these vital components.
Benefits of Valerian: How Does Valerian Induce Sleep?
The herb has been taken for centuries as an aid to sleep. It soothes frayed nerves and brings on sleep. It also acts as a calming agent in stressful daytime situations. The compounds in the rhizome affect the brain receptors for a neuro-transmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. Valerian’s interaction with GABA promotes sleep and banishes anxiety.
Unlike drugs such as valium or Xanax that are commonly prescribed for insomnia and sleeplessness, valerian is not addictive and doesn’t make you feel drugged. It does bring on sleep directly; it will calm and soothe your mind and body, so that sleep comes naturally.
Importantly, valerian medicines do not make you feel groggy and dazed when you awaken in the morning as insomnia prescriptions do.
Dosage for Valerian
- You need to take 1 teaspoon of the valerian tincture or 500 mg of the valerian extract in pill form about 1 hour before bedtime. Lower doses do not work, thus it is necessary to take the advocated doses. What’s more, the herb is so safe, you can take up to 2 teaspoons of the tincture and 900 mg of the extract.
- Experts advise taking the dose every night for 2 weeks; thereafter, you need to take a break from the medication. You may resume medication after about a week.
- You could also combine valerian with passionflower or chamomile, both of which are excellent to relax and calm.
- Pills can be had with water, whilst the tincture could be had with a spoon of honey to make it a little palatable. Valerian has a very disagreeable odor, so much so, that you may be put off thinking you have a bad batch of medicines; don’t worry, the smell is completely normal.
- When you buy the drug, look for a product that is manufactured from a standardized extract, i.e. it should contain 0.8 % valeric acid.
Possible Mild Side Effects of Valerian
Studies and clinical trials have revealed that even if you take doses that are 20 times higher than the recommended dosage, there are no dangerous side effects. Nonetheless, such large doses may cause some dizziness, blurry vision, nausea, headache, restless and grogginess.
Ideally, stick to the standard prescribed dosage for valerian; it will yield profound benefits, especially when clubbed with meditation, relaxation techniques and crystal therapy.