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Information about Valerian

Valerian is an herb whose primary medical use is the treatment of insomnia. It is largely unknown how it works but there is a common belief that it produces a natural calming effect by affecting certain chemical substances in the human brain. Those who suffer from liver diseases or epilepsy should consult their doctors before using valerian as a supplement because it may sometimes trigger certain side effects such as excitability, headaches and morning drowsiness.

Valerian can be considered a herbal supplement which is commonly used for numerous purpose, although its main purpose is still the treatment of insomnia. It is a perennial plant and it has been used for the prevention and treatment of numerous different conditions for many centuries. It is largely unknown how valerian provides the human body with its positive effects. It contains numerous different compounds and the scientists are still unable to determine which components provide the body with the well known sedative properties.

It is believed that the chemical compounds in valerian actually increase the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid in the brain which triggers the calming effect. Numerous further studies are needed in order to determine the effectiveness and the degree of safety that valerian can provide.

Side Effects

The use of valerian may be beneficial to a certain degree but it may also be harmful because of certain side effects such as morning drowsiness, headaches and vivid dreams. Prolonged use of valerian may lead to excitability, insomnia and uneasiness. Sometimes it may cause some more serious side effects like severe allergic reactions or liver damage, and if any of these occur, a person needs to seek immediate medical attention. Usually side effects get triggered if valerian gets taken at the wrong time of the day.

It should always be taken at night, before bedtime. Bothersome side effects of valerian may include vivid dreams, dry mouth, headaches, morning drowsiness, and an upset stomach. Valerian can also cause some severe side effects in rare cases. If any of those side effects occur the person needs to be hospitalized immediately and provided with professional medical care.

Valerian can sometimes cause liver damage which can be recognized by painful upper right portion of the abdomen, elevated levels of liver enzymes determined by using a blood test and yellow whites of the eyes or skin. Valerian can also cause severe allergic reactions which may be characterized by wheezing, hives, itching, a rash, swollen mouth, difficult breathing and a swollen throat.

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