Valerian root is a part of the plant called Valeriana officinalis. This perennial flowering plant has been used for thousands of years for different medical purposes, and it was highly praised by Hippocrates and Galen.
During the Middle Ages the valerian root was used as a condiment and later for making perfumes, and it was believed to cure a number of ailments, from digestive problems, insomnia, nervousness, liver problems, nausea, epilepsy and hysteria.
Benefits and side effects of valerian root
The main feature of valerian root is its calming effect on the central nervous system. By relaxing the nervous system, valerian root can help with problems like insomnia, anxiety, irritability and nervousness. It is believed that this herb can help with other, more serious disorders affecting the nervous system, like epilepsy, seizures, attention deficit disorder and depression. It is also beneficial for women of certain age as it provides relief for menopause symptoms.
If used properly, valerian root is not addictive and does not cause significant side effects. Some minor problems are possible, though, including dizziness, headache and gastrointestinal problems. Valerian root may cause more severe problems if used along with alcohol, especially, for the liver. Those include pain in abdomen and jaundice. In addition, some people are allergic to valerian root and may experience rash, hives, swelling of the throat and mouth and difficulty breathing.
Valerian root for anxiety
Thanks to its calming effect on the central nervous system, valerian root is a popular remedy for those who suffer from insomnia. It is a mild tranquilizer and relaxant, and by regulating sleep it also prevents and relieves anxiety, since the two often to together.
Because of its tranquilizing effect, valerian root is a widely used alternative remedy for anxiety, depression, irritability and hysteria. Its main advantage over the prescription medications is that it does not cause morning hangover or grogginess the next morning. In addition, valerian root does not cause addiction.
It is not yet clear exactly how does valerian root promote sleep and act as a tranquilizer. It is believed that it contains certain compounds that increase the level of a neurotransmitter called gamma aminobutyric acid, which may be responsible for the calming and sedative effect on the brain.
It is important to know what is the proper dosage of valerian root for solving anxiety issues. Generally speaking, from 300 to 800 milligrams per day is the recommended dosage, but as it may vary from person to person, depending on many different factors, it is better to consult a doctor or a herbalist.