Top 11 Valerian Root Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects On Health

Updated: 09/13/2019

What Is Valerian Root?

Valerian (Caprifoliaceae, Valeriana officinalis) native to Europe grows wild in grasslands and it is used as a decoration of garden. It grows about two feet in height, and its stems have dark leaves and umbrella-shaped heads. The valerian root is pressed into a juice and made into a fine powder and used for therapeutic purposes. This extract is readily available in the forms including tablets, tea, and capsules. It has many health benefits such as aiding sleep and promoting a feeling of calm. This herb has a long history of use and has been taken to cure insomnia and nerve conditions such as anxiety and restlessness. Although all herbal remedies should be treated with a caution, this herb has been widely used in Germany as a sedative and considered safe by the food & drug administration in the U.S. To know the valerian root benefits, uses, and side effects on health, keep reading! There is no science-based evidence for the following homemade recipes. The recipes we've focused on are traditional home remedies, so always consult your doctor and check out your health condition regularly to know if a remedy is working for you.

What Are The Valerian Root Benefits & Uses On Health?

Valerian is famous for its anxiolytic[1], sedative, anticonvulsant, antibacterial, anti-diuretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in the natural treatment of anxiety, blood pressure[3], menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, headaches, joint pains, and sleep disorders[2] [2’]. This herb has been used for chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, stomach upset, and other conditions. However, more evidence is also needed to rate its effectiveness for these uses.

1. Treat Sciatica

Valerian Root Benefits

Valerian root helps you to reduce pain and keep your muscles relaxed. People with sciatica using valerian root report some pain relief. This may be thanks to its muscle relaxant effects[3]. Valerian is also effective in treating sciatica pain related to a muscle spasm. This is because valerian root contains the volatile oil that helps to relax your muscles and reduce the tension[3]. Furthermore, it is an excellent remedy for patients with sleep deprivation.

You can drink valerian tea to deal with this condition. To make this tea, add 1 tbsp. of dried valerian root to 1 cup of boiling water. Then, cover it and steep it for 10 minutes. Have several cups of this tea per week for several weeks. Or, you can also take its supplement after consulting a consult.

2. ADHD Treatment

Valerian and Lemon Balm in combination work together with your brain to decelerate triggers that may cause hyperactivity and aid in the individual concentration[5] [6]. Adults can take about 300 to 1000 mg. Remember to consult a physician before giving this herb to a child.

3. Treat Hyperthyroidism Disease

This herb is famous for its muscle relaxing and sleep aiding effects. As you know, sleeplessness and anxiety are is a condition that is common for many patients with hyperthyroidism[7] [8]. Valerian could be helpful for hyperthyroidism because it helps control inflammation, relaxes spasms and helps manage pain[7]. When there is the overactive thyroid gland, it isn’t strange that you will suffer from insomnia as a normal result. Not only does this cause the weakness of your health but it also lessens the strength in the daily activities. Valerian root helps to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the body that is a neurotransmitter or a healthy chemical used by your nervous system in order to direct messages to the brain, thereby calming down the nerves.

4. Memory Improvement

According to a study at the School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, valerian root may be effective in treating menopausal hot flashes[9]. In this study, 68 menopausal women took valerian capsules having 255 mg of this root 3 times per day within 8 weeks. The results showed a significant reduction in the condition of hot flashes after 8 weeks. Based on these things, you may try taking 255 mg of its capsules 3 times daily for 4 to 8 weeks to help reduce the number and severity of hot flashes related to menopause[10].

5. Treat Sleep Disorders

Valerian root has been used in various ways as a sedative and sleep aid[11]. Valerian works by inhibiting breakdown of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and a secondary mechanism by directly increasing the level of GABA (controversial though)[11] that aids you in regulating your nerve cells. Valerian root has a calming effect, and thanks to its calming effect, it is also widely used as one of the remedies for anxiety[14]. Therefore, valerian root is also one of the natural remedies for sleep disorders. You can have a cup of this tea with raw honey or take its capsules.

6. Relieve Insomnia

Findings from a study add support to the reported effectiveness of valerian in the clinical management of insomnia[1]. Valerian root aids in treating insomnia[15] thanks to its muscle relaxing & sedative properties. It aids in increasing the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, offering a calming effect and adjusting the action of nerve cells[16]. Drink valerian tea to treat this problem.

7. Home Remedies For Anxiety

This herb has tranquilizing effects, so it is called an aid to treat sleeplessness but may also help with anxiety due to its interactions with glutamate receptors[17]. However, its works are a little different from some other types of herbs. Valerian root is used as the natural sedative treatment. Thus, you ought to use it before bedtime to obtain the highest level of its nature and have a sound sleep.

8. Treat Restless Leg Syndrome

People with restless leg syndrome often have trouble with getting restful sleep and experiencing daytime fatigue. Valerian root helps to relax the leg muscles and aids you in falling asleep faster[18]. Relaxation is crucial with restless leg syndrome and valerian root is certainly famous for this condition. Take about 250 to 900 mg of valerian root. Remember to consult a physician before using valerian.

9. Relieve Migraine & Headaches

The soothing and calming effects of valerian root help to reduce migraines and headaches related to anxiety and stress[19] [20]. Simply drink 1 cup of this tea. To make this tea, add 1 valerian tea bag to 1 cup of boiling water and then steep it for 7 minutes.

10. Treat Menstrual Cramps & Premenstrual Syndrome

The antispasmodic, soothing, calming, and anti-inflammatory effects of valerian root help to relieve the discomfort caused and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps & premenstrual syndrome[21] [22]. Depending on the level of cramps, start drinking 1 cup of valerian tea 1 or 2 times daily for 3 days before your period.

11. Great For Digestive Problems

Although there is little research regarding using valerian root for digestive problems, it has been traditionally used to cure many stomach disorders. This herb is used by some people as an antispasmodic for cramping caused by menstrual cramp and nerves[23].

In addition, it also helps to treat intestinal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and colic. It can also be used to aid in rheumatic pain but now there is still no evidence except the anecdotal.

What Are The Side Effects Of Valerian Root?

Valerian root is safe for most people if used in medicinal amounts for a short time. Clinical studies have shown the safe use of this herb for medicinal purposes in more than 12,000 people in trials within 28 days[24] [25]. However, the safety of prolonged use is still unknown. Some information also suggests that valerian root might be safe for children for 4 to 8 weeks.

Valerian root can cause several side effects such as excitability, uneasiness, headache, and insomnia in some people. Some people have a feeling of sluggish in the morning when taking valerian root, especially at a higher dose. It is better not to drive and operate dangerous machinery when taking this herb. To avoid these side effects when discontinuing it after long-term use, slowly reduce the dose over one or two weeks before stopping it completely.

Special Precautions And Warnings:

Surgery: Valerian root slows down your central nervous system[26]. Moreover, anesthesia & other medications used in surgery also affect your central nervous system. These combined effects may be harmful. Avoid taking valerian root at least 2 weeks before a surgery.

Pregnancy or breastfeeding: Although there is not enough evidence about the safety of using valerian root during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is better to avoid using it.

Where And How To Buy Valerian Root

You can easily find valerian root at many herbal food stores or online. It has the form of tea, powder, oil, capsules, tincture, and pills. This root is available in the fresh or dried form while valerian juice can be also found at some natural or herbal food stores. When buying its capsules, you should find those that contain 400 to 600 milligrams of valerian root extract & valerenic acid. You should store valerian products in dark areas because it loses its efficacy if exposed to light for a long period of time.

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