By definition, valerian is a perennial flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. Its roots have a long history of use for their medicinal properties.
Valerian roots provide many health benefits, including improving sleep, helping you relax, and preventing hot flashes — which is why its root extract is a popular supplement ingredient.
1. Improves Sleep
Valerian root is popular for its sleep-improving properties.
During a study conducted on 27 young insomnia patients, participants were given 400 milligrams of valerian root extract daily.
12 participants slept perfectly and 12 more experienced mild improvements.
Another study concludes that valerian is a better alternative to benzodiazepines — a sedative medicine which can lead to addiction — for insomnia patients.
Furthermore, even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers valerian to be safer and more effective than synthetic drugs, such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates.
2. Helps You Relax
Valerian root can help you relax, as multiple studies show that it is super effective at reducing both acute and chronic anxiety.
During this study on adults, participants were divided into two groups: one was given a combination of valerian and lemon balm, while the other was given no treatment.
Each group was assigned the exact same mentally challenging tasks. The valerian group displayed notably less signs of anxiety compared to the other group.
With that being said, the anxiety levels of participants actually increased when they were given extremely high doses of valerian and lemon balm.
As we mentioned earlier, valerian can also reduce chronic anxiety.
According to this study conducted on adults with OCD, consuming valerian on a daily basis helped reduce compulsive and obsessive behaviors.
During the same study, researchers made another interesting discovery about valerian’s impact on OCD patients: unlike many popular OCD treatment medicines, valerian had no significant side effects.
Furthermore, this study on children who struggled with focus and other hyperactive behaviours found out that a combination of valerian and lemon balm helped ease symptoms significantly.
The effect of those ingredients was strongest on children with the most severe symptoms. Their focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness improved by over 50%.
3. Hot Flashes
Hot flash is an intense feeling of warmth, usually at the face, neck, and chest. Women during menopause are most likely to feel this surge of heat.
According to a study conducted in Iran, which involved 68 women with menopause, valerian root helped ease the effect of hot flashes.
Participants were given three doses of valerian per day, each dose consisting of 225 mg. After eight weeks, the severity and frequency of hot flashes declined significantly.
Health Issues Associated With Valerian Deficiency
People who consume valerian regularly have a significantly lower chance of suffering from:
- Hot flashes
- Stress and anxiety
- Certain sleep disorders
Daily Recommended Intake
The daily recommended intake of valerian depends almost completely on the condition the user is trying to treat. During recent studies, the following amounts of valerian were used:
- For Insomnia: 400-900 milligrams of valerian extract was consumed daily before bedtime for 6 weeks.
- For Anxiety: 120-200 milligrams divided into three doses per day before bedtime for 4 weeks.
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