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The health benefits of valerian go beyond providing a restful night’s sleep. This flowering herb offers a range of healing properties that soothe and support the body.
Check out these benefits and easy ways to include valerian as part of a healthy lifestyle.
What is Valerian?
Valerian, also commonly known as valerian root, is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It’s grown in the US as well. The herb is a perennial flowering plant adorned with sweetly scented pink or white blooms. Valerian normally blooms during the summer months.
The name of the plant derives from the Latin word valere, meaning “strong and healthy”. The Greeks and Romans appreciated valerian for its medicinal properties, using it as a sleep aid and as an early remedy for epilepsy.
Valerian root contains oils and other active components that produce a soothing, restorative effect on the body’s nervous and muscular systems. The plant also contains calcium, manganese and quercitin.
Health Benefits of Valerian
This extraordinary medicinal herb offers the following healing properties:
Lowers Blood Pressure
Valerian’s soothing properties lower blood pressure, which in turn improves overall heart health. High blood pressure creates increased risks for stroke and heart attack.
Well known for aiding insomnia, valerian reduces the time it takes to fall asleep while improving the quality of sleep. Unlike prescriptions or over the counter meds, valerian has few side effects and it’s less likely to cause grogginess the next morning. Valerian root is frequently combined with other herbs, such as lemon balm, to soothe the body into rest.
Eases Menstrual Cramps
Valerian’s natural antispasmodic abilities relax muscles, calming severe uterine contractions that cause cramps during menstruation. For many women, those cramps are extremely painful and debilitating. Valerian acts as a muscle relaxer, easing cramps and pain while reducing stress.
Valerian increases a chemical in the body called gamma aminobutyric (GABA). GABA helps to regulate nerve cells and naturally calms anxiety. In fact, studies show that valerian works as well as antidepressants at reducing anxiety, without the serious side effects of those drugs.
Soothes the Digestive Tract
Valerian’s antispasmodic properties also calm and relax the digestive system. It is especially helpful for those suffering with irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, the herb helps to control hunger and reduces the urge to eat during times of stress.
Helps with Stress Management
By reducing anxiety and improving sleep, valerian helps with daily stress management. Improving GABA levels enables the mind and the body to relax, which increases wellbeing and quality of life.
Valerian is available dried, as a tea or tincture, and in capsule form. It is easily found in health conscious stores or online. Check out the Amazon links below.
For insomnia, try a cup of valerian tea, a teaspoon of tincture or a capsule without two hours of bedtime. Brew tea by steeping one teaspoon dried valerian root in a cup of very hot water, for 5 – 10 minutes.
To help with anxiety, take 200 milligrams of valerian up to four times a day.
Continue valerian for up to six weeks, to improve sleep and lower anxiety.
Possible Side Effects of Valerian
Valerian is considered a safe, natural alternative to prescription drugs and over the counter meds. However, a few people experience dizziness, an upset stomach or increased anxiety while using valerian. Talk to a doctor before taking this herb and discontinue if any of the above symptoms occur. Also, do not combine valerian with melatonin or over the counter or prescription sleeping aids and antidepressants.
Have you tried valerian? What’s your experience using this healing herb?
Pick up Valerian by clicking on links below:
And check out these herbal teas that help to calm anxiety.
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