Since ancient times, people have used valerian root to treat many health issues, including anxiety and insomnia. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 30% of adults may experience anxiety disorders at some point in their lives. This plant may benefit persons experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorders because it appears to have mild sedative qualities.


Do you have worry or sleeplessness?

What is root valerian?

Native to both Europe and Asia, the plant known as Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). This perennial plant’s roots, as well as its horizontal and subterranean stems, have been utilized for medical purposes going back much earlier than ancient Greece.

People from many different cultures have used valerian root over the years to treat headaches, exhaustion, insomnia, and upset stomachs. These days, some people take it to treat headaches, insomnia, menopause, depression, and anxiety problems.

Anxiety: What is it?

The term “anxiety” refers to a broad spectrum of disorders related to anxiety, which encompasses clinical mental illnesses such panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), particular phobias, and others. The common feature of these diseases is ongoing anxiety that significantly impairs an individual’s ability to operate on a daily basis and/or causes them great distress. These diseases may also have physical signs, even though their main symptom is emotional. These can be brought on by the body’s reaction to stress and include things like tense muscles, sleeplessness, an accelerated heartbeat, numbness, nausea, and vertigo.

Advantages of supplements for supporting mental health

The calming qualities of valerian root may help reduce anxiety symptoms such as the ones mentioned above. A sedative is, to put it simply, a substance that causes calm and sleep. It makes sense that a sedative such as valerian root could aid someone who is worried; it might be able to calm their nervous system and lessen the stress reaction in their body. It’s believed that a variety of compounds, acting both singly and in concert, combine to give valerian root its possible sedative properties. Iridoids and volatile oils are the two primary parts of valerian that can have the biggest impact; these are probably what give it its sedative properties. These and other organic compounds found in valerian root may also cause the brain’s GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) to be released.

What studies reveal regarding valerian root and the quality of sleep

Although there hasn’t been much research done on valerian root and its possible benefits and uses, a few studies have been conducted in the last several decades. They mostly have to do with valerian root’s capacity to relax the nervous system and promote sleep, which is beneficial for people who struggle with insomnia. The potential effects of valerian root on other symptoms are not well understood. According to a 2020 meta-analysis of numerous clinical trials, valerian “may promote sleep and prevent associated disorders” and has no negative effects on individuals between the ages of 7 and 80. One such trial was a phase III randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind research. The study does point out that, in order to ensure consistency, quality control procedures for commercial valerian supplements probably need to be enhanced. According to a 2002 study, the pharmaceutical anxiety medication diazepam and the valerian root both “significantly reduced” the psychic element of the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A), a category that includes mental agitation and psychological discomfort. In this double-blind study, neither the volunteers nor the researchers knew who was given the placebo or the valerian extracts.

Is it safe to use valerian root to treat anxiety or bad sleep?

Some persons who take valerian root may have headaches, lightheadedness, pruritus (itchy skin), and upset stomach. Anecdotal reports of daytime sleepiness the day following taking valerian have also been made, although scientific research has not yet proven or refuted this. Even while valerian is generally safe, there are still some individuals who really ought to think twice before using it. Because there hasn’t been enough research to determine its safety for the fetus or child, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t take it except under the supervision of a health expert. Additionally, as alcohol may intensify the sleepy effects of valerian root, it is advised that you avoid taking it together. Additional natural cures than valerian Psychotherapy is the usual course of treatment for anxiety disorders, however it is occasionally combined with medicines. To assist you manage your symptoms, your healthcare professional could also suggest making some lifestyle adjustments. Some people also report effectiveness with magnesium and chamomile pills, in addition to valerian root. A person suffering from anxiety may also benefit from eating specific foods. 95% of serotonin receptors are found in the gut, as this article from Harvard Health Publishing says, which may explain why nutrition can have such a big impact on mental health. It also states that missing meals is not advised because it might exacerbate jitteriness and that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and low in simple carbohydrates can be helpful. Furthermore, it suggests including foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon), B vitamins (almonds, avocado), probiotics (fermented foods like kimchi and pickles), zinc (spinach, nuts), and omega-3 fatty acids (almonds) in your diet as these may all help reduce symptoms.

Obtaining Expert Assistance

Once more, using supplements like valerian root isn’t meant to replace getting help from a licensed mental health expert. It’s usually advised that you get evaluated by a healthcare professional if you’re exhibiting signs of anxiousness. For example, a therapist can identify whether your symptoms fit the profile of an anxiety disorder and provide treatment appropriately. As you try to improve your mental health, they may offer you safe spaces to express and process your feelings as well as appropriate coping techniques for your symptoms.

By Freya Parker

Hey there! I'm Freya Parker, a car lover from Melbourne, Australia. I'm all about making cars easy to understand. I went to a cool university in Melbourne and started my career at Auto Trader, where I learned tons about buying and selling cars. Now, I work with We Buy Cars in South Africa and some small car businesses in Australia. What makes me different is that I care about the environment. I like talking about how cars affect the world. I write in a friendly way that helps people get better cars. That's why lots of people in the car world like to listen to me. I'm excited to share my car knowledge with you!

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