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Valerian Root Explained: What Is Valerian Root And Is It Safe?

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These days, we’re dealing with high stress environments or situations on a daily basis. Being under stress for long periods of time can have seriously detrimental effects on your overall health. More importantly it can adversely affect your mental health. When we’re under stress for long periods of time, our physiology starts to change in accordance with the hormonal shifts that take place in our bodies.

The more regular the stress, the more permanent the hormonal changes become. It’s true that the pharmaceutical drugs are effective at reducing a few symptoms of the issue. But they often come with a wide range of far worse side-effects. 

So how do you help enable sleep without the use of potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs? The answer lies in natural remedies. One in particular has been a favorite for treating issues related to sleeplessness for centuries. The remedy is a root known as Valerian and it has a wide range of benefits for your health.

Valerian root is specifically touted for its ability to encourage healthier sleeping cycles. So if you’re trying to get more sleep in at night, but don’t want to have to rely on unhealthy pharmaceutical products, then keep reading. 

What Is Valerian Root? Where Does Valerian Root Come From? 

Since its discovery, valerian root has been used to help treat everything from insomnia and anxiety to fighting off infection. Because the plant is so widely available throughout most parts of Europe, it has earned a number of different names. Valerian root is also known as Amantila, Setwall, Capon’s tail, Phu, and most significantly All-heal.

Valerian root has an impressive array of chemical compounds that are unique to the plant and give the plant it’s health-boosting benefits. Some of these chemical compounds include alkaloids, sesquiterpenes, GABA and flavanones. These imbue the root with it’s natural healing capabilities.

Whether you’re using the root in tea form or as an essential oil for specific forms of treatment, you can be certain that you’re getting some of nature’s best medicinal agents. If you’re looking for a strong natural treatment without the possible hazards associated with most forms of conventional pharmaceutical treatments, valerian root might be the place to start. 

Valerian Root For Anxiety Explained 

Man holding his head in his hands on yellow background.

Valerian root helps with anxiety.

Suffering from anxiety is something that a lot of people are familiar with these days. The amount of stress that we’re subjected to on a regular basis is increasingly tied to the fast-paced lifestyle we’re demanded to live. Simultaneously we feel the weight of the high expectations and demands that society places on us.

Some of us are able to handle relatively low amounts of anxiety on a somewhat regular basis more easily. For others, exposure to constant amounts of this negative emotion can have really dire consequences on our physical and mental health.

The complex chemical components found within the valerian root, more specifically GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) and valerenic acid, have been known to have a calming effect on the central nervous system. In fact, the extracts of this root and the chemicals contained within are often included in commercially available sedatives and tranquilizers.

By eliminating the excess chemicals, you can avoid a lot of the negative side effects that come as a result of using these types of products. Natural products can be effective treatments so long as you use them correctly. 

Valerian Root for Sleep Explained 

Woman sleeping.

Woman in deep sleep.

Thankfully many of the chemical components that make valerian root useful for treating anxiety also make it useful for inducing a healthy night’s sleep. One of the most important aspects of valerian root with regards to enabling a good night’s rest is the roots ability to help lower blood pressure.

After a long and stressful day, it may take a while for your blood pressure to go down which could in turn cause you to fall asleep later in the evening. This ultimately costs you more valuable hours of sleep and knocks your sleep cycle out of sync with your daily routine. 

To get the best results, I would recommend using both the supplements and the essential oil. The supplements help to induce a slow-release form of drowsiness that ensures a restful night’s sleep, while utilizing the essential oil in an aromatherapy technique can enable you to fall asleep quicker. The steam helps to deliver the active chemicals directly to the brain via the olfactory glands and can help to lower blood pressure.

Valerian Root Vs. Melatonin 

Supplements.

As I mentioned above, melatonin is the chemical in our brain that directly affects and regulates our sleep cycles. When we’re stressed, our cortisol levels are heightened which can affect the amount of melatonin that is released. Or rather, delay the release of the chemical, thus reducing the amount of hours that we sleep in an evening. 

Melatonin is important for a number reasons beyond enabling us to fall asleep every evening. The chemical also acts as a potent natural antioxidant which enables our body to flush out harmful toxins. This allows us to prevent long-term oxidative damage and restore many of the cellular processes that enable regeneration.

While valerian root isn’t that similar to melatonin itself, at least in terms of its chemical makeup or function in our body, the high amounts of GABA that are contained in the root encourage our brains to release melatonin more effectively. 

Valerian Root For Cats And Dogs Explained 

Dog lying on top of couch.

Relaxed dog.

Using valerian root on your pets is quite commonplace and the drug is considered safe for both dogs and cats. However, the results on cats seem to be a lot more consistent than with dogs. For that reason I would highly recommend using the treatment on cats more specifically. When using alternative medications on your pets, it’s important that you consult a vet first to ensure that the medication is safe for your pet. 

When valerian is used on some dogs, it helps to induce a sedative effect. However, other dogs seem to get hyperactive when you give them the supplement. When it comes to cats, valerian root seems to work in much the same way as catnip. It helps to keep them calm and sedated.

However, you should always be sure to give your cat a small dose at first and monitor their reaction. This will enable you to get an idea of how works and what kind of effect the root has on your pet.

How to Make Valerian Root Tea 

Tea pot on table in front of window.

Valerian root tea.

Valerian root tea is a tasty and healthy cleansing agent that can detoxify your body. It also helps to restore a sense of peace and calm to your mind. While you can go out and source a valerian tea blend, buying the herb at a local nursery and harvesting your own leaves is a simple way to make your own DIY tea blend. 

Making the tea is pretty simple. All you need to do is fill up a teapot with 220ml boiling water, then place 2-3g of dried valerian leaves in a cheesecloth filter. Wrap the filter up tightly and tie the open top together with some string. (An elastic band will also work so long as you can keep it out of the water). Place the lid back on the teapot and allow the leaves to steep for roughly 15 minutes for a strong cup of tea. 

5 minutes should be enough for you to make a flavorful tea, but no less. Feel free to add leaves and spices of your liking to the blend for a more interesting final product. 

Valerian Root Side-Effects Explained

Valerian root does offer a wide variety of helpful natural healing benefits. That being said, you should be careful of using too much of the root at certain times in the day. It can induce drowsiness. This could result in a lack of concentration that may affect your work output or your daily routine.

If any other forms of discomfort or irritation occurs within an hour of using the herb consult a doctor. It means that you’re most likely suffering from an allergic reaction to the root and will need medical attention.

Otherwise, valerian root is largely considered safe for use for people of all ages. It’s a highly concentrated natural product, so be sure to use the essential oil in small doses. This may cause side-effects in children under the age of 8 and for pregnant women. So, avoid using the product on either to be on the safe side or consult a doctor before doing so. 

Conclusion 

Valerian root helped me get a better night’s sleep when I needed it most. It allowed me to avoid using other highly addictive tranquilizers or sedatives. The root is relatively cheap and comes in a variety of different products. This makes it easy to include in your daily lifestyle without much change to your daily routines.

Thankfully, this powerful natural product works and doesn’t require you to question your spirituality in order to do so. When you utilize natural products correctly they can have lasting benefits for you without the risk of negative side-effects. Valeria in Latin means ‘of strong health’, so by including this herb and root in your daily life, you can see how and why it earned the title so many years ago.