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Valerian Root Benefits for Sleep, Anxiety, & So Much More

valerian root extract flower

Who doesn't want to wake up feeling more rejuvenated and go through the day with less anxiety? For many, the way to do that is through a herbal remedy: valerian root. 

This ancient, all-natural ingredient has put people to sleep and calmed their minds for centuries. But it even goes beyond that. 

Learn more about this herbal remedy, why you should look for this ingredient in your supplements, and discover whether it's the right choice for your physical and mental health. 

Valerian Root: What Is It?

Valerian is a flowering herb that is native to Asia and Europe. It has long been heralded as a natural remedy throughout ancient times and cultures. The root was prescribed for treating insomnia primarily. 

But enjoying the benefits of valerian root is not a thing of the past. It has continued to be used and is particularly picking up steam as people turn to more holistic remedies for their conditions and symptoms. Today, it may be taken alone, but it is a popular ingredient in supplements, includingMDsleep. In these supplements, the herb may be paired with other natural ingredients that further support the valerian root benefits to ensure better results than with the one ingredient alone. 

Many people use valerian root for sleep to fall asleep more easily and improve their sleep state throughout the night without needing a prescription. However, the valerian root benefits don't stop once the sun rises. 

Valerian Root Benefits

Improve Sleep

Valerian root for sleep is perhaps one of the oldest prescriptions we have, dating back to Ancient Greece.Studies have concluded that taking valerian root for sleep helps with the initial dozing off process and helps people stay asleep longer, better complete their REM cycles, and wake up less during the night. 

Compare this to medications that seem to knock you out at night but leave you feeling drowsy the next morning or feeling like the sleep you got wasn't rejuvenating the way it should have been. 

As one of the primary valerian root benefits, better sleep is the most common reason for taking the herb, but it's not a 100% guarantee that it will be the solution to your insomnia. For one, it works differently for some people and may only decrease fatigue. 

Even for those who enjoy the benefits, it's still best to follow good evening routine practices to help put your mind in the right place before bedtime. With a proper nighttime routine, using valerian root for sleep will further support your efforts. 

Ease Anxiety, Depression, and OCD Symptoms

Mental health is gaining more attention than ever, and more people are looking fornatural medicines for anxiety. After all, why not let nature do the work of easing your worries? 

Through various studies on the benefits of valerian root on mental health, results found that the herb has an anti-anxiety effect and some mood boosting properties that help those suffering from anxiety, depression, and evenobsessive-compulsive disorder.

The jury is still out on exactly why this occurs and how it does it without binding benzodiazepine receptors (this is one of the benefits of valerian root as these receptors are often cited for causing addiction, but valerian root doesn't bind with them). However, this makes it an excellent option for people on the hunt for a natural remedy for their mental health concerns. 

Increase Focus

Many misunderstand the benefits of valerian root as merely sedating. However, taking small doses is unlikely to immediately make you drowsy and, in addition to easing anxiety, may alsoimprove your focus and lessen impulsive behavior. 

While this may not be a cup of coffee in the morning that gives you a rush of adrenaline, it may be the calming focus you'd want. 

Reduce the Side Effects of Menstrual Cycles and Menopause

Women often dread their time of the month and may even look forward to menopause — until suddenly they're suffering from hot flashes. 

Valerian root has been found toease hot flashes. Some research has also pointed to it easing emotional and behavioral symptoms of PMS. While further research needs to be done, it does make sense. After all, if the herb is easing your anxiety and helping you sleep better, you're more likely to recover from your PMS symptoms more effectively. 

If you're on medications for your PMS or menopausal symptoms, speak with your doctor before adding valerian root to your regimen. 

Lessen the Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome

No matter how much you limit screen time before bed or chug chamomile tea, restless leg syndrome is a serious condition that may leave you up all night. For those with this condition, it's less a matter of wanting to feel tired and more about easing the irresistible urge to move your legs at night. 

According toone study conducted on those who deal with this condition, taking 800 mg of this herb seemed to ease their symptoms and leave them rejuvenated throughout the day. Further research needs to be done to definitively say whether valerian root is a reliable solution, and some people may react differently than others to the herb. Still, the research is promising enough to consider easing restless leg syndrome as one of the benefits of valerian root. 

How It Works

While researchers are still working to understand precisely why this herb works on our bodies the way it does. However,current research points to its effects on our neurotransmitters as the primary reason for valerian root benefits. 

In our bodies, we have gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA. GABA regulates the body's nervous system, which affects our thoughts and responses to our environment. GABA is also one of the primary neurotransmitters for ensuring a good night's sleep. More GABA means better rest. Research suggests that the compound present in valerian, valerenic acid, increases the amount of GABA in our system, which, in turn, this increase of the acid acts as a sedative. 

Compounds in valerian root may also increase serotonin by stimulating the receptors that produce the hormone. More serotonin helps with improved sleep and boosts your mood, which may explain the anxiety-relieving benefits of valerian root. 

How to Take It

If you're interested in taking advantage of the benefits of valerian root, it's best to know how to use it properly. This will help you avoid unwanted effects and provide you with the full valerian root benefits available. 

Valerian root can be taken throughout the day, depending on why you're using it. If you're looking to use valerian root for sleep, it's recommended that you take it closer to bedtime. You can take it as long as two hours before bed, and for best results, take it at least an hour before you get in bed. 

If you're taking just this one herb for your symptoms, dosage amounts may be anywhere from 300 mg to 900 mg. If you're taking one dose a day, it may be larger than if you were taking three doses in one day. Start small and increase as needed, and pay attention to the dosage instructions included with the product you purchase. 

It may take some time to start feeling the effects. If you don't feel any calmer or more prepared to sleep, you may need to give it some time. For some, the effects may not occur for several weeks. 

Valerian root on its own is typically consumed in either capsules, teas, or tinctures. Of course, you don't have to take only this one herb for your symptoms. 

Another popular method of consuming valerian root is taking supplements that include this ingredient in addition to other ingredients that either ease anxiety, promote sleep, improve overall wellness, etc. For example, MDbio's supplements include valerian root as just one ingredient, with other beneficial herbs and extracts making up the rest of the compound, such as lavender or l-theanine. 

Who Should Take This for the Valerian Root Benefits?

With all the benefits of valerian root, many people's health may improve by taking it regularly. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, this herb may provide some relief from your symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Painful Periods
  • Menopause
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

More research is still needed, but various studies have reported improvements for people struggling with the symptoms of these conditions and finding some or much relief in this herbal remedy. 

However, some people shouldn't take this herb without speaking first with their medical provider. For example, while some studies have indicated that it's safe to take during pregnancy, thescholarship is limited. Waiting until a mother has delivered is typically recommended until further studies are completed. 

Additionally, if you're taking other medications, speak with a physician before you mix the herb and your prescriptions. They may interact negatively, either lowering the efficacy of your medications or increasing the likelihood of adverse side effects. For this reason, you should get the all-clear from your healthcare provider before mixing valerian root for sleep with your medications. 

Is Valerian Root a Natural, Herbal Remedy?

Yes, this is an all-natural remedy that's popular in holistic medicines circles. Its medicinal origins have been traced back to Ancient Greece, where Hippocrates himself actually prescribedvalerian root for sleep, and it was also used for promoting menstrual flow. 

This is a flowering plant that grows around the world and is native to Europe and Asia. When it blooms, it's a beautiful, light pink. However, the health benefits won't be found in the petals but the root. 

Suppose you're looking for a natural remedy for insomnia that won't cause a dependency the way many medications or even some natural treatments do. In that case, valerian root for sleep is thought to be a good choice. 

Is Using Valerian Root for Sleep Safe?

According to the FDA, using valerian root for sleep islabeled as GRAS — generally recognized as safe. This means that while you may experience some side effects, current evidence doesn't indicate severe causes for concern for the general population. 

Side effects are generally rare, but some people do report:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

To mitigate these symptoms, it's recommended to take the proper dosage of the herb. If you've experienced side effects from similar herbal remedies, it's best to check in with your medical provider and ensure it's safe to use with any current medications. 

Another of the benefits of valerian root that supports this designation by the FDA is that the herb isn't addictive. This means that if you try it and enjoy it, you won't necessarily develop an addiction or dependency. This makes it a safer choice than some other natural remedies that may cause addiction, including kratom. 

Why Should You Use Supplements with Valerian Root?

To enjoy the benefits of valerian root, you don't need to take the herb on its own. While there are many ways you can improve your mind and body with this product of nature, taking supplements with it as an ingredient that also includes many beneficial ingredients may better suit what you're looking for. 

For example,MDbio sleep supplements contain the herb as just one ingredient. Each supplement is also packed with other ingredients that will amplify the benefits of this single piece. You may find that you find more calm and deeper sleep when you combine similar ingredients with valerian root for sleep. 

Additionally, valerian root for sleep isn't the only option. If you want the calmness that the herb brings without feeling tired, using a supplement like MDcalm will ease your anxiety without making you drowsy and needing a nap. 

See If Valerian Root Benefits Are What You're Looking For

The potential of this herbal remedy is still being discovered. However, it's a popular option for many to ease anxiety, improve sleep, and even support women's menstrual and menopausal health. 

If you're unsure if taking pure valerian root is right for you, check out supplements that feature this ingredient and are made with your ailments in mind. Supplements like those fromMDbio include valerian root on the ingredients list and could be what you're looking for to improve your daily health and wellness.