Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)is a flowering plant whose root has long been used as a herbal remedy. It is available in teas, extracts, tinctures, capsules, tablets, and essential oil.
Also referred as “nature’s Valium,” valerian is used to treat menopause symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia (1 ).
Hot flash is one of the most common complaints of menopausal women as it causes sweating, rapid heartbeat, and sudden warmth that makes a person uncomfortable. In a 2013 study involving 68 menopausal women, result showed that when it comes to reducing subjective hot flash severity, valerian supplements (255 mg of Valerian three times daily for 8 weeks) were significantly effective than a placebo. Likewise, a separate study with 60 menopausal women also found similar results (2,3).
Aside from this, it has also been used for centuries to promote sleep and help relieve anxiety (4). It has volatile oils and other compounds that are responsible for its sedative effects. Some of its components that may promote sleep and reduce anxiety are alerenic acid, isovaleric acid and a variety of antioxidants like hesperidin and linarin. According to research, valerian works by reducing the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) breakdown in the brain thus resulting in feelings of calmness and tranquility (5).
It’s mild calming effect and seems to be most effective for people who have trouble falling asleep, who consider themselves to be poor sleepers and to those who wake up during the night (6).
The herb has been shown to improve the quality of sleep in postmenopausal women, however it may take up to four weeks of regular use to have an effect (7).
Based on research, 300 to 600 milligrams (mg) of valerian root 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime can be taken. For tea, soak 2 to 3 grams of dried herbal valerian root in 1 cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes (8).
Other Benefits Of Valerian Root
- Reduction of Premenstrual symptoms (bloating, cramps, irritability, headache, bac pain, mood swings, swollen ad tender breasts)
- May help with anxiety-reduction
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