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Valerian Maff Hot

https://www.ei-resource.org/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/250x250s/9a/33/a2/3268_valerian_125543690922.jpg
Written by Maff     October 13, 2009    
 
8.4
2979   0   0   0   0

Valerian, or Valeriana officinalis, to give it its botanical name, is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It grows up to four feet high and has trumpet-shaped flowers. It is the roots of the plant that are used for their medicinal properties; these are mainly useful for nervous disorders.

Valerian has a long history of use as a herbal medicine, at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Its properties were described by Hippocrates and Galen later prescribed it as a remedy for insomnia, a condition it is still popularly used for today.

As with many medicinal herbs, Valerian does not contain just a single active compound, but a large variety which may act together to produce the pharmacological effects. Some of the pharmacologically active constituents isolated by scientists include the alkaloids catinine, valerianine and valerine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and the flavones hesperidin and linarin.


What Conditions is Valerian Used For?

Valerian appears to have mild sedative and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing/tranquilizing) properties so is primarily used in the treatment of nervous disorders including anxiety, insomnia, stress, migraine and tension headaches.


Is Valerian Proven to Work in These Conditions?

Valerian is generally used based on its traditional use which provide anecdotal evidence that it helps the conditions named above and a number of others - but what does medical research say?

Unfortunately the number and quality of medical research into Valerian is currently limited. The best evidence so far is for its use in insomnia where some studies have found it to be even more effective than benzodizepine drugs (although others have found contradictory results). Extracts of Valerian have been tested in anxiety in only a few studies but some have shown promising results. The evidence so far for using Valerian must however be considered inconclusive.


How does it Work?

Most research points to Valerian acting on the GABA neurotransmitter system in the brain and central nervous system. GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter meaning it reduces nerve activity. The benzodiazepine tranquilizing drugs such as diazepam (Valium) bind to GABA receptors to enhance its inhibitory effects and it seems that Valerian may work in a similar way, although not as potently. It could also be that Valerian increases the production of GABA or slows the rate at which it is broken down.

Another possible explanation for Valerian's medicinal properties could be its interaction with adenosine receptors which may produce a sedative effect.

 

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Editor reviews

I have used valerian on and off for a number of years in capsule and tablet form and find it can be a useful herb.

My symptoms tend to vary with the seasons due to the involvement of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) so I am able to sleep better during some periods during the year than others. When I need help with sleep I find valerian to be quite helpful in getting me off to sleep. I take 1000mg-1500mg for this purpose. Another supplement I use for sleep is melatonin (the body's own "sleep hormone") and I would rate melatonin above valerian for this purpose. Just 1mg of melatonin has me drifting off in 15 minutes and I can really feel myself drifting into unconciousness with it.

I have found that valerian however is also useful for taking the edge off anxiety and states of irritability and restlessness if taken throughout the day. It is nowhere near as powerful as prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines for this purpose, but it does have an effect.

I would certainly recommend anyone suffering from mild insomnia, anxiety, or stress-related symptoms give it a try as it could be a cheap and drug-free solution.
Overall rating 
 
8.4
Perceived Effectiveness  
 
7.0
Lack of side effects (tolerability)  
 
10.0
Ease of use  
 
10.0
Value for money  
 
7.0
Would you recommend? 
 
8.0
Maff Reviewed by Maff October 13, 2009
Last updated: October 13, 2009
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (107)

Somewhat helpful for anxiety and insomnia

I have used valerian on and off for a number of years in capsule and tablet form and find it can be a useful herb.

My symptoms tend to vary with the seasons due to the involvement of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) so I am able to sleep better during some periods during the year than others. When I need help with sleep I find valerian to be quite helpful in getting me off to sleep. I take 1000mg-1500mg for this purpose. Another supplement I use for sleep is melatonin (the body's own "sleep hormone") and I would rate melatonin above valerian for this purpose. Just 1mg of melatonin has me drifting off in 15 minutes and I can really feel myself drifting into unconciousness with it.

I have found that valerian however is also useful for taking the edge off anxiety and states of irritability and restlessness if taken throughout the day. It is nowhere near as powerful as prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines for this purpose, but it does have an effect.

I would certainly recommend anyone suffering from mild insomnia, anxiety, or stress-related symptoms give it a try as it could be a cheap and drug-free solution.

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