valerian Herb best for Health & Fitness
What Is Valerian Herb?
For centuries, the tall perennial herb with pinkish flowers known as Valerian Herb (Valerian Herb officinalis) has been enlisted to help restless insomniacs get a sound night's sleep. Today this mild, nonaddictive sedative is quite popular both as a sleep aid and as an anxiety fighter, particularly in Germany, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. And in recent years its popularity has grown enormously in the United States as well.
This graceful plant grows wild in North America, Europe, and Asia. Its underground stems and roots are harvested and dried to make healing preparations.
Health Benefits of Valerian Herb
Although there has long been controversy over what makes Valerian Herb so effective as a relaxant, it is increasingly accepted that this herb does, in fact, work as the ancients once claimed it did. In addition to promoting sound sleep, Valerian Herb has a reputation for easing anxiety and relaxing tense muscles. It may also have a role to play in relieving digestive conditions, such as diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Valerian Herb added to bath water in the form of a very strong herbal tea or as an essential oil is said to have a calming effect, although specific scientific evidence is sparse.
Specifically, Valerian Herb may help to:
* Improve sleep by Valerian Herb. In the brain, Valerian Herb is thought to bind to receptors for a nerve chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). By blocking some nerve impulses from reaching the brain, the herb seems to shorten the amount of time it takes to fall asleep as well as improve the quality of sleep that results. And, unlike some of the more commonly prescribed sleep medications, Valerian Herb is not addictive. Nor does it cause morning grogginess (when taken at recommended doses), as some prescription drugs do.
Valerian Herb may also be useful for people without insomnia per se. In a 1983 trial that involved 128 healthy people, those assigned to take a Valerian Herb root preparation were far more likely to fall asleep faster than those given a placebo. The Valerian Herb group also tended to stay asleep longer. Overall sleep quality improved significantly, particularly in those who rated themselves as poor sleepers to start with.
* Reduce nervous tension, anxiety, and restlessness by Valerian Herb. German health authorities endorse the use of Valerian Herb for restlessness and sleeping disorders that are caused specifically by nervous conditions. In fact, anyone who suffers from stress, panic attacks, or other nervous conditions may want to give Valerian Herb a try.
Valerian Herb is thought to lessen anxiety because in blocking brain receptors for the neurotransmitter GABA, it also inhibits nerve impulses and stress-related messages from reaching the brain. More research is needed, however.
* Lessen stomach cramps and improve digestive system disorders by Valerian Herb. Animal testing and clinical research indicates that Valerian Herb has antispasmodic properties. This may explain why it's valuable for countering spasms of the muscle tissue in the digestive tract and easing the intestinal pain that frequently accompanies irritable bowel syndrome. The herb's calming effect may also contribute to healing; after all, many digestive disorders are provoked by stress.
Note: Valerian Herb has also been found to be useful for a number of other disorders. For information on these additional ailments, see our Dosage Recommendations Chart for Valerian Herb.
Forms of Valerian Herb
* dried herb/tea
Special Products by Valerian Herb:
Valerian Root by Nature's Answer Promotes A Tranquil Sleep
Valerian Power by Nature's Herbs Valerian Extract by Nature's Way with Glycerin
Valerian Root by NOW Foods
About the author:
Herbs & Nutrition Analyst
Written By: Homeherb