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Valerian Root: Nature's Sleep Aid for a Restful Night

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Valerian root is a perennial plant that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety. The root of the plant contains compounds that are believed to have a calming effect on the body and mind, making it a popular choice for people who struggle with sleep issues.

Valerian root is thought to work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA, which is responsible for regulating mood and anxiety. It is also believed to have a sedative effect, helping to relax the body and mind, and promote deeper, more restful sleep.

Valerian root is typically consumed in the form of supplements, capsules, or tinctures, but it can also be brewed in tea. It is considered to be safe for most people when taken in recommended doses, but it can cause side effects such as dizziness, headache, and gastrointestinal upset in some people.

It is not recommended to use valerian root with prescription sleep aid or sedative medications, and it should not be used in place of seeking medical attention for a sleep disorder or other underlying condition. Additionally, it is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people with certain medical conditions such as liver disease to use valerian root without consulting with a doctor.

Overall, valerian root is a natural alternative for people who want to improve their sleep and manage anxiety. However, it is important to be mindful of the possible side effects and to consult a healthcare professional before taking it.

How does valerian root work to promote sleep?

Valerian root is believed to promote sleep by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood and anxiety. By increasing GABA levels, valerian root can help to relax the body and mind, and promote deeper, more restful sleep.

Valerian root is also thought to have a sedative effect on the central nervous system, which can help to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve the overall quality of sleep. Additionally, some studies suggest that valerian root may increase the amount of slow-wave sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep and is important for physical and mental restoration.

Valerian root also have an impact on melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycle, as some studies suggest that the compounds in valerian root may help to increase the levels of melatonin in the body, which can help to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promote more restful sleep.

It's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand how valerian root promotes sleep and how it may affect different individuals. Also, it's not recommended to use valerian root in place of seeking medical attention for a sleep disorder or other underlying condition.

What are the potential side effects of valerian root?

Valerian root is generally considered safe when taken in recommended doses, but it can cause some side effects in some people. Some of the most commonly reported side effects of valerian root include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Stomach upset
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness

In addition, valerian root can cause allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should discontinue use of valerian root and seek medical attention immediately.

It's worth noting that valerian root can interact with some medications, such as sedatives, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications. It is not recommended to take valerian root with these medications without consulting a doctor first.

Valerian root is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people with certain medical conditions such as liver disease, without consulting with a doctor.

As with any dietary supplement, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking valerian root, especially if you have any health conditions, are taking any medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How is valerian root typically consumed?

Valerian root is typically consumed in a few different forms:

  1. Capsules or tablets: Valerian root is available in supplement form and can be taken in the form of capsules or tablets. These supplements typically contain a dried and powdered form of the root, and the recommended dosage will vary depending on the product.

  2. Tinctures: Valerian root is also available in liquid form, typically as a tincture. Tinctures are a concentrated liquid extract of the herb that are taken by dropper. It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for dosing when using a tincture.

  3. Tea: Valerian root can also be consumed in the form of tea. To make valerian root tea, simply steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried valerian root in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes.

  4. Essential oil: Valerian root essential oil is also available and can be used for aromatherapy, massage, or added to a warm bath for relaxation.

It's important to note that the recommended dosage may vary depending on the form of valerian root used, and it's always recommended to follow the instructions on the product label or consult with a healthcare professional before taking valerian root supplements.

Can valerian root be used in conjunction with other sleep aids?

Valerian root can be used in conjunction with other sleep aids, but it is important to talk to a healthcare professional before doing so, as some combinations may not be safe.

Valerian root can interact with certain medications, such as sedatives, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications, and taking it with these medications without consulting a doctor first, could lead to an additive sedative effect. This could cause excessive drowsiness and impaired motor function, and increase the risk of accidents or falls.

It's also worth noting that some over-the-counter sleep aids, such as antihistamines, can also cause drowsiness, and taking them with valerian root may result in excessive drowsiness.

It's always important to be aware of the potential interactions and side effects of any supplements or medications you are taking, so it's recommended to consult a healthcare professional before taking valerian root in conjunction with other sleep aids.

Is valerian root safe for long-term use?

Valerian root is generally considered safe for short-term use, but there is limited research on its safety for long-term use.

The majority of studies on valerian root have been conducted for periods of up to 28 days. In these studies, valerian root was found to be safe and well-tolerated. However, there is a lack of research on the safety of long-term use, and more research is needed to determine the safety of taking valerian root over an extended period of time.

It's worth noting that some people who take valerian root for an extended period of time may experience a rebound effect, where symptoms of insomnia or anxiety return when they stop taking the supplement.

It's also important to be aware that valerian root can interact with certain medications, such as sedatives, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications, and taking it with these medications without consulting a doctor first, could lead to an additive sedative effect.

As with any dietary supplement, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking valerian root, especially if you plan to use it for an extended period of time or if you have any health conditions, are taking any medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What are the recommended dosage for valerian root?

The recommended dosage for valerian root can vary depending on the form of the supplement, the individual's health status, and the reason for taking it.

For adults, the typical dosage of valerian root supplements is between 300-600mg taken at bedtime. For liquid extracts, the dosage is usually 1-2ml taken 3 times a day. For tea, it is usually 1-2 teaspoons of dried root steeped in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes.

It's important to note that the recommended dosage may vary depending on the form of valerian root used, and it's always recommended to follow the instructions on the product label or consult with a healthcare professional before taking valerian root supplements.

It's also worth noting that some studies have used doses of up to 900mg per day, but such high doses should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional. It's also important to note that the safety and efficacy of valerian root may vary depending on the individual and the specific product used, so it's important to consult a healthcare professional before taking valerian root.

It's also important to be aware that long-term use of valerian root may lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms upon cessation, so it's recommended to not use it for an extended period of time and to not suddenly stop taking it.