Valerian root extract is an herb native to Asia and Europe and has been around since ancient times to help increase relaxation, reduce anxiousness, and improve sleep quality and duration. In this article, we are going to go over everything you need to know about valerian root extract and the research surrounding valerian as an effective all-natural sleep aid. Valerian root will be a prominent ingredient in Easy Sleep™, our all-natural sleep aid which will be released in July.
Valerian root is an herb native to Europe and Asia and is now also grown in the US and China among other countries. The name "valerian" is derived from the Latin verb "valere" which means "force" or "to be strong." Valerian root is used to help treat a variety of conditions including but not limited to:
Valerian root is widely available as a supplement and can be taken as a capsule or consumed as a tea in liquid form.
Valerian root contains a number of compounds and antioxidants that help promote sleep, ease restlessness, and reduce anxiety. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit damage to cells by harmful free radicals. Valerian root contains the antioxidants hesperidin and linarin which have sleep-enhancing and calming properties.
Valerian root has a unique interaction with GABA, a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system. Studies have shown that low levels of GABA are related to chronic stress, anxiety, and low-quality sleep. Valerian root, more specifically, valerenic acid has shown the ability to inhibit the breakdown of GABA in the brain resulting in feelings of calmness and decreased feelings of stress and anxiety.
Recent research suggests that valerian root may help reduce stress and anxious feelings associated with stressful situations. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, balanced, crossover experiment with 24 healthy adults given challenging mental tasks found that a combination of valerian root and lemon balm reduced anxious feelings. Additionally, valerian root may also benefit those with chronic conditions such as generalized anxiety disorders and or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Furthermore, in a separate eight-week long double-blind controlled study that included 31 outpatients with OCD, found that those who took valerian root extract on a daily basis showed a "significant reduction in obsessive and compulsive behaviors" when compared to the control group with no difference in observed side effects. Similar studies have been done that suggest children who have trouble maintaining focus or display hyperactive behaviors may also find benefit in valerian root extract supplementation.
According to the Cleveland Clinic sleep disorders are extremely common, affecting nearly 70 million Americans per year. Sleep disorders are characterized as abnormal sleep patterns, including lack of sleep and daytime sleepiness. This includes:
Multiple studies suggest that supplementing with valerian root extract may effectively reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep quality and duration as well. For example, a controlled, double-blind study of 27 young and middle-aged adults with sleep disorders found that supplementing with 400 mg of valerian root extract produced the following results:
Another separate study in adults with insomnia found that a single dose of valerian root extract allowed them to achieve deep sleep 36% faster than usual. Time spent asleep also increased significantly.
Valerian root extract is an herb native to Asia and Europe and has been around since ancient times to help increase relaxation, reduce anxiousness, and improve sleep quality and duration.
The name "valerian" is derived from the Latin verb "valere" which means "force" or "to be strong."
As Healthline reported, "Valerian has been shown to be remarkably safe for most people. Valerian does not appear to affect mental or physical health when used as directed." Unlike many prescription-based anti-anxiety or sleep medication on the market today, valerian doesn't cause problems with dependency from regular use.
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