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What is valerian?
Valerian is a tall perennial herb found in damp, elevated
areas and grasslands. It consists of a long stem (3-5 feet
in length) with pointed dark green leaves. It blooms in the
summertime, with small, fragrant flowers (white, light purple
or pink) that can reach four inches in diameter.
Most of the medicinal properties of valerian are contained
in the plant's root. It is usually available as a powder or
extract; some manufacturers also sell valerian teas.
Why do we need borage? What is it
Valerian has a variety of medicinal uses. In human studies,
valerian has been shown to reduce night-time sleep disturbances,
ease anxiety, and improve the overall quality of sleep. It
may also ease menstrual cramps, stomach cramps, and some types
of headaches. Preliminary clinical trials have also shown
that valerian is as effective as benzodiazepines in treating
sleep disorders without any adverse side-effects.
How much valerian should I take?
Although a standard recommended daily allowance has yet to
be determined, most herbalists recommend that patients take
valerian three times a day to reduce sleeplessness. To reduce
insomnia, it is recommended that patients take a dose of valerian
30-45 minutes before bedtime. Among the recommended doses:
- 2-3 grams of dried root in tea (take several times daily);
- 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon of valerian tincture (can take up to
several times daily);
- 1/4 teaspoon extract;
- 150-300mg valerian extract, dried or liquid.
What forms of valerian are available?
Valerian is usually available as a powder, extract or tincture.
Some manufacturers also sell valerian teas. It is usually
sold as a stand-alone product, but is also found in compounds
with other herbal supplements.
What can happen if I take too much
valerian? Are there any interactions I should be aware of?
What precautions should I take?
Valerian is considered safe and mild. The German Commission
E has listed no side-effects for valerian, while the American
Herbal Products Association has given valerian a class I (safe
when used appropriately) rating.
Some people have experienced a "paradoxical reaction"
to reaction: instead of feeling calm or sleepy, they may feel
nervous and anxious after taking the product. In these cases,
it is recommended that you stop taking valerian and speak
with your health care provider.
Because valerian is a sedative-type herb, it may increase
the effects of anti-anxiety medications or painkillers. It
may also react with antiepileptic drugs, and may enhance the
effects of other herbs (including kava kava, passionflower,
hops, poppy and skullcap).
Other Resources :
More You Know About Nutrition
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