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Health Research

2 Health Benefits of Valerian [Infographic]

Valerian
Valerian root is a medicinal herb that is known for its health benefits, especially for its effect against anxiety and depression. Scientists believe that it also helps reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improves sleep quality with negative side effects. Valerian is great for tea blends as its slightly earthy and bitter flavors can be balanced with the flavors of other herbs.
Valerian Infographic
What is valerian?
Valerian root has been used for medicinal purposes for over two thousand years and was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a relaxant and sedative. The herb was traditionally used to support healthy sleep and relaxation. Its name is believed to be derived from the Latin word valere, meaning “to be in health”. Valerian also has a place in folklore as it was historically believed to be an ingredient in love spells that brought fighting couples back together. Today, the herb is primarily used for sleeping and mood disorders such as insomnia, depression.
Botanical name: Valeriana exaltata
Other names: Garden heliotrope, garden valerian, all-heal
Description: A perennial plant that grows to 4 feet tall and produces fragrant clusters of white or pink flowers
Habitat: Native to Europe and parts of Asia
Properties*: Anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antidepressive, neuroprotective
The health benefits of valerian according to research
1. Sleep Support
Most research shows that valerian intake helps reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improves sleep quality without producing side effects. Meta-analyses of studies show that taking valerian decreases time to sleep onset by 14-17 minutes and increases the chance of experiencing better sleep quality by 1.4 to 1.8 times.
Extensive research conducted in Germany and Switzerland support the use of valerian to aid sleep and improve sleep quality. A trial conducted in Germany in 2002 tested valerian and oxazepam (a conventional sleep treatment) with 83% of those taking valerian rating the treatment as very good compared to 73% for oxazepam. Valerian seems to improve the sleep quality of patients with insomnia who have recently withdrawn from benzodiazepines (sedatives).
However, valerian does not relieve insomnia as fast as sedatives. Scientists believe that continuous nightly use for several days to a month might be needed for significant effect. One well-designed study found that while valerian was no more effective than placebo after 14 days, it greatly improved sleep quality after 28 days.
2. Stress & Mood Support
Valerian is used in traditional medicine to help reduce mental overactivity and nervousness as the herb has a calming, rather than directly sedative, effect. It has also been used as a remedy to treat symptoms of anxiety, including tremors, panic, palpitations, and sweating.
Scientists believe valerian increases the amount of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA helps regulate nerve cells and has a calming effect on anxiety. Drugs such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) also work by increasing the amount of GABA in the brain. Researchers think valerian has a similar, but weaker effect.
One preliminary study shows that taking valerian daily reduces anxiety in individuals with mild anxiety. Preliminary clinical research also found that a combination of valerian root and St. John's wort improves symptoms of moderately severe anxiety and depression more effectively than some drugs.

Disclaimer

* These are some of the pharmacological actions that have been observed or are under study in various evidence-based research studies. Herb may have other properties not listed here.
The statements on this page are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare practitioner prior to the use of any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have allergies or medical conditions.
The information has been sourced and extracted from scientific papers, academic journals, research abstracts, and other sources. While Purify Tea makes every effort to present accurate and reliable information on this website, Purify Tea does not endorse, approve, or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficiency, timeliness, or correct sequencing of such information. Use of such information is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficiency, and timeliness. While many traditional or folkloric remedies have a long history of use, modern research has only begun to investigate and substantiate their effectiveness. Research is still ongoing in many areas therefore conclusions are subject to change.

Sources

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Dietmar Benke, Andrea Barberis, Sascha Kopp, Karl-Heinz Altmann, Monika Schubiger, Kaspar E Vogt, Uwe Rudolph, Hanns Möhler. “GABA A receptors as in vivo substrate for the anxiolytic action of valerenic acid, a major constituent of valerian root extracts.” Neuropharmacology. June 17, 2008.
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United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). November 28, 2015, Web. June 26, 2016.
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