What Is Valerian Root? How Valerian Works to Help You Sleep
To many of us, it seems impossible to get a good night's rest. Between the stress of work and family, pandemic-related worries, or even just the lingering caffeine jitters, it's no easy task to get to sleep and stay asleep.
OnMi understands how hard it can be to get the rest you deserve, so our team developed the best sleep aid patch to address the issue with an all-natural botanical remedy. We researched the safest, most effective plant-based ingredients to support a healthy sleep cycle - and here's why we love valerian root.
The valerian plant has been used for thousands of years to improve sleep and treat a variety of other mental and physical ailments. Learn why we chose to include this ancient remedy in our selection and how it may benefit you in your journey to better sleep.
Where Does Valerian Root Come From?
Valerian root is harvested from the Valeriana officinalis plant, a tall, thinly-stemmed plant native to Europe and Asia. Reaching up to 6 feet, the grassland plant grows delicate white or pink flowers with a pleasant scent.
Like its roots and stems, the flowers of the valerian plant are edible, but the most benefits come from the root of the plant, not its aerial parts. To make valerian extract, the plant's root is dried to produce a foul-smelling oil containing the many beneficial compounds you'll read about next.
Uses and Health Benefits of Valerian Root
We're not the first to value valerian root for its health benefits - use of the herb goes back as far as ancient Greek and Roman times. In fact, Hippocrates, one of the most influential figures in medical history, wrote of the therapeutic uses of valerian root in ancient Greece.
The valerian plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including:
- Digestive issues
- Muscle pain
Nowadays, we see valerian used most commonly for sleep issues, stress, and menstrual symptoms.
What does valerian do for the human body? Let's dive into the research behind these potential benefits.
Soothes You to Sleep
Is valerian root good for sleep? The most studied - and most popular - benefit of valerian root is its potential use as a sleep aid. Researchers have been analyzing the herb's possible ability to decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, help users stay asleep, and improve their quality of sleep.
One study found that valerian extract reduced sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) while improving the participants' sleep quality. Another furthered the research and even went so far as to recommend that valerian extract be given to patients with mild insomnia.
Though these studies show some exciting findings, valerian hasn't been recommended by any notable organizations, and some have even recommended against its use due to lack of research. It's important to keep in mind that there are promising studies on its effectiveness, but we need more research to confirm the best way to use it.
Stress can be a major cause of insomnia. When your brain is winding, it's a struggle to settle down for a healthy bedtime. But incorporating valerian root might just be the extra boost you need to lower stress levels during the day and at night.
A comparison study between valerian extract and oxazepam (a benzodiazepine similar to Xanax) for the treatment of insomnia gave some interesting findings. The research showed no difference in the effectiveness of the oxazepam and the valerian extract in soothing sleep issues. Even better - the side effects of using valerian extract were significantly lower.
This study looked at the herb as a tool for sleep problems, but many people claim that valerian root is the remedy they've been waiting for after years of excessive stress. Though the herb can't replace a healthy lifestyle or prescribed anti-anxiety medication, it might be worth adding it to your routine.
Manages Menstrual Issues
Whether it's PMS, PMDD, painful menstrual cramps, or an overall lousy feeling, people who menstruate deal with a slew of issues every month. Over-the-counter pain medications, exercise, and diet changes may help, but sometimes that's not enough.
For anyone looking for a natural solution, valerian root may help. One double-blind clinical trial found that valerian root, when taken daily, decreased emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms of moderate premenstrual syndrome.
We're still learning what valerian is capable of, but it's exciting to see how this ancient medicine is used in the modern-day - and where its future may lead.
How Valerian Works
So, how can valerian root deliver all of these possible benefits naturally? The truth is, scientists haven't pinpointed exactly how the plant may have these effects, but they've narrowed it down to a few hypotheses.
First, it's agreed that the effects most likely occur due to a mix of the plant's compounds' independent and synergistic, or collaborative, effort. In other words, certain compounds found in valerian root, including valepotriates, flavonoids, and lignans, may act together or separately to offer relief from physical and mental symptoms.
Some of these compounds, like flavonoids, are not exclusive to valerian and are found to be beneficial in other plants like hemp.
Those compounds may react with GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), serotonin, and adenosine receptors throughout the body to regulate sleep, improve mood, and more. While we're still learning more about all that valerian root can do, the information we have now is promising.
Potential Side Effects of Valerian Root
As with any supplement, some people experience side effects when using valerian. In most cases, they are mild symptoms like headaches, upset stomach, dry mouth, excitability, dizziness, or others. Make sure you read up on all the possible side effects to get informed before using valerian root or any supplement.
People who are pregnant or nursing and children younger than three years old should not take valerian. Always consult a doctor before taking herbal supplements, especially if you're on other medications that may interact with the herb.
Try Valerian Root with OnMi
If you're interested in trying valerian root extract to manage your insomnia, sleep issues, stress, or menstrual symptoms, OnMi offers a safe, easy-to-use option. Our transdermal patches are a painless way to enjoy the benefits of all-natural, plant-based solutions like valerian root.
You have a choice of three unique OnMi patches made with valerian root: our Sleep Patch, Relax Patch, and CBD Sleep Patch. Each OnMi natural sleep patch is made with a scientifically-calculated serving of valerian, plus other beneficial herbal ingredients to help you get to sleep, relax, and enjoy every day a little more.
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