WHAT IS VALERIAN AND WHAT DO YOU USE IT FOR?
Valerian is one of those herbs that almost everyone has heard of. It is well established in our modern society. As such, it has been used for centuries. Valerian is known as a sedative that you can take if you have sleep problems. But it can be used in a whole range of different complaints. In this blog, you will read more about what exactly valerian is and what you can use it for.
The history of the herb Valerian
Valerian is a somewhat inconspicuous herb that originally occurred in Europe and Asia. However, it has since spread to other parts of the world, such as the United States. There, it is classified as an invasive species. Valerian is therefore spreading rapidly. With its pale pink flowers, it is quite a nice plant to see, but remember that it can quickly overgrow your garden.
Already in ancient Greece, valerian was used to fight all kinds of ailments. The first description probably comes from the Greek physician Galenus. He described the plant as having sedative and anesthetic properties. In later centuries, doctors and healers prescribed valerian for anxiety, nervousness and hysteria. Even today, we like to use this herb, especially for sleeping problems, anxiety and stress. It is the root that is incorporated into an extract or tea, as this contains the active ingredient valeric acid.
The benefits of valerian
As mentioned, valerian has been used by humans for thousands of years. It can be used for the following health conditions.
Valerian has made a name for itself as a natural remedy that can help promote healthy sleep. Sleep problems are common. Some people have trouble falling asleep, while others cannot sleep well. In that case, falling asleep works, but you wake up several times a night. Stress is often the cause of sleep problems. The stress you feel during the day doesn't just disappear when you go to sleep. Often, you keep brooding or still feel the tension in your body.
Valerian can help with such sleeping problems. Its calming properties help you relax better and calm your thoughts. Falling asleep will improve, but problems with falling asleep may also diminish. You can take valerian just before going to bed, after which you may notice a calming effect.
Valerian for stress
Stress is also a common complaint. People feel agitated, restless and anxious. When you experience a lot of stress, your body produces more cortisol. This hormone makes you feel tense. This may not hurt you for a short time, but if you suffer from chronic stress, it undermines your health. Valerian is a natural remedy you can use for stress. It helps you relax physically and mentally. It also has a positive effect on your mood and you may suffer less from fretting.
Burnout is the ultimate consequence of stress and being under great pressure for a long time. People with burnout can no longer work and totally fail to process stimuli. Symptoms can vary, from feelings of exhaustion (both mental and physical) to irritability, mood swings and poor sleep. Recovering from burnout can take several months, but sometimes years. Valerian may also be able to help with burnout. You can benefit from its calming effects, which help you relax better. This is also good for a healthy night's sleep. Valerian also makes you more stress-resistant, helping you cope better with stressful situations.
For PMS symptoms, valerian can also bring relief. Women with PMS may feel irritable, emotional and restless and have headaches or stomach cramps. These symptoms can be reduced by using valerian.
Possible side effects of valerian
Despite valerian being a natural remedy, you may suffer from side effects. However, it is true that most people can tolerate valerian well.
- Very vivid dreams: Some of the people who use valerian report that their dreams are very vivid, and they also dream more. This need not have unpleasant consequences, but can be detrimental for people who suffer from nightmares. In that case, valerian can worsen your symptoms. So be careful with this.
- Stomach/intestinal complaints: The drug may bring stomach pain, abdominal pain and diarrhea as side effects.
- Brain fog and/or fatigue: Valerian may make you feel dull and fuzzy. This seems to be more common if you use the drug for a long time.
- Dry mouth: a harmless side effect, but can feel annoying.
- Heart palpitations: Valerian can give you heart palpitations, where your heart beats faster even when you are not exerting yourself. In principle, this can do no harm, but it can feel quite uncomfortable. If this bothers you too much, it's better to stop using valerian.
How do you use valerian?
Valerian root is processed into an extract. You can buy it as a capsule, tablet or a powder. You can also drink valerian tea, like the tasty Landracer Sleepwell tea you can find in our webshop. Apart from valerian, it also contains CBD, St John's wort and chamomile, among others. Drink a calming cup before bed, so you feel more relaxed and sleepy when you go to bed. If you go for a powder or capsule, the average recommended dose is 300 to 600 mg per day. Hopefully, valerian will also give you a good night's sleep and help you feel better about yourself.