Sleeplessness and Valerian
(Valeriana officinalis)

When I was younger, I went through a stressful job situation that lasted more than a year.  I was involved in some work that was very lucrative but my heart was not really there.  I had difficulties with management, other employees, and the commute was excessive.  But I do not place the blame on myself or anyone else.  This experience was just that, an experience I needed to go through.  Anyway, by the time I got home at night from this terrible job and long commute I had 2 hours to shower, eat, and relax before going to bed, and then get up to do it all again.  Well obviously I could not sleep.  I spent most of the night thinking about the mess I was in and staring at the clock.  I soon realized I was going to kill myself with this pace if I did not get some quality rest each night.  So I turned to an herb that I had read about while studying herbalism, valerian root.

I bought some organic valerian root in the cut form from a company I trust.  I would make a strong tea just before bed and drink one half of the cup.  Then, if I woke up later in the night I would finish the cup.  It worked like a charm, I slept deeply every night and it helped me calm down so I could get through this stressful time.  When I moved on, I stopped taking the valerian with no side effects whatsoever.       

Valerian has a long history of use for many centuries as a sedative, a nervine, anti'spasmodic, and stimulant.  It has also been reported, that valerian improves sleep quality, and may have benefits for individuals with stress, premenstrual syndrome, restless leg syndrome (RLS), and muscle spasms.

German ladies in the past drank Valerian tea often, resulting in lowered nervous irritability.  In ancient times, the same tea made from this root was used to treat epilepsy. 

Called nature's tranquilizer, valerian may work by affecting the central nervous system, thus it is more a psychological herb rather than a physiological one.  Valerian calms the nerves, relieves pain and spasms.  The roots sedative effect acts to decrease hypochondria and aggression and bring sleep to those suffering from anxiety, nervousness, exhaustion and insomnia.  Valerian root has been used for these purposes since pre-Christian times and is cited in virtually every pharmacopoeia in the world.

Studies on animals have shown that valerian appears to affect GABA brain receptors, the amino acid associated with anxiety.   It appears that valerian can help in the treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders by working as a sedative to encourage calm and sleep while also reducing anxiety.   Valerian relaxes muscle tissue and relaxes the central nervous system.

Valerian plays an important role in detoxing the chemically addicted.  It can serve as a substitute for Valium to help the addict sleep easily, relax and calm down.   Excellent results have been obtained in cases of hysteria and hypochondria, where the primary causes of difficulty are emotional or mental.  Valerian also antagonizes (opposes) the hypnotic effects of alcohol.  In cases of heart palpitations, it slows down the heart while strengthening the heartbeat.

Note: If you are taking a medication check the counter indications of that medication before you use valerian.

Some medicinal uses:
After-Birth Pains     High Blood Pressure     Bronchial Spasms     Convulsions    
Heart Palpitations     Hysteria     Hypochondria     Muscle Spasms     Nervous Breakdown    
Nervous Conditions     Pain Relief     Sleeplessness       

Valerian does all the above without the side effects of prescription drugs.

Sources:
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988
Herbally Yours, by  Penny C. Royal, Pub. Sound Nutrition, 1997

 
Important Note:
The information presented herein by The Natural Path Botanicals is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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