In the world of herbal medicine, we have the humble valerian root. Perhaps not as popular as chamomile and certainly not as well-known as ashwagandha, but when it comes to holistic remedies, valerian root simply can’t be beaten.
Interested in learning more? Love Wellness has your back! Read on to discover all there is to know about valerian root, including what it is and what benefits it offers.
What Exactly Is Valerian Root?
Valerian root — scientifically called Valeriana officinalis — is a flowering herb native to Asia and Europe but is now grown all over the world, including the United States and Canada.
In prime growing conditions, a mature plant can grow fairly tall, bearing beautiful pink and white flowers. Although the entire plant can be used for medicinal purposes, it is the root that provides the most benefits.
Although valerian root has been used for hundreds of years in traditional phytomedicine, it is still widely available in over-the-counter products. Today, you can get valerian root as a tincture, as a dietary supplement, and even as an essential oil.
How Does Valerian Root Affect the Body?
Some scientists suggest the effects of valerian are thanks to the synergistic actions of several different compounds found in the plant — some of which include:
Because of these compounds, valerian root is believed to interact with GABA receptors to cause drowsiness, minimize sleep disturbances, and even act in the short term as a mild sedative.
What Is GABA?
GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in the central nervous system. It also happens to be one of the primary neurotransmitters responsible for sleep regulation.
In other words, the compounds in valerian root provide sedative effects that might be just what you need to get a good night’s rest.
What Are Some Benefits of Valerian Root?
If supporting a good night’s snooze wasn’t enough to get you excited about valerian root, here are some other incredible benefits that you may not have known about:
1. Soothes Tension
Feeling stressed? Can’t seem to quiet your mind? Consider valerian root. Numerous studies have examined the root’s ability to reduce tense feelings related to stressful events, and the results are pretty impressive.
Maybe you have to give a big presentation at work, or the thought of moving makes you tense. Whatever the reason for your pent-up tension, you may find success with valerian root. Of course, don’t expect magic to happen overnight. To reap the best benefits, take valerian root daily.
2. Eases PMS Symptoms
Ah, PMS. There’s nothing quite like painful menstrual cramps or a bout of moodiness to throw a monkey wrench in your day. Fortunately, valerian root might be able to help. According to research, the medicinal herb may help support your body through emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Even if you aren’t menstruating anymore, regular use of valerian can still help! Studies have shown that valerian root may help with symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes.
Looking for even more of a boost? Turn to #Mood Pills — a feel-good supplement that offers total cycle support and PMS relief.* Our supplement is made with:
- Vitamin B6
- Organic St. John’s Wort
- Organic Chasteberry
Just two pills a day can help you keep the wrath of Auntie Flo at bay.
3. Supports a Positive Mood
If you’re feeling blue or down in the dumps, valerian root might be able to offer a helping hand. Similar to the way that the plant soothes tension, valerian is believed to support a happy mood by boosting GABA, reducing cortisol (aka the “stress hormone”), and increasing serotonin — your “happy hormone.”
With less stress and more serotonin circulating throughout your body, you’ll flip your frown upside down in no time.
For an extra boost, we recommend pairing valerian root with a good probiotic — like Gut Feelings. Why probiotics? Simple: the majority of serotonin in the human body is made in the gut. So by giving your gut the support it needs to thrive via Gut Feelings Probiotics, you’ll indirectly help your body’s ability to produce serotonin, which can then be amplified with valerian root.
4. Supports Quality Sleep
One of the most studied effects of valerian root is its ability to improve sleep quality, with medicinal uses as a sleep aid dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times.
However, the specific mechanism in which valerian root promotes a restful slumber is a bit of a mystery. While it’s true that the plant’s effect on GABA transmission and receptors likely play a role, research is still ongoing as to how it causes sleepiness.
So, should you consider this herbal remedy to help you catch some Zzzs? Absolutely! Valerian is considered safe by the FDA, so it could definitely be worth trying — especially if you’re struggling to find sleep or dealing with sleep problems.
When you look for a valerian herbal supplement, make sure you check the ingredients list for any other rest-inducing ingredients. Valerian root is often paired with other ingredients like:
- Lemon balm
Want to catch Zzzs like an angel? Check out our Rest & Digest Duo. Sleeping Beauty’s valerian root, magnesium, and melatonin work together to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer while Bye Bye Bloat’s digestive enzymes banish belly bloat and ease discomfort.*
We want to note here that, as incredible as valerian is, it’s not a replacement for evidence-based medications. If you’re experiencing health concerns, schedule a visit with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice.
The Final Word
From supporting a good night’s snooze and soothing tension to easing cramps and keeping stress in check, valerian root is an option we can definitely get behind.
Of course, no two people are exactly the same, meaning your reaction to valerian root can vary from your besties. With this in mind, we recommend checking in with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s right for you — especially if you have an underlying medical condition.
While generally regarded as safe, herbal medicines like valerian root may interact with certain prescription drugs. It’s also not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women. That said, if you get the go-ahead from your doc and want to support your health with a natural remedy — valerian root is a good choice!
Here at Love Wellness, we create natural solutions for natural problems. Whether you need some help to find sleep or could simply use a friend as you journey through the ups and downs of life, we’ve got your back. Always.
Valerian Root in Treating Sleep Problems and Associated Disorders—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis | PMC
Valerian Information | Mount Sinai | New York
The effect of Valerian root extract on the severity of pre menstrual syndrome symptoms | PMC
Valerian extract and valerenic acid are partial agonists of the 5-HT5a receptor in vitro | PMC