Friday, July 23, 2010

VALERIAN ROOT - AN HERBAL SLEEP AID


Hola Beautiful Ones!

I believe I've found the right sleep aid. Some years ago, my brother had mentioned Valerian Root to me and how potent it was. Based on the picture he painted for me, I quickly deduced that it was something that I would not mess with. Fast forward to the present, I was desperate to give it a try. Although a bit apprehensive, after researching it, I went for it since it's totally "non-pharm". Please note: Medicinal herbs require the same amount of caution & responsible use as pharm drugs. Just without the many pharm nasties.

What exactly is Valerian root?
Valerian root is a flowering perennial plant with pink and white flowers exhibiting a sweet aroma. However, in my opinion, the dried root, which is the part of the plant used is quite stinky. Valerian root has been widely used in preventing & treating insomnia. Its quiet and soothing effects help a person sleep. Although a person can experience this effect immediately after using valerian root the first time, it is common that a person may use it for a few weeks before experiencing the full effect of the herb.


Valerian (Nervous) has been used as a sleep aid for over 1,000 years. Its ability to help relax the central nervous system, promote feelings of calm, decrease levels of anxiety and stress, and enhance sleep are known to millions the world over.


 It can and is also used to treat anxiety, fatigue, nervousness, stress, ulcers, menstrual cramps, muscle cramps, pain, spasms, and high blood pressure.


Possible Side Effects:
1.  It is a natural diuretic, meaning it causes your body to naturally lose excess water weight. So it is possible that a middle-of-the-night need to go to the bathroom may occur thus frustrating the goal to get a full nights sleep.

2.  Don't suddenly stop taking it. Due to the way it works in the body, it shouldn't be stopped suddenly. Rather, the body needs to be weaned from the valerian root. This protects the central nervous system.

3.  Drowsiness

4.  Difficulty concentrating

5.  Lack of ability to remain alert during the day

6.  Sleepiness during the day

7.  Difficulty with short-term memory
 
These side effects are to be expected in most people after they take a dose of the treatment.To avoid complications, take the valerian root about an hour before bed. Be sure you can dedicate at least six to eight hours to sleep after taking it.


Valerian root is a highly effective tool at calming the central nervous system. Therefore, use it cautiously. You should not use the herbal remedy for longer than two weeks at a time. Slowly stop taking the root after that time and avoid using it for several weeks prior to using it again.

It should not be taken if pregnant or with alcohol.
 
My experience:
I used about a teaspoon of the root and steeped it in hot water for about 15 minutes. I sweetened it with Stevia powder and was quite surprised to find the taste pleasant. It did not take long for me to begin feeling the effects of it. My gestimation would be less than 30 minutes. And I must say, I slept like a baby. A sweet, deep sleep.

And yes, I definitely noticed the diuretic nature of the root. I did get up in the middle of the night for a trip to the restroom but that didn't bother me. I was back to sleep immediately when I laid back down. I also noticed that I woke up with dry mouth. Me no likey that.

Was I groggy? Hell yes. And it took me a minute to shake it off. At the same time, I have to admit that I drank a cupful of the tea a little late. So I did not have a full 8 hours to dedicate to sleeping. Next time will be different. And I'll definitely use a little less of the root next time.

My personal conclusion:
I really was impressed with this herb. I'm pleased, aside from the morning dry-mouth. I achieved the rest & sleep that I was looking for and will continue to use it for a couple of weeks. I do think its a great natural sleep aid that certainly should be used cautiously.


7 comments:

  1. I have this very herb on my list...I have heard many great things about this delightful herb, can't wait to get IT ( with a few others) embracing herbal teas made with dry herbs & herbal infusions daily is so exciting. Thank you, CO for sharing your inspirational journey in the way of healthy eating...that is what really allowed me to turn on the light bulb...that had been turned off for so long !
    I did my very first dry herb tea last night...I started off in baby steps( which is best , for me..lol) which was simple dry chamomile tea, w/ a pinch of dry peppermint...It was not that bad, I mean I must get use to the taste, but it is something I plan to use often. Now, I'm off to prepare a dry nettle tea infusion...which has some really great benefits, I'll keep you posted...which me luck (smiles)

    Take care.

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  2. I've heard of valerian root before as a sleep aid. I didn't know about the side effects though. Thanks for posting this!

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  3. @Zainab1 - Congrats on your first herb tea! This is exciting! I do have nettle in my herb stash so I will definitely be trying it. I'm so used to using all of my herbs in and herbal ACV rinse that I hadn't considered dropping some into a tea. Hmmm, chamomile & peppermint. Now you have have thinking of some possible combos to try. =)

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  4. @CallaLily - You're welcome. Yes, you should check every medicinal herb for possible side effects. And remember, herbs are the things that most pharmaceutical drugs are based on. I believe that once the "natural" part of the medicinal is altered, it turns into something that can harm the body as opposed to healing it.

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  5. Side effect #2 seems scary. I never like that droggy feeling from taking anything; I feel like my body is there but I'm not in control. Is that how it felt? I usually drink camomile tea but this sounds pretty interesting especially for the use for menstrual cramps (imagine at this age, I still get that). Where did you get it?

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  6. @Carrli - Hey Lady! I felt like I needed to finish sleeping. I wouldn't say it was a groggy feeling b/c I was still able to function. I still drove my daughter to school. I was just still very sleepy.
    I purchased the herb from Sevenanda. It's an organic & natural foods co-op in Atlanta. I'm sure you could find it at most natural foods and health stores that carry loose herbs.

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  7. This is excellent news. Many will benefit from this especially those suffering from insomia.
    herbal supplements online

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