April 11, 2010 · By ·
A tool I always have on hand as part of my personal toolbox is Valerian Root. Now, I’d like to point out that I am not a Doctor, and as with any supplement or herb you should always consult your Doctor before starting- especially if you are on medications, are concerned about your health, nursing or pregnant. That being said, Valerian Root is a natural herb, sold at any health food store, in many grocery stores, and in many brands of tea. This post is not meant to be a necessarily be a plug for Valerian Root, but an example of the variety you can include in your toolbox to help you to create more balance in your life. So, on we go….. Picture by Clare Owen Illustration Valerian Root’s History Valerian Root is an ancient herb (we are talking ancient Greece and Rome) with centuries of history for treating nervousness, sleep problems, and anxiety disorders. In more recent times, numerous scientific studies have shown Valerian Root to be an effective sedative for both the brain and body aiding in physical relaxation and mental/emotional calming. Current Uses Currently, Valerian Root is most commonly used as a remedy for insomnia. And I have to say, I find it to be a wonderful alternative to over-the-counter sleep aids. It doesn’t “knock you out” and leave you feeling groggy in the morning. It just allows you to relax and easily slip into a natural sleep restorative sleep, so you wake feeling refreshed and rested. I discovered Valerian Root during grad school and couldn’t have made it though those years without it. I added Valerian Root to my bedtime routine many nights when 2-4 hours of sleep was all I could afford. It allowed my body to get the rest it needed out of those short periods of sleep so I woke feeling rested vs. more tired. Other Uses Besides treating insomnia, Valerian Root’s relaxation effects on muscles makes it a helpful tool in relieving body tension and aches (including migraines and headaches), stomach and menstrual cramps, and digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Valerian Root is also helpful in reducing stress-related anxiety, calming panic attacks, and decreasing restlessness and stress-related depression. Where to find Valerian Root Valerian Root can be found on it’s own or in combination with other herbs in pill, liquid herbal extract, and tea form. Valerian Root supplements can be found at any health food store, Whole Foods, Fred Meyers, Super Supplements, even Bartell Drugs carry’s Valerian Root. Also, many tea’s have Valerian Root as an ingredient. Two of my favorites are Bedtime Tea by Yogi Tea, and Sweet Dreams tea found at Dandelion Botanical Company in Ballard.