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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Dietary Supplements >>  Valerian


Valerian has been noted for its use as a medicinal herb dating back to ancient Greece, and Rome, advocated by many philosophers such as Galen for its healing properties. Its name is believed to be derived, in fact, from the Latin word valere, which means “healthy”. Appearance-wise, it is a green perennial plant that produces fragrant pink or white flowers during the months of June through September. While valerian was once only native to certain areas found in Europe and Asia, it s now cultivated in most parts of the world, partly because of its effectiveness as an ingredient in both herbal medicines and dietary supplements.  

Even today, valerian continues to be a popular choice among medical practitioners.
Valerian extracts are known as remedies for a host of medical illnesses and disorders, including insomnia and anxiety, and is often prescribed as a sedative.  Studies have proven valerian to have a marked improvement on patients suffering from sleeping disorders. The effectiveness of the herb has only been shown to increase with constant use over certain periods of time, and lessens the time it takes for the patient to fall asleep. More importantly, the valerian root is known to have long lasting effects, more so than most other similar remedies.  

Valerian can also be used to treat anxiety disorder treatments, and is often used as a muscle relaxant. This is often combined with other kinds of medicinal herbs such as passionflower, for anxiety medication. Valerian can also help in acne treatments, irritable bowel syndrome aids, flatulence cures, pain relievers, and as a control for menstrual cramps and bleeding. Valerian is often recommended for adults, requiring a dosage that can be anywhere from 400 to 900 milligrams of the extract, although experts suggest an average does f 250 to 500 milligrams a day. It is also advised that valerian be taken roughly half an hour to an hour before going to bed. Valerian can also be taken in the form of a tea, although no known studies have proven the effectiveness of the herb if taken in this manner.  

There are several side effects to taking valerian, but the benefits of taking the herb easily outweigh its drawbacks. Symptoms such as dizziness, grogginess and nausea can be experienced by patients. Decreasing the dosage can help alleviate these effects, although people with known allergies to plants found in the valerianaceae family should avoid valerian at all costs. Drowsiness can increase if taken with other herbs and medicines, and it is important to inform your doctor of any medicine you are taking before availing of valerian. Pregnant and nursing women are also advised not to take valerian, primarily because adverse effects on them have not yet been proven. Although valerian is not an addictive substance, It is also no recommended to take it for longer than two weeks, also in part to prevent patients from depending too much on the herb.  

Lauded for its numerous medicinal values, valerian is easily a better alternative than most of the drugs and antibiotics available to patients. Whether you are suffering from insomnia or seeking to find an effective anxiety disorder treatment, valerian ensures that you, at the very least, can enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Submitted on January 16, 2014