Health / 16.12.2014

What it does… valerian

By Healthy Magazine
Can’t sleep? Anxious? Valerian is the herb of choice for both, as well as other conditions where stress is a trigger

95 Valerian

What is it?

A native European plant whose root is used medicinally; valerenic acid is key constituent.

What does it do?

Helps you sleep: A great alternative to common sedative drugs, like diazepam, valerian not only helps you fall asleep, it also improves sleep quality.

Eases anxiety: US studies indicate that the herb is a useful alternative to prescription drugs and helps reduce panic attacks and other unpleasant symptoms that accompany anxiety.

Manages pain: Anecdotal evidence shows valerian can be helpful in managing pain associated with sciatica and neuralgia.

Alleviates migraine: As it’s both anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxant, valerian can help ease tension headaches and conditions where muscle tension is a problem.

Beats the pain of IBS: Valerian has anti-spasmodic effects, so can ease intestinal spasms in a condition that is often associated with stress.

When do I need it?

Whenever you’re struggling with insomnia or anxiety.

How do I get it?

Valerian is available in tablets and tinctures. Look for the THR mark (traditional herbal registration). It’s also an ingredient in many ‘sleep’ teas.

Stick to the recommended dose and if dozy the next day, avoid driving and try a lower dose next time.

Be careful if…

Steer clear of valerian if already taking medication for anxiety or insomnia as combining the two intensifies the sedative effect.