Many people worldwide struggle with getting a good night's sleep. With the stresses of everyday life, sleep disorders such as insomnia are on the rise. For those who find falling asleep quickly difficult, it becomes increasingly challenging to stay asleep. As they toss and turn, night after night, their sleep quality is compromised, increasing stress and affecting their daily lives.
In the quest for better sleep and a more relaxed state, people are looking at alternative medicine to provide a stable solution. Valerian root supplements and, more importantly, valerian root tea, are gaining popularity as all-natural sleep aids. This article focuses on the relaxing properties of valerian tea and all of the other excellent healthy benefits this delicious cup of brew offers.
Valerian Root Tea History
Today's world may seem to be all about the hustle and the bustle, but even in ancient times, people needed ways to relax. Valerian tea has a long-standing history as one of the more popular herbal remedies to treat various health issues, including anxiety and stress.
Scientifically known as Valeriana officinalis, the name "Valerian" is believed to be derived from the Latin word "valere," which means "to be strong" or "healthy." This makes sense because the valerian plant secured a reputation for promoting strength, well-being, and vitality.
The herb, native to Europe and Asia, has been used for centuries, especially in ancient Greece and Rome, where traditional healers valued valerian root for its medicinal properties.
In those early days of ancient Greece and Rome, valerian tea made its mark as an herbal remedy - and the trend continues to this day. Even The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that valerian is safe for most adults to take for short periods.
The flowers of the valerian plant have a pleasant scent, but taking valerian root may be difficult for some people because the plant's root has a strong odor. When it comes to valerian root supplementation, such as capsules, tablets, and tinctures, only the underground stems (roots, rhizomes), and horizontal stems (stolons) of valerian are used.
What is the Difference Between Valerian Extract and Valerian Root Extract?
There is a distinct difference between the two types of valerian extracts. The main difference lies in the specific part of the plant used and the extraction process for each part.
Valerian extract - This extract typically encompasses a broader range of plant components, including the roots, rhizomes, and sometimes the aerial parts. This type of extraction can yield a diverse array of compounds, contributing to a more holistic representation of the plant's properties.
Valerian root extract - This extract specifically targets the underground parts of the plant, with a primary focus on the roots where the majority of active compounds are found. This focused extraction results in a product with a higher potency of valerenic acid and other critical constituents known for their calming and sedative effects.
While both extracts share similarities in how they promote relaxation in human sleep, the choice between the two depends on personal preference. Valerian dietary supplements can contain varying concentrations of the plant's properties but may also have a more comprehensive range of therapeutic benefits. It is crucial to speak to your doctor first to determine which valerian root herbal supplement is right for you.
Valerian Root Benefits
Sipping any hot cup of tea already has a soothing effect on the body, mind, and spirit. Imagine that the cup of tea you're enjoying is actually relaxing you on a chemical level. According to research, valerian root may have a sedative effect on the body.
It all starts with the specific compounds in valeriana officinalis such as valerenic acid and valerenol. These compounds influence GABA receptors within the body. GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is a crucial chemical messenger pivotal in regulating nerve impulses in the central nervous system.
As a primary neurotransmitter responsible for regulating sleep, a sedative effect is created when the levels of GABA are increased in the body. The anxiolytic effects of valerenic acid and valerenol help with the modulation of GABA receptors, increasing the availability of GABA in the central nervous system.
Valerian's effects on the body are a perfect way to improve sleep and reduce morning drowsiness, comparable to the way prescription sedative medications work. However, with valerian, you'll get all of the benefits without the adverse effects, such as withdrawal symptoms with prescribed sleep or sedative meds.
Furthermore, compounds present in valeriana officinalis exhibit interactions with serotonin and adenosine receptors, key chemicals in keeping a balance in your sleep structure and mood. Let's look at how taking valerian can help bring some much-needed rest and relaxation back into your life.
#1. An All-Natural Sleep Aid
At the top of our list is one of the most studied benefits of this medicinal herb - how valerian can treat insomnia and other sleep disorders while promoting and improving overall sleep quality. Due to its certain specific compounds, valerian has been used for centuries as an all-natural sleep aid treating insomnia and other sleep conditions, and today, many natural sleep aids harness the power of valerian.
Need to fall asleep quickly? Research suggests that taking valerian root as an alternative to sleep medications may help reduce your time to fall asleep. A 2020 systematic review of 60 studies concluded valerian may be a safe and effective sleep aid that improves sleep quality and prevents associated disorders such as chronic insomnia and other sleep problems such as falling asleep easily.
A study from 2011 focused on the effects of valerian extract in 100 postmenopausal women with chronic insomnia. Those in the study who received 530 mg of valerian extract twice daily for four weeks had significantly improved their sleep quality and reduced sleep disturbances compared with those who took a placebo.
Some studies suggest that valepotriates, the aromatic compounds in valerian that give it its distinctive scent may contain potential anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects within the body. Although more research is needed to uncover this potent root's full potential health benefits for a sound night of sleep, there is great promise that valerian root can significantly improve sleep quality and help those who have trouble sleeping.
#2. Reduces Anxiety And Stress
Valerian root may also help ease your anxious feelings when you're faced with a stressful situation. This herbal medicine can also help if your nervous system needs a quick and effective way to calm down.
A 2021 study of 39 people undergoing hemodialysis took 530 mg of valerian root an hour before going to sleep for an entire month. Those who took valerian found that they had significant reductions in nervous disorders and anxiety symptoms compared with a placebo. Not only was valerian great at treating sleep problems with the group, but it also helped with depression.
In addition to valerian root's potential to help with anxiety disorders, there is evidence that suggests it may help with other conditions brought on by anxious behaviors, for example, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In a 2011 study, 31 adults with OCD took 765 mg of valerian extract per day for eight weeks. The participants showed a dramatic reduction in OCD behaviors compared to those who took a placebo.
Much of these anti-anxiety findings are based on animal studies. Although the effects of whole valerian root show great promise for stress and anxiety relief, more research is needed. Research does indicate that sipping a warm cup of tea is a great way to reduce anxiety symptoms and feel more relaxed. So, if reducing anxiety is what you need, pour yourself a cup of tea, sit back, and relax.
#3. A Natural Muscle Relaxer
Valerian Root's muscle-relaxant properties are a great way to alleviate muscle tension and spasms. This makes it a potential remedy for conditions associated with muscular discomforts, such as tension headaches, muscle strains, and restless legs syndrome.
#4. Promotes Better Digestive Health
The sleep med properties of valerian are well documented, but it also contains a healthy dose of digestive soothing qualities. Historically, healers would use valerian roots to alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort and promote digestive well-being. Research suggests that this potent and powerful root may help ease symptoms of indigestion, stomach cramps, and bloating, providing a gentle remedy for common digestive issues.
#5. Relief From Menstrual Cramps and Menopausal Symptoms
For centuries, valerian has been used to help treat women's health issues. For women experiencing menstrual discomfort, taking valerian might offer some relief from pain and cramping. Its muscle-relaxing properties can help ease cramps and reduce the severity of associated symptoms, providing a natural alternative to over-the-counter medications.
Valerian may help reduce hot flashes in menopausal and postmenopausal women. In a 2018 study, postmenopausal women taking a valerian treatment of 1,060 mg per day for two months had reduced levels of hot flashes.
Women who experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or endure painful menstruation may get some much-needed relief from taking valerian. One study found that women who took valerian regularly improved their physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of PMS.
The natural calming effects of this tea are a great way to reduce the physical pain of menstruation but balance out the emotional and mental aspects that come with PMS.
Some Considerations for Consuming Valerian
While Valerian Tea offers many excellent benefits for the body, mind, and soul. Although the tea has very few adverse effects, such as withdrawal symptoms or addiction, in some rare cases, it is essential to follow a few simple guidelines before consuming. Here are our recommendations to ensure a safe and effective experience with your valerian:
Dosage and timing - Start with a low dose, especially if you are new to valerian, and gradually adjust the amount based on how your body responds to the dosage. Consuming the tea about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime is generally recommended to get the most sleep benefits.
Consistency is key- For those seeking the long-term benefits of valerian, consistency is crucial. Regular and moderate consumption is more likely to give you the best improvements in sleep quality and stress reduction.
Avoid operating heavy machinery - Due to valerian's sedative properties, avoiding activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating heavy machinery, is advisable immediately after consuming valerian.
Pregnancy and lactation - Pregnant or lactating women should exercise caution when considering valerian. While it is generally considered safe, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional before introducing any new herbal treatment due to sensitivities or allergic reactions.
May interact with prescription medications - Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions or those taking any sleep med prescriptions should consult their healthcare provider before incorporating valerian tea, capsules, tinctures, and essential oils into their routine. This is especially important to avoid potential interactions with other medications.
Enjoy Your Valerian Tea Experience Today!
Valerian tea can be one of the best teas to drink when you need a good night's sleep or to enjoy moments of calmness and relaxation. The natural stress-relieving properties make this tea a great tea to drink before a big meeting or presentation or, in general, when you live a high-stress life. It can also help ease digestive issues and menstrual cramps and relax your tired and sore muscles.
Valerian, combined with other spices and herbs, can be an effective sleep aid and delicious tea. For one of the best-tasting teas that harness the power of valerian with aromatic and flavorful herbs and spices, try this one from Firebelly. You'll get an irresistible taste that is sure to please while giving you all the relaxing properties of this small but mighty root.