Valerian: A Natural Alternative to Sleep Aids

Valerian is a mild, non-addictive herbal sedative that has been used for over 1,000 years. It is used for many reasons, including insomnia, menstrual cramps, nervous headaches, restlessness, gastric spasms, sleeplessness from nervous conditions, and other conditions caused by psychological stress.

Along with a mild sedative effect, valerian is also known for its mild pain relief properties, and mild hypotensive effects. Also, when used topically in a warm bath, valerian works great for restlessness and insomnia. Valerian is a widely available. If you can not seem to find valerian, look for it under some of its other names. Valerian is often called all-heal, vandal root, setwall, setewale, radix, baldrian, capon’s tail, garden heliotrope, amantills, as well as Belgium, Pacific, and Mexican valerian.

Valerian comes in many forms. The most common are dried root, capsules, tablets and essential oils. It can also be found in tea, tincture, extract forms, as well as some combination products. The size of capsules can range from 100 milligrams, to 1,000 milligrams, and tablets come in 160 and 550 milligrams. Depending on its use, you can find the perfect amount for you very easily.

Care should be used with valerian, just like any other medication. You should never use valerian at the same time as other sedatives, such as, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. You should also avoid using it with other herbs with sedative effects like, hops, catnip, skullcap, kava kava, and passionflower. Also, as with most herbs and drugs, pregnant and breast-feeding women should not use valerian.

Some people have other adverse reactions. Some include contact allergy with the skin when used topically, headaches, stomach uneasiness and aches, and in rare cases, cardiac disturbances. It is always wise to check with your doctor before using any substance.

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