People have used Valerian root as a sleep aid since the 18th century. Researchers have isolated the active plant substances to try to establish how they affect sleep, but they are still unsure of the mechanism involved. Various studies investigated the efficacy and safety of Valerian root as a treatment for certain sleep disorders. The findings suggest that Valerian root could be beneficial in treating these disorders. However, comparisons between the different studies are challenging due to different Valerian preparations and doses. The researchers concluded that valerian root could be a safe and effective alternative treatment for sleep disorders.
Valerian contains a substance known as Valerenic acid that is believed to affect Gamma -Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) receptors in the brain. It is believed that one of the purposes of GABA is to control fear or Anxiety experienced when nerve cells are overexcited. By doing so, Valerian may act as a mild sedative and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing drug) that helps in inducing better sleep.
Valerian root is generally dried, then made into a tea, tincture, capsule, or tablet. These forms of valerian root are available without a prescription in pharmacies, grocery stores, and online. Valerian root supplements are very popular natural sleep aids.
More research is needed, but Valerian Root may impact the body in a variety of ways with its multiple effects.