dread going to bed because all you do is lie there and count millions
of sheep, then you may find valerian to be dreamy. Its mild sedative
properties offer a natural and safe approach to calmer nerves and a
better night’s sleep.
further appreciation of its health benefits, it is possible to study
valerian (as well as other herbs) through the lens of herbal astrology.
From this angle, we can better understand why this botanical remedy
may be of value to health and well being.
is ruled by the planet Mercury, which governs the astrological signs
of Gemini and Virgo. The planet Mercury embodies many of the qualities
of its Roman god namesake, who is often referred to as the “messenger
of the gods.” Therefore, Mercury reflects the essence of communication,
the ability to intellectually bridge the gap that exists between separate
entities in order to create a sense of connection and understanding.
Its essential energy is very quick, and oftentimes restless, as its
exuberant curiosity continues on a quest for input in order to “figure
astrology, Mercury rules the body systems that function as messengers
or conduits for communication. As such, it governs the central nervous
system, the endocrine (hormonal) system and the respiratory system.
As Mercury is associated with our mental attitudes, it can also be related
to the nervousness, tension and stress.
and Sleep Disorders
valerian may calm the Mercurial restlessness of mind and body that is
often associated with sleep disturbances. Clinical research has shown
that valerian offers benefits to people who experience insomnia and
other milder sleep disorders related to nervous conditions (this clinical
application of valerian has been approved by the German Commission E).
benefits those who suffer from sleep disorders through its ability to
reduce the time required to fall asleep (sleep latency) as well as improve
sleep quality. In clinical research studies, valerian has been shown
to be as effective as benzodiazapenes (i.e. Valium, Xanax) in reducing
sleep latency. Valerian has also been shown to improve the quality of
sleep through its ability to increase deep sleep, extend dreamtime and
reduce the occurrence of nighttime awakenings.
and Mild Anxiety
valerian has been shown to exert mild sedating effects on the Mercury-ruled
central nervous system, it has also been shown to be of benefit in cases
of mild anxiety. Traditional uses of valerian for anxiety and nervousness
extend back throughout the centuries, with one of its noted historical
uses being as a tonic to calm the nerves of citizens of Great Britain
during World War I air raids. While valerian’s clinical application
for mild anxiety is not listed as a therapeutic use by the Commission
E, today many naturally-oriented health care practitioners have found
that valerian’s sedative properties greatly help patients who experience
is thought to affect the same receptors in the brain as benzodiazapenes,
it may offer significant benefits over these pharmaceutical drugs. Valerian
binds to these brain receptors in a much weaker manner, and therefore
has not been found to be physiologically addictive or habit forming.
Additionally, it does not create the groggy feeling of “morning hangover”
or the impairment of performance frequently associated with these drugs.
to Use Valerian
is available in a variety of forms, including tinctures, teas, capsules
and tablets. For treatment of sleep disorders, many naturally-oriented
healthcare practitioners recommend a dosage of 300-500 milligrams root
extract (standardized to contain no less than 0.5 percent essential
oils) or four to six milliliters alcohol-based tincture 30 to 60 minutes
before bedtime. If using valerian for mild anxiety, it is often recommended
to also take it in the morning at a level equal to half the nighttime
dosage. Oftentimes valerian can be found in combination formulas that
also feature the herbs hops, passionflower and/or skullcap.
valerian in tea or tincture form to a nighttime bath is another way
to enjoy the relaxing effects that this herb imparts. Be aware that
its odor is not one of its most revered qualities. Therefore, you may
want to add some other fragrant herbs or essential oils (such as lavender,
rose or geranium) to your bath as well.
safety seems to be so well established that even the United States Pharmacopoeia
has recognized it as safe. The Commission E does not list any contraindications
for the use of valerian (not even for pregnancy or lactation).
It is important
to always consult a licensed healthcare provider if you are thinking
of using valerian or other dietary supplements to treat any health condition.
Additionally, you should tell your healthcare provider about all of
the dietary supplements that you are taking so that s/he can evaluate
any potential drug-supplement interactions.
note: The health information given in this article is not meant
as a substitute for care from a qualified physician. This information
is given for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose
or prescribe. StarIQ.com is not responsible for any mishaps that occur
as a result of using this information.