Unable to fall asleep at night due to an overactive mind?
Valerian to the rescue!
For much of my life, falling asleep at night has felt like a struggle. I'd find myself tired during the day, sometimes even counting down the hours until bed, only to find myself wide awake when it was time to sleep.
Though my body was tired, my mind would race with ideas, questions, worries, and doubts. Even though I've struggled for years, nothing I tried seemed to help.
During a particularly stressful time, prior to my herbal studies, my Dr. prescribed Lorazepam; a medicine often prescribed for anxiety. Though Lorazepam can be very effective for anxiety, whenever I took it I would feel exhausted and groggy the following morning. Unfortunately, that is a common side effect of anxiolytic drugs (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, etc.).
Looking for healthier approaches, I tried chamomile tea. Chamomile has properties that can help your quality of sleep. There are some wonderful chamomile blends, one which I will share in a future post, but that alone did not work for me.
Finally, during my Herbal studies, I discovered Valerian, an anti-anxiety herb.
A study done in Iran showed Valeriana officinalis contains arginine, glutamine, alanine, and GABA. The study showed that the Gaba concentration decreased the onset sleep time, improved sleep disorder, avoided frequent waking during sleep, and ultimately improved the quality of sleep. The study concluded that Valeriana could be used as an alternative to chemical medicines such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, hypnotics, and anti-stress and that Valerian can reduce the extreme symptoms of PMS.
Valerian is also a sedative and hypnotic, but for 10% of people it can act as a stimulant instead (a similar side effect to a lot of medications as well). Valeriana officinalis is also great for stress-induced pain in the stomach. It is very safe if you want to use it long term...no side effects!
Valerian’s name is derived from Latin valere, which means, “to be well.” Does it say it all? Nope! There is more…
Valerian root has also been used for its sedating medicinal qualities and effectiveness in treating stress-related disorders. Valerian reduces mental over-activity and nervous excitability, helping people who find it difficult to “turn the brain off.”
Believe me, it works!
After working with the herb for a whole month, mostly drinking it at night, my mind was not all over the place. I found myself more focused during the day, and in the morning was not feeling groggy. The next morning, instead of feeling tired, I feel calmer and more relaxed. There was absolutely no drowsiness after drinking valerian tea, and I can sleep through the whole night. What a win!!
One cup a night is all I need to drift off to sleep quickly and wake up refreshed and ready for the day.
How to make a cup of valerian tea to induce sleep :
To be honest, for me, this is all about the sleep, not the enjoyment of the tea. Valerian does not have a pleasant odor AT ALL. If it really bothers you, add in some spearmint to cut the odor.
8 oz of water
2 full tablespoons of valerian root (preferably dried root)
Boil water and pour it on the herb and let it steep for at least 15 mins. Best if taken 2 hours prior to bedtime and more if needed. Enjoy it!!
You can of course play around with flavors to modify your blend - let me know what you like to add.
Good to know :
Valerian should not be taken for more than 3 months. Patients with liver problems should not use Valeriana Officinalis, and it should not be taken in conjunction with sleep-inducing medication.
As with all herbs, please consult with your doctors if you have allergies or are taking any other medications.
***The information presented is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your physician or any other medical professional. Please contact me with any questions or comments! ***
FREE Spice Things Up In Your Bedroom Guide
Download this short guide on how to use natural remedies to spice things up in the bedroom!
AUTHOR: Bianca Weissman is an OSYL Holistic Herbalist who believes that in most cases the balance between eastern and western medicine is a necessity in order to help individuals heal and feel better for the long haul. Let Bianca work with you and help you better understand the multitude of holistic ways you can live a healthier life without the side effects of pharmaceuticals.
Find out more about Bianca and her services HERE.