Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Valerian Root Tea Recipes, Benefits and Side Effects


Valerian Plant Preparations

Native to Europe, Asia and North America, Valerian currently flourishes in many parts of the world. The name is derived from the Latin word “valere” which is associated with vitality and health. The root of the plant is believed to contain active healing compounds and it has been used medicinal for more than 2,000 years. In the 2nd Century A.D., Galen advised Valerian root as a remedy for wakefulness or insomnia. It has also long played an integral role in traditional Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
The genus Valerian includes more than 250 different species, however V. officinalis is the species most often used medicinally in Europe and North America. Many North American Indian tribes traditionally used the herb for treating nervous conditions including wakefulness, anxiety, depression and insomnia as well as a topical treatment for open wounds, itchy skin conditions, scrapes and burns.
During the 16th Century, valerian essential oil was a prized ingredient in perfume and bath oils. When essential oil was generously added to a warm bath followed by a cup of valerian root tea, a sound sleep was assured. In recent times, valerian was recommended during World War II to combat the fear, anxiety, depression and stress of air raids and the rigors of war.

Benefits of Valerian Tea

Valerian is considered an effective herbal remedy for the treatment of chronic insomnia and is well tolerated by most persons. The various active properties in the valerian plant (flowers and roots) stimulate the release of GABA (gamma aminobutryic acid), a neurotransmitter the helps promote restful sleep.
Studies suggest valerian root tea works best when used on a continual basis rather than as an acute sleep aid for immediate effects. One of the biggest potential advantages over prescription “sleeping pills” (benzodiazepines) is the lack of a “hangover”. There is no reported grogginess or sleepiness upon awakening the next morning when used in recommended dosages. Valerian has proved useful in helping wean patients with insomnia from a dependency on benzodiazepines.
Valerian also plays a role in sports medicine with some athletes taking the herbal supplement to improve sleep quality and trigger the production of increased growth hormone. Research studies indicate that valerian root may increase the amount of GABA released from nerve endings in addition to preventing GABA from being re-absorbed by nerve cells, thus providing more of it available in the brain via these two mechanisms.

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