People are looking for safe and natural alternatives, and many Valerian root sleep studies have proven the effectiveness of this herb, with little or no side effects reported
** Please keep in mind the following information is for the Valerian Root. We made a Valerian Root Resin Extract that is more concentrated with the active constituents! **
A soft concentrated resin extract
Valerian Root-Active Constituents
- Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA)
- Alkaloids-actinidine, chatinine, skyanthine, valerianine, valerine.
- Valepotriates-valerates, dihydrovalerates, valerosidate.
- Volatile Oils-monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, valerenyl esters.
- Phenylpropanoids-caffeic and chlorogenic acids.
- Sesquiterpenoids-valerenolic acid and acetylvalerenolic acid.
Although not specifically named in Roman or Greek medical writings, Hippocrates was believed to be using valerian root as a medicinal agent for sleep problems as early as 420 BC. Valerian root has been used in Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia; as documented in Greek, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, and Renaissance texts. It was used to promote sleep, as a sedative, to relieve nausea, and for urinary and gastrointestinal issues.
Valerian root is most commonly used to induce sleep in people with mild to moderate insomnia. In addition to inducing sleep, it is also used as a natural sedative, to calm anxiety, and in the treatment of pain and muscle spasms.
Mechanisms of Action
Most of the modern research on this herb centers around the traditional use of valerian root sleep preparations, as well as it’s use as a sedative, muscle relaxant, and naturally occurring hypnotic. Researchers have paid close attention to the effect of valerian root on the GABA neurotransmitter receptors. Although clear results have been demonstrated, the mechanism with which valerian affects these receptors is not clear, and more research is needed.
Valerian extract appears to have some effect on the GABA (benzodiazepine) receptor. But this effect does not appear to be caused by the valerenic acid, but by the high concentration of GABA itself. The amount of GABA present is enough to account for the release of GABA by the synaptosomes, and also may inhibit reuptake. However, GABA does not cross the blood brain barrier very well at low concentrations, so the in vitro tests cannot account for results observed in the clinical studies. Catabolism of GABA may be inhibited by valeronic and acetylvalerenolic acid.
Studies on rats have clearly demonstrated that valerian root has sedating properties. Studies involving valerian root demonstrate that it’s effects are similar to benzodiazepines (Valium, Librium); however, only mild anti-convulsive properties were found. These tests can not be considered conclusive though because they have not all been reproduced, so more testing is needed.
Many valerian root sleep studies have been conducted with varying degrees of success, and often contradictory results. It is generally accepted that valerian is useful as a sleep aid and sedative.
There have been reports that valerian root improves sleep quality and decreases the time it takes to fall asleep. Some objective sleep studies showed no difference between the valerian and the placebo group in regards to sleep stages, sleep latency, awakening, and EEG patterns. Other objective studies indicated increased rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, increases slow wave sleep, decreased stage 1 sleep, increased K-complexes, and decrease in wake time after sleep onset. More valerian root sleep research is needed.
A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial was conducted to measure the effectiveness of valerian root for benzodiazepine withdraw. Study participants were given 100 mg Valmane 3 times daily. A subjective improvement in sleep quality was observed over the placebo group, and an objective decrease in wake time after sleep onset was noted; however, the valerian group took longer to fall asleep. The studies authors concluded that valerian root was beneficial for those patients suffering from benzodiazepine withdraw.
One randomized, placebo controlled pilot study involving people with general anxiety disorder showed no significant difference between the placebo group and the valerian group in the Hamilton Anxiety Scale. However, the studies authors noted that the study was small and that more research in this area is needed.
Another randomized placebo controlled trial was conducted in children with various hyperactivity problems and difficulty sleeping. The valerian root group showed a significant improvement in sleep duration and quality of sleep compared to the placebo group. Since this was a small study, it is agreed upon that more research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn about the use of valerian in children.
There is little information available about reactions between valerian root and any other drugs. However, caution should be used when combining any valerian root sleep formula with drugs that are used for insomnia, anxiety, or as a sedative, because of potential additive effects. Valerian Root side effects are rare.
These claims have not been evaluated or confirmed by the FDA (like any herbal supplement), but there is a long history of use of these herbs and extracts for the above mentioned medicinal purposes.