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Eric First, M.D., FAIS and Matthew Roberts, Ph.D
Valerian root (valeriana officinalis) is one of the main ingredients in R3SET’s stress-fighting, rest-promoting Unwind supplements. Our Unwind capsules contain our signature formula of botanicals and other important nutrients, all of which are backed by scientific studies and research.
In this post, we’ll be filling you in on everything you need to know about valerian root – where it comes from, what it’s used for, and how it can help you deal with everyday anxieties as part of the R3SET Stress-Less regimen*.
What is Valerian Root?
Valerian is a plant that is native to parts of Europe, Asia, and parts of North America. This plant is well-known for its calming, relaxation-inducing properties, which have been capitalized on by the societies where the plant grows for millenia.
For thousands of years, valerian has been used for medicinal purposes, especially to ease restlessness and as a sleep aid.
What Are Its Benefits For Stress and Anxiety?
The calming effects of valerian root on an anxious mind are not fully understood. However, the current scientific speculation is that valerian root aids in the maintenance of the levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) within your central nervous system (CNS).
GABA, an amino acid, binds to receptors in your brain, producing a calming, relaxing effect. Many prescription anti-anxiety medications work by increasing GABA levels as well, but these medications have a greater potential for side effects and dependency than valerian root.
Although valerian root has calming, relaxing effects, it cannot be used in place of anti-anxiety medication that you have been prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist. Valerian root should not be taken simultaneously with benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax or other barbiturates due to their combined sedation effects. Valerian root extract has been used as a sleep aid for those suffering from benzodiazepine withdrawal, as directed by a healthcare professional.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), doesn't monitor dietary supplements and herbs in the same way that it regulates prescription drugs, the administration has acknowledged that valerian root is generally recognized as safe.
It’s always important to stick with your prescribed medication and consult a healthcare professional for medical advice before making any changes to your anxiety-fighting regimen to avoid adverse effects and drug interactions.
Why Use Natural Remedies to Deal With Stress?
Stress is a universal part of being human. Everyone knows how it feels to be stressed, overwhelmed, and feel like you’re drowning in responsibilities and obligations. From work to relationships to finances to nearly everything else under the sun, stressors are everywhere.
Anything can become a stressor, too – once your relationship with something or someone starts to take more from you than it gives back, it tends to be a source of stress. Thus, finding ways to keep stress under control as much as possible is absolutely essential for a healthy, well-balanced life.
Stress affects your body and mind in numerous negative ways. While everyday, run-of-the-mill stress is natural and can even be a healthy and protective mechanism, chronic stress is another story.
Chronic stress develops when you start constantly feeling overwhelmed with minimal relief. This leaves your body’s fight-or-flight response almost always engaged. While this response is designed to protect you from real threats, it’s not much help when there isn’t really anything threatening you!
In addition to disrupting your nervous system, the source of your fight-or-flight response, chronic stress can also cause problems for your immune system and your endocrine system. Over time, the negative effects of stress on these three key systems can lead to major health problems. That means now is the best time to start conquering your stress through making healthy, practical improvements to your lifestyle.
One of the best ways to deal with everyday stress and anxiety is by including natural remedies like valerian root in your daily routine*. These natural supplements can provide a boost of calm when things start to get overwhelming. In addition, you can add to the effectiveness of your stress-fighting regimen by opting for healthy habits like meditation and exercise, as well as making sleep and healthy eating high priorities.
When you conquer your stress naturally, you may not have to rely on prescription medications and other means that can potentially come with side effects and other unwanted issues. However, it’s also important to know when prescription medication is necessary.
If you are dealing with severe long-term stress, make sure to talk to your doctor about whether supplements and/or medication are best for you.
Valerian Root and Sleep
One of Valerian root’s primary uses is to support a good night's sleep. A systematic review of the many scientific studies on subject concluded with statistical confidence that “The available evidence suggests that valerian might improve sleep quality without producing side effects”
Insomnia is one of the most frustrating issues anyone can deal with. When you can’t seem to fall asleep at night, it’s easy to quickly get burnt-out and discouraged. If you have occasional sleep problems or simply want to explore the benefits of better sleep, valerian root is an herbal that's worth trying.
Valerian root’s interaction with GABA within your brain is the primary basis for its use to help you sleep. When you take a valerian root supplement 30 minutes to an hour before bed, its calming, soothing effects should start to kick in right around the time when you are trying to fall asleep.
In addition, Valerian root can be paired with other beneficial, complementary, sleep-boosting ingredients, including L-Theanine, chamomile, passion flower, and more. Valerian root extracts can help prepare your body for rest and promote healthy sleep quality, helping you get a night of restorative rest*.
If sleeplessness is one of your primary sources of stress, breaking out of the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation can work wonders for your overall well-being. Stress and sleep deprivation often feed into each other – you struggle to sleep because of stress, and you’re stressed because you’re struggling to sleep.
Therefore, if you can find effective ways to naturally calm and soothe your restless mind as you are going to bed, you may quickly find yourself living a less stressed life during the day as well.
Why Use Valerian Root For Sleep?
So, why choose a natural sleep aid like valerian root? There are plenty of prescription and over-the-counter sleeping medications to choose from. However, many of these medications come with safety risks, whereas valerian root is generally regarded as safe by the FDA. Some medications can also cause uncomfortable – or potentially dangerous – side effects, where valerian root is not known to have unwanted side effects.
Nevertheless, it’s always wise to consult your doctor before you start using valerian root to help you sleep. Your healthcare provider can offer expert advice regarding potential interactions between valerian root and other medications you take. In addition, your doctor can also advise you regarding timing your dosage, as well as how much valerian root is right for you.
It’s always helpful to keep your doctor involved in all aspects of your medication and supplement regimens!
Valerian Root’s Different Forms
As a supplement, you can take valerian root in a variety of different forms. Some of the most common types of valerian root supplements are teas, capsules, and liquid-based drops.
So, which of these forms of valerian root is the “best?” It really comes down to what form you prefer. As long as your valerian root supplement is made by a reputable company and includes a high-quality form of its main ingredient, you may benefit from this natural remedy, in any form.
However, we recommend taking valerian root in conjunction with other beneficial, stress-fighting ingredients. If your stress management regimen includes a massive assortment of teas, tinctures, capsules, tablets, and more, it’s easy to get overwhelmed quickly. If your supplement routine feels like too much to handle, you may find yourself forsaking it completely.
Instead of overcomplicating things and setting yourself up for frustration, stick with R3SET’s Unwind capsules as your primary source of valerian root. These high-quality supplements are our signature nighttime defense against stress*.
For our proprietary formulas, we’ve combined valerian root with a wide array of other natural stress-fighting ingredients. By taking Unwind capsules at night and our Calm capsules during the day, you can set yourself up with strong support against stress 24/7*.
Is There Anyone Who Shouldn’t Use Valerian Root?
As an herbal supplement, valerian root is generally regarded as safe by the FDA.. However, there are a few important considerations to make before you start including this herbal remedy in your daily routine.
Valerian Root Can Interact With Some Medications
If you are currently on any prescription antidepressant or antipsychotic medication, it’s best to approach taking valerian root with extra caution. These medications can interact with natural supplements or vice versa.. These interactions can decrease the effectiveness of the supplements and medications that you take.
Overall, the best way to avoid negative interactions within your medication and supplement regimen is to consult your doctor before adding valerian root – or any other supplement – to your daily routine.
Valerian Root Can’t Be Taken With Prescription Sleep Aids
Because valerian root has calming effects, it’s important not to try mixing the herbal remedy with stronger, prescription-level sleep aids. These medications are designed to have a powerful sedating effect, which can be compounded by the use of natural sleep aids like valerian root. If you are taking a prescription medication for insomnia or other sleep issues, it’s best not to try adding herbal remedies into the mix.
Be Careful Mixing Valerian Root and Alcohol
Valerian root’s sedating effects make it an ingredient to be mindful about when consuming alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant – it tends to make you tired – and the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol can sometimes be compounded by certain medications and supplements.
When consuming alcohol in moderation while supplementing with valerian root should be safe, it’s important to talk to your doctor if drinking is part of your lifestyle and if you are interested in taking valerian root as a sleep aid.
Does Valerian Root Have Any Side Effects?
When taking valerian root, side effects are uncommon. When they do pop up they are usually uncomfortable, not harmful or dangerous. The most common side effects experienced when taking valerian root are nausea, dizziness, and headaches. However, these side effects usually don’t appear unless you are taking a very high dose of this herbal remedy.
The best way to avoid running into any uncomfortable side effects while taking valerian root is to take the daily dose recommended by your doctor and directions for use on that particular product which will recommend the proper dosage and frequency of use for that specific brand.
Taking a dose that is too high may put you at a higher risk of side effects, and it likely will not increase the benefits of valerian root for stress relief or sleep.
Valerian root is one of the best natural remedies for stress and the occasional trouble getting to sleep*. It’s considered safe, with minimal risk of side effects when used as directed. However, it’s still a supplement to approach with care and wisdom.
Whether valerian root is the right choice for you depends on a few key aspects of your lifestyle – the medications you take, what your specific stress-related concerns are, and more.
We recommend including valerian root in your daily routine by taking a supplement about an hour before bed. Valerian root’s calming, soothing effects may help you deal with that everyday restlessness, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Valerian root and valerenic acids may also help with symptoms of other health conditions like anxiety disorders and hot flashes from menopause.
Our Unwind capsules, formulated with valerian root and other complimentary natural active botanical ingredients, are a convenient all in one source for a boost of nighttime calm*.
If you’re struggling to conquer your stress, R3SET’s Calm and Unwind capsules are the support you’ve been looking for. Our formula includes calming ingredients like chamomile, GABA, L-theanine, passionflower, ashwagandha, lemon balm, ahi flower oil, and more.
In addition, if you’re curious about stress management, make sure to check out the R3SET blog. There, you’ll find a wide array of helpful articles about the science of stress, how chronic stress affects your body, and practical steps you can take to get the relief you need.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4394901/ (National Institutes of Health)https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response (Harvard University)