Is insomnia keeping you up at night? Try valerian. This herb is known to help with sleep disorders, especially insomnia. Like other natural remedies, valerian is great because you won’t find yourself emptying your wallet as you might with prescription medications.
Numerous studies have found that valerian improves your overall quality of sleep by helping you fall asleep faster and aiding you in getting a deep slumber. It works like a sedative on your brain and nervous system. Be aware that there are some who actually feel energized after taking valerian. If this happens to you, it’s best to incorporate it into your daytime routine.
This super herb is able to do much more than just cure you of your sleepless nights. In addition to insomnia, valerian has also proven to benefit those who suffer from the following conditions:
- upset stomach
- mild tremors
- ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder)
- menstrual cramps
- joint pain
- hot flashes
How much should I use?
The recommended amount to take is 400 to 900 milligrams up to two hours before bed. However, there is no clear dosage as the amount needed varies per person. It would be best to consult with your healthcare professional regarding how much you should actually take. Adding it to a hot bath is also an option. In addition, it appears to be most effective when used regularly over a longer period of time (two weeks).
How should I take it?
Valerian can be consumed orally in capsule form, as a liquid extract, infused in tea or in tincture form. Capsules and teas are generally the most common ways of taking herbs. But there are a few benefits to making a tincture.
Tinctures are a quick fix. They don’t need to be brewed, they don’t require digestion and the act of consuming it is very fast and simple. All you need to do is take a few doses and you’re done in seconds. In this way, your body is able to reap its benefits within minutes. A tincture bottle can also be easily carried around in your purse, to be taken wherever and whenever you wish. If you prefer immediate results when seeking a solution for your sleep deprivation, a tincture may be your best bet.
In terms of gaining the nutritional value of herbs, no option is better or worse than another.
What are the side effects?
Valerian does not generally have any side effects but there are a few precautions with taking it. Because of its ability to make you drowsy, it is advised to avoid taking it prior to driving or operating heavy machinery. In addition, due to its powerful effects, valerian should not be taken alongside alcohol. Valerian may also not be safe for those with liver disease, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
How To Make a Valerian Root Tincture
- 1 part dried valerian root (Valeriana officinalis – here’s where to find it) (I used 1/2 cup)
- 2 parts vodka (Preferably 100 proof, but 80 proof is okay. I used 1 cup)
- Fill your jar about halfway with valerian root. Pour vodka all the way to the top, then cover with a cap and shake well. If desired, write the start date on the jar using a sticky note, label, or piece of tape – it makes keeping track of how long it’s been steeping easier.
- Place the jar in a dark area that is relatively warm. (I keep mine in a kitchen cabinet.) Let the mixture steep for 3-5 more weeks. Shake occasionally.
- When it’s ready, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth, making sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Pour the liquid in a clean container and store in a cool, dark area.
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