What’s in your cup this week? Ideally, mine would be Valerian, but I need to be WIDE awake to write this. Another one of my dry jokes! (Valerian can make you sleepy) All of my jokes are hit or miss. Oh well.
We’ve talked about Catnip and Kava teas. So the last one this month in our focus of mental health is…. Valerian Root.
Women, have you ever woke up pissed off and ready to beam lasers through everyone like Supergirl? Have you ever randomly felt drained and started crying for no reason? Sounds like a common case of PMS to me, which Valerian can help with!
I can’t leave out the men. Men, have you ever suffered from insomnia, muscle and joint pain, stress? If your married I’m sure you have. Oh, I’m horrible with these jokes. I promise comedian is not on my list of career choices.
In all seriousness, Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It is now grown in the US as well. It smells a little funny, “earthy”, but you can’t taste it if using the extract. Otherwise, it has a mild taste.
The medicinal properties come from the root of the plant. It contains valerenic acid, isovaleric acid, and several antioxidants. The plant works by subtly increasing the levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.
GABA is a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system. It has been shown that low GABA levels related to stress are linked to anxiety and bad sleep. However, Valerenic acid seems to inhibit the breakdown of GABA.
It works similarly like anti-anxiety medications such as Valium and Xanax. The antioxidants contained in Valerian root work by inhibiting extra activity in the amygdala. The amygdala process fear and strong emotional responses to stress.
So now that we have broken down the basis, why should you be drinking Valerian? Well, sleep is important for your body. Especially if your dealing with any type of hard labor or workout one to seven days a week.
Your body will take the opportunity to repair and refill those energy stores for the next day. If your not sleeping, your body and your gains will definitely suffer.
Where Can I find it?
Just like Catnip and Kava, you can find it at any health food store, Amazon, or some large-chain grocery stores. You can also find it in specialty tea stores and online tea websites.
What can it be used for?
We’ve kind of gone over the benefits but here’s a longer list.
- Muscle and Joint Pain
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- Upset Stomach
- Do not use if on any depression or anxiety medications. Valerian can cause sleepiness and drowsiness and when taken with other drugs may cause you to be overly tired.
- Valerian can slow the breakdown of drugs in the liver
- Do not take for several days prior to surgery as it can prolong sedation.
- Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding
As with all herbal supplements, please do your research and consult your physician before using.
I hope I provided you with some interesting and useful information this month.
Have you had any experiences with Valerian? If so, feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to follow as well! Have a great weekend loves!