Hawaii is home to a rich, diverse group of many delicious fruits and herbs. One of these herbs is Valerian root, well-known for its healing properties.
Valerian root contains linarin and valerenic acid, and it produces gamma-aminobutyric acid (also known as GABA). Linarin and GABA are both compounds that have sedative effects on the brain. The third and final compound, valerenic acid, prevents certain enzymes from destroying GABA.
Though benefits of Valerian root are still being researched and discovered, we do already know some of its health improving abilities. Keep reading for nine incredible science-backed Valerian benefits that can improve your health.
Valerian root, known for its calming properties, really helps those struggling with insomnia. It increases gamma-aminobutyric acid levels, which calms and quiets the mind.
Besides increasing GABA levels naturally, Valerian root comes without the groggy side effects of prescription sleeping drugs. Its milder side effects don’t include oversleeping or waking up disoriented.
In a study from Sweden, Valerian root consistently improved sleep for almost all of the study participants. Two out of five participants reported sleeping perfectly after taking Valerian root. Nine out of ten people reported an improvement in their sleep.
Interestingly, the calming effects of Valerian extend beyond your conscious mind. The increased GABA also helps calm other involuntary responses in your body like your blood pressure.
Valerian root can help several of the symptoms caused by ADHD. Adults and children with ADHD often have anxiety and may exhibit obsessive behavior. This can lead to many other mental and physical issues. Since Valerian root helps calm the brain, it also reduces the symptoms of ADHD.
One study done on children between the ages of five and 11 showed that taking Valerian root and lemon balm three times a day relieved their symptoms of ADHD. After two weeks of the study, the children were less impulsive and hyperactive and could also pay closer attention.
Valerian root can improve another mental condition called obsessive-compulsive disorder. A study published in 2011 showed that it positively lessened the effects of compulsion on participants. While mild OCD doesn’t make a big impact, for some it can cause huge disruptions if their patterns or routines are altered. Valerian root can reduce the need for strict routines or checking things repeatedly.
Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is the need to move your legs even when you lay down to sleep at night. This condition is irritating at best and can cause lack of sleep. In an eight-week study, Valerian root relieved feelings of RLS at night as well as decreasing sleepiness during the day.
Patients undergoing cancer treatment widely experience fatigue along with nausea and other side effects. Valerian root can help reduce that feeling of fatigue. A study done on cancer treatment patients showed that Valerian root relieved some fatigue, improved insomnia, and overall well-being.
Historically, Valerian root helped treat seizures. Though no studies have yet been done on humans, there are some animal trials that show a reduced rate of seizures. So, Valerian root may be helpful in reducing the frequency of seizures for people suffering from epilepsy.
Valerian root has antispasmodic properties, which means it can help ease stomach cramps. There are a number of gastrointestinal disorders that cause stomach cramps like Crohn’s disease, celiac’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Taking Valerian root can ease the painful cramps associated and also help your body rest.
Menstrual cramps are a painful reality for most women. The severity of menstrual cramps depends on the person. Some women have severe pain and take medication to keep up with their daily routine. Valerian root is a great choice for relieving cramps because of its antispasmodic and calming properties. It helps relieve pain by relaxing muscles and weakening the cramps.
Valerian root is just one of the many natural treasures of Hawaii. If you are interested in other health benefiting herbs or fruits, you should check out Valley Isle Kombucha. We handcraft our own kombucha with locally grown, organic ingredients. With a variety of natural flavors, you are sure to find something to suit your taste and improve your health.