Excessive stress can negatively impact both mental and physical health. It is important to know how to deal with it. One of the calming plants may also help.
In today’s world, stress is often an integral part of our lives. Professional pressure, family conflicts, lack of sufficient sleep and other individual factors contribute to this. While it can be energizing in moderation, excessive and chronic stress can have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health. Effectively dealing with stress requires awareness and the ability to manage emotions. It is worth implementing various relaxation techniques in your everyday life, taking care of a proper diet and regular physical activity. Some alternative medicine methods, including herbs, may also help.
Valerian will help in relieving stress
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) has a calming effect and helps you fall asleep. It is a chemically and pharmacologically tested plant stress reliever. It also helps with moderate insomnia – so it is recommended for people who struggle with falling asleep resulting from a state of tension and nervous arousal. This plant has been used for over 1,000 years as a sleep aid in many dosage forms (tinctures, water or alcohol extracts, tablets).
Scientists (EU Vorbach, R. Gortelmayer, J. Bruning.) conducted a study on a group of 121 volunteers who had problems with insomnia. People who were qualified for the study did not suffer from depression or take any medications that could disturb their sleep. They received ethanol extract of valerian for 28 days. After just 14 days, an improvement in sleep was noticed in these people. As many as 66 percent of patients from this group described its effect as very good or good. In only two cases, the subjects experienced a morning headache and a feeling of lightheadedness. Sometimes valerian can be a natural alternative to classic medicines, which cause troublesome side effects in some people (however, all actions in this matter should be consulted with the attending physician).
Valerian and reducing anxiety levels
In turn, other researchers (K. Murphy, ZJ Kubin, JN Shepherd) analyzed the behavior of rats that were in an elevated plus maze (this is a commonly used model for studying anxiety). The rodents were divided into several groups, and each of them received a different drug. They were then placed in a maze that consisted of four arms arranged crosswise, but only two of them had walls. During the study, scientists noticed a significant reduction in anxiety behavior in animals treated with valeric acid, valerenic acid combined with γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and valerian extract.
The effect of valerian was also confirmed in another study – M. Hattesohl and his team analyzed the antidepressant properties of ethanol and methanol extracts from valerian. Scientists relied on the forced swimming test (Porsolt test). Five hours after receiving the extracts, the animals were placed in a cylinder filled with water. Researchers measured the time during which they remained still for 5 minutes during the study. The reduction in the time of immobility indicated the antidepressant effect of the tested valerian extracts.
How to use valerian for sedation?
The most popular product containing valerian (valerian) are valerian drops. You can also find sedative tablets with valerian in pharmacies. It can be combined with other herbs with calming properties, such as lemon balm leaves or hop cones. Medicinal products should not be used continuously for longer than a month because they may cause side effects such as abdominal pain or nausea. They should also not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women.