What is Valerian Root?
Valerian is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. It’s root, or valerian root, has been ground up and used medicinally as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. Historically, valerian root was used to treat insomnia, migraines, fatigue, and even stomach cramps. In some of his writing, Hippocrates mentioned its calming and sedative qualities. Today, people use valerian for all types of ailments, but its official medical status is still up in the air. This being said, there are many studies that provide insight into how valerian interacts with our bodies that help us to understand the potential value of the herb and what’s justified its longevity.
DOES VALERIAN ROOT GET YOU HIGH?
Valerian root does not produce a "high." The reason this is a common misconception is because the herb is often referred to as "nature's Valium." For those who don't know, Valium is a narcotic many consider to be high-inducing. The root earned this nickname because throughout history it has been used to promote a deeper, more restful sleep, which Valium is also used for.
This claim isn't entirely baseless as the NIH cited a clinical trial in which 121 participants who struggled with insomnia reported a decrease in symptoms over a month-long period of regularly ingesting the root as opposed to a placebo group of the same size.
However, what is misleading here is that Valium isn't actually a sleep aid like Valerian Root. It Is only medicinally approved to treat anxiety. So when people use it to treat insomnia, they are using it "off-label," or in other words, are self-medicating.
Thus, Valium users that report experiencing a high are most likely referring to its anxiety-reducing effects. Valerian root, on the other hand, doesn't have a sufficient enough research backing to support it being used as an anti-anxiety supplement. Thus, the sexy nickname "nature's Valium," is most likely more of a marketing ploy than anything.
VALERIAN ROOT FOR SLEEP?
There is a fair amount of research that supports Valerian Roots ability to improve sleep quality. Like most natural supplements though, the studies aren't as voluminous and thorough as FDA approved, big Pharma backed drugs.
One study done on rats referenced by the NIH asserts that through their research "it became clear that the BIM (valerian root extract) could be useful as a herbal medicine having a sleep-inducing effect."
In another NIH cited study done on 27 young adults, 44% reported perfect sleep and 89% reported improved sleep. On top of this, no side effects were observed.
There are many more credible studies done that point to a similar conclusion. If you're curious to read them, they will be included at the bottom of the article.
HOW MUCH VALERIAN ROOT SHOULD YOU TAKE?
The suggested dose, most used by researchers that have seen positive results for improving sleep, is between 400-900 mg of Valerian Root Extract. To increase the likelihood of effectiveness, a dose of around 400 - 600 mg should be taken nightly for 4-6 weeks. This consistency helps with the valerian extracts ability to improve your sleep cycle and produce sustained results, rather than serving as a quick fix, one night solution.
This being said, there is no guaranteed result. We are not doctors and valerian root is not an FDA-approved drug. We simply do our best to be transparent and offer potential alternative, natural solutions to problems we all struggle with.
DOES VALERIAN ROOT SMELL?
Valerian root can have an overpowering and odd smell, or taste to it that many find unpleasant due to its potent oils and the compounds responsible for its sedative effects. Being conscious of the poor smell and taste valerian root can often have, we created gummies with highly concentrated, CO2-extracted valerian root that makes for a more pleasant consumption experience.
Each gummy contains 300 mg Valerian Root, thus two should be taken nightly for a proper dose. We also infuse 10 mg CBD in each gummy to offer an additional potential boost for your sleep regimen.
IS VALERIAN BETTER THAN MELATONIN FOR SLEEP?
Melatonin is a natural hormone found in the Pineal Gland in your brain. Most people do not need melatonin supplements because your body releases it naturally upon bedtime. However, levels of melatonin increase with absence of light exposure, and decrease with an excess of light exposure. Thus, for those that are trying to counteract a habit of late night screen time, melatonin offers a short term option.
Unlike Melatonin, Valerian Root has been shown to work similarly to benzodiazepines because they both increase GABA in your brain’s GABA-A receptors. In terms of insomnia, increased GABA has the effect of putting you to sleep faster, for a longer duration, and without as many nocturnal awakenings. In addition, Valerian Root may decrease the removal or metabolism of GABA, allowing it to hang out in your brain longer. Thus, Valerian Root may offer a more sustainable solution to sleep-related problems.