What is the Connection Between Valerian and Anxiety?

Todd M.

Western herbalists have understood the ability of valerian to relieve anxiety for decades. Now, a growing number of physicians and nutritionists are recommending valerian for anxiety to their patients. Valerian root, or Valeriana officinallis, is typically dried and ground so that it can be consumed as a capsule or tea in order to lesson the effects of stress and anxiety. Here is a detailed look at the mechanism that allows valerian root to treat anxiety, as well as some of the most common valerian products.

Valerian oil may be used to treat insomnia by relieving tension and anxiety.
Valerian oil may be used to treat insomnia by relieving tension and anxiety.

In order to properly use valerian for anxiety, an individual can begin by understanding that effects of both valerian and anxiety are rooted in the relationship between anxiety and the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). The GABA neurotransmitter is responsible for limiting the excitability of the central nervous system in mammals. Individuals who suffer from chronic anxiety or anxiety attacks often don't have enough GABA in their nervous systems. Individuals who are experiencing the effects of GABA deficiency must rely on herbs like valerian root or eating certain foods in order to promote the production of GABA neurotransmitters within the brain and reduce anxiety.

Valerian can be used to lessen the effects of stress and anxiety.
Valerian can be used to lessen the effects of stress and anxiety.

Valerian root promotes the production of GABA by helping to release the inhibitory neurotransmitter in the endings of nerve cells and then blocking the nerve cells from being removed from the nervous system. As a result, GABA builds up in the central nervous system, causing muscle relaxation, stress relief and lower anxiety. The production and retainment of GABA caused by valerian is also the reason that the supplement acts as such an effective treatment for mild to moderate insomnia.

There are a wide range of valerian products available to the public. An individual should choose depending on the severity of his anxiety symptoms. The key to using valerian and anxiety relief products effectively is using the proper valerian dosage to treat the symptoms without using so much that a patient experiences any unnecessary valerian side effects. Valerian is most commonly taken to treat anxiety in the form of valerian capsules containing 450 mg of ground valerian root. A user can take up to three capsules depending on the severity of his anxiety. In cases where symptoms are more severe, users often take valerian oil, valerian liquid or valerian tea in order to experience valerian and anxiety relief more quickly.

Anxiety is characterized by heart palpitations and intense feelings of worry.
Anxiety is characterized by heart palpitations and intense feelings of worry.

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Discussion Comments

anon970763

I have been using Valerian tea for decades and I swear by the product. I originally started to try this because I was sick of the side effects of prescription sleeping tablets. Sleeping tablets work in the beginning but the function of these stop working in a short space of time, and I found time and time again I was back to square one, or taking more sleepers than I should.

I found with valerian that not only did I get a more natural sleep with no morning side effects, but the quality of the valerian working never diminished. Try it.

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