These days, if you search for valerian you’ll get the film and not the supplement. But it’s the former we’ll focus on here as we look at valerian root extract, asking if it is effective as a sleep aid and an anxiety medication, and seeking to determine what the best supplement brand is that sells this product.
Valerian is a root that has been used for centuries as a sleep aid and anti-anxiety drug. The Greeks and Romans are said to have used it for this purpose, as it grows wild throughout Europe. It may have also formed an integral part of many other civilizations, as it also grows wild throughout Asia and North America.
The valerian plant produces bright flowers in the summer, ranging from white to purple in color. But it is the root of the plant that is prepared to make the valerian drug.
You can consume valerian root in several different forms, but valerian tablets are the best. Make no mistake about it, this is a foul smelling root and it tastes even worse than it smells. So teas and other consumption methods are not advised. Instead, just find a good extract in a capsule/tablet and then take that.
How Safe is Valerian Root
There are valerian side effects, including headaches, dizziness and restlessness. Not everyone experiences these, but it’s worth keeping in mind if you have been led to believe that it is completely safe and harmless. Also, valerian root is not regulated by the FDA and there is no one overseeing the supplement companies to ensure that they actually use genuine valerian root when making their tablets.
If you are pregnant or nursing you should avoid using valerian root. You should also not give it to children, especially those under three. If you are drinking or consuming other recreational drugs or prescription medication, then you should avoid taking it as well.
Best Valerian Reviews
We’ve heard all kinds of bold claim about valerian root. Some of these have confidently stated that it “solved” everything from insomnia to high blood pressure. Others claim that it is as effective as prescription strength drugs for curing anxiety. These claims exist for all kinds of herbal supplements and they often begin with the companies making the drugs or the ones promoting them.
They should be taken with a pinch of salt. Don’t let these claims put you off completely, but at the same time don’t rely on them too much and definitely don’t be taken in by all of them.
If you focus on the user reviews you will notice that many users didn’t notice any effects while others noticed minor benefits. It’s a mixed bunch, suggesting that it all comes down to genetics, dose, body weight and a few other factors that can change from person to person and use to use.
Valerian for Anxiety
Valerian does have a sedative effect and this seems to help with anxiety to a certain degree, however, it all depends on the severity. We asked a couple members of our team to use valerian prior to moments of expected anxiety.
One of them, a woman who has suffered from severe anxiety for much of her life, didn’t note any benefits whatsoever. Another, who is fairly confident and only has small moments of anxiety every now and then, noted that there was a slight improvement, but that this could have been down to placebo.
There is some promise here, but it’s something that needs to be tested. Everyone responds differently to valerian and everyone reacts differently to anxiety. So, try it in small doses and see how effective it is before deciding whether to increase your dose and use regularly, or to try something else.
Another thing worth noting is that we have heard from some people who regularly take valerian and can feel its effects. They have told us that it sedates them, enough to make them sleep. That drowsiness obviously isn’t suited to an anti-anxiety drug that you have to take through the day.
Valerian for Sleep
Most valerian users, our testers included, found that valerian helped them to sleep. The problem is that it doesn’t always work when the stated dose is taken. Of our testers, all ended up taking more than the recommended dose in order to feel the desired effects and this seems to be the general consensus with other users.
This is something you will have to judge yourself, while making sure you stay within the healthy dose. For valerian, this seems to be quite high, but it’s always best to stay on the safe side nonetheless.
The more you take, the more likely you are to feel groggy the next morning. Even legal and seemingly harmless drugs like this can trigger a grogginess the next morning. It’s not a heavy grogginess and it’s not a hangover like what you would get from alcohol, but it’s worth taking into consideration if you have to be somewhere the next day.
Best Valerian Brand
In an article on green tea extract and one on melatonin we mentioned how it is usually best to focus on the simple goodness when it comes to supplement brands. In other words, focus on the brands that you know and just and the supplements that contain the best valerian, without any other supplements or extracts added.
We have used Nature’s Bounty and we have also used Now, who have a range of valerian root tablets and tinctures available. We believe that these brands can be trusted, but there are many more out there that can also be trusted with your money and your health.
Best Valerian Supplement
Valerian is something that is widely available and easily found. Providing you work with a reputable source then the valerian you get should be legit and effective. In anticipation of this review, we bought a few bottles from different sources online. Admittedly, not all of these looked the same and the effects seemed to be different as well.
On discussing this with our local pharmacy we were told that many pharmacies can make their own version and they then did just that. Within the hour they presented us with a bottle of valerian extract tablets that worked as well as any of the other valerian supplements we had taken.
So, stick to the brands you trust and the companies you trust and you will get a good product that does the trick.