Valerian – A Relaxing Herb

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Valerian – A Relaxing Herb

Extracts of the roots of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) contain volatile oils that, according to the German Commission E, can support normalization of “restlessness and nervous disturbance of sleep.” In human studies, 450 mg to 1200 mg of oral valerian root extract in the evening have shortened the time to fall asleep, improved the quality of sleep and decreased daytime drowsiness for adults with difficulty sleeping. The results of a study published recently in Molecular Brain Research show that compounds in valerian root extract stimulate the sleep-inducing areas of the brain and enhance normal sleep.7 The amount of extract consumed is important; more than 400 mg was required to improve sleep quality. Timing also is important; valerian too close to bedtime may not allow enough time for absorption before sleep is attempted.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Green Tea for Relaxation

7. Dietz BM, Mahady GB, Pauli GF, Farnsworth NR. Valerian extract and valerenic acid are partial agonists of the 5-HT5a receptor in vitro. Mol Brain Res 2005;138:191-197.

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