Valerian is a flowering plant found in the wild on dry heathlands and in high pastures. The roots and rhizomes are the main components used for medical purposes. They are harvested and dried to create the herbal product.
In order to gain the benefits of valerian root, it must be taken on a regular basis, as it takes about a month to see results. With regular use, you start to experience deep relaxation and sleep.
Research suggests valerian is the best natural solution for sleeplessness and insomnia for most people.
Research in Switzerland at Nestlé Research Laboratories determined that 450 mg is the optimum dose as an insomnia treatment; a higher dose usually produces grogginess and is no more effective.
In 1982 a double-blind crossover study of 128 subjects, found valerian root to not only be effective as a sedative for insomnia but also effective in improving the overall quality of sleep in test subjects.
Valerian’s effects on the body are similar to that of benzodiazepine, an active ingredient in Valium™, but without making you lethargic the next day.
Valerian is a commonly prescribed calming sleep aid and is recommended for treating anxiety-related sleep problems. Valerian is nontoxic, doesn’t impair your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery, nor does it exaggerate the effects of alcohol.
It should be noted that in some people valerian can act as a delayed stimulant. In these people, initially, valerian calms them down only to cause a surge of energy several hours later – not an effect wanted by people interested in using valerian as a nighttime sleeping remedy. Some professional herbalists suggest that fresh valerian root extract is less likely to cause such a reaction.