Valerian and 9 other plants for insomnia and anxiety

Valerian, a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia, has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety. Its root contains various active compounds, including valerianic acid, valeranates and essential oils, to which sedative and anxiolytic properties are attributed.

Insomnia:

Various studies have investigated the effectiveness of valerian to treat insomnia. Some studies have shown that it can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep quality. A meta-analysis of 17 studies found that valerian was more effective than placebo in improving sleep quality, although the difference was not significant in all studies.

However, other studies have found no significant evidence that valerian is effective in treating insomnia. It is important to note that the quality and methodology of the studies conducted vary considerably, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about effectiveness.

Anxiety:

The evidence on the effectiveness of valerian to treat anxiety is less conclusive. Some studies have found that valerian can reduce anxiety symptoms, while others have found no significant benefit. One small study found that valerian was as effective as lorazepam, an anti-anxiety medication, in treating generalized anxiety.

However, larger, well-designed studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Mechanism of action of Valerian

Valerian is believed to exert its sedative and anxiolytic effects by interacting with the central nervous system. The active compounds in valerian may increase the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that inhibits brain activity and promotes relaxation.

Safety:

Valerian is generally considered safe when taken in recommended doses. The most common side effects are mild and may include headache, stomach upset, and dizziness.

However, it is important to note that valerian may interact with some medications, such as sedatives, tranquilizers, and some blood pressure medications.

Recommendations:

If you are considering using valerian to treat insomnia or anxiety, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can help you determine if valerian is right for you and can advise you on proper dosage and potential drug interactions.

In summary:

The evidence on valerian's effectiveness in treating insomnia and anxiety is mixed. Some studies have found that valerian can be effective, while others have found no significant benefits. More high-quality studies are needed to definitively determine the effectiveness of valerian.

It is important to talk to your doctor before taking valerian, as it can interact with other medications and is not suitable for everyone.

Additional considerations:

  • Valerian may take several weeks to take effect.
  • Valerian is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Valerian can affect your ability to drive, so you should avoid driving after taking it.

The 9 best plants for insomnia and anxiety

If you are looking for natural ways to relieve insomnia and anxiety, these 9 plants may be helpful:

  1. Chamomile: This relaxing herb is known for its calming properties. It can be drunk as a tea or applied topically as a compress.
  2. Lavender: The floral aroma of lavender essence It is known for its calming effects. It can be added to the bath, used in a diffuser, or applied topically as an essential oil.
  3. Balm: This aromatic herb has traditionally been used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It can be drunk as a tea or taken as a supplement.
  4. Passionflower: This climbing vine has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and relieve anxiety. It can be drunk as a tea or taken as a supplement.
  5. Hop: This flower is commonly used to make beer, but it also has calming properties. It can be drunk as a tea or taken as a supplement.
  6. ashwagandha: This adaptogenic herb has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries to reduce stress and anxiety. It can be taken as a supplement.
  7. Melissa: This citrus herb has traditionally been used to promote relaxation and relieve anxiety. It can be drunk as a tea or taken as a supplement.
  8. Grass of San Juan: This herb has been used for centuries to treat depression and anxiety. It is important to note that St. John's wort can interact with other medications, so it is important to talk to your doctor before taking it.
  9. Kava: This plant has been traditionally used in the South Pacific Islands to promote relaxation and relieve anxiety. It is important to note that kava can cause liver damage, so it is important to talk to your doctor before taking it.

Remember:

  • Check with your doctor: Before taking any new plant or supplement, it's important to talk to your doctor to make sure it's safe for you and won't interact with any medications you're taking.
  • Start with low doses: Start with a low dose of any new plant or supplement and gradually increase as needed.
  • Be patient: It may take a few weeks to see the full effects of plants or supplements.
  • Listen to your body: If you experience any negative side effects, stop taking the plant or supplement and talk to your doctor.