Valerian is a medicinal plant from the family of valerianaceae, which can also be known as valerian, valerian-das-boticas or wild valerian, and which is popularly used to treat insomnia, anxiety and restlessness.
The scientific name of this plant is Valeriana officinalis and can be found in health food stores, pharmacies and some supermarkets, in the form of dried roots to make infusions, oils or capsules.
What is valerian for
Because it is a natural tranquilizer, valerian can be used as a natural treatment for several disorders such as:
- Difficulty sleeping and mental tiredness
The active substance in valerian, valeric acid, influences the functioning of nerve cells, having a tranquilizing effect, being able to decrease the time it takes a person to sleep.
- Stress, irritability and anxiety
Valerian has substances that can interact with sedative neurotransmitters in the human body, called GABA, which reduces the symptoms of stress and anxiety, for example.
However, valerian is not effective in treating generalized anxiety, in this case the ideal is to seek a psychologist to assist in the treatment of this symptom.
- Mental exhaustion and lack of concentration
Valerian extract increases the concentration of GABA and this reduces irritability and anxiety, thus the feeling of exhaustion and lack of contraction tend to decrease, as the person has a feeling of relief.
- Symptoms of menopause
Valeria is widely used to induce sleep and improve sleep quality at night. Due to this, together with its relaxing effect, valerian is effective for menopausal symptoms, especially at night, where women report hot flashes and sweat. intense.
- Menstrual cramps
Valerian has anti-spasmolytic and relaxing properties, which decrease the strength of the spasms and contractions characteristic of menstrual cramps, helping to alleviate this symptom.
How to take valerian
Valerian can be taken in the form of tea or consumed in capsules, however, for specific treatment the capsules are safer, as this way the person can have a greater control of the amount they are consuming.
The amount of valerian may vary according to the indication, which may be:
- To improve sleep: 450 mg is recommended one hour before going to bed, the effects of treatment are more effective after the third week of use
- Mental exhaustion and lack of concentration: 100 mg, once a day, can be felt after the first week
- Reduce stress: 300 to 450 mg per day, divided into three doses during the day, always accompanied by a meal
- Menopause symptoms: 255 mg three times a day, significant results are shown around 8 weeks after the start of treatment
- Reduction of menstrual cramps: 225 mg three times a day, the reduction in pain is noticeable from the second menstrual cycle.
Despite being a natural medicine and with few reported side effects, valerian should be recommended by a herbalist, because in excessive doses it can cause tremors, headache, dizziness, hallucinations, emotional instability, diarrhea and a feeling of “hangover”.
Valerian should also not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In addition, as the ability to react can be affected, one should not drive or consume alcohol after taking the supplement or drinking the tea.
see also: Paracress properties and how to use