Valerian | Nootropic Herbs
” Natural products have upper hand over synthetic drugs because they have fewer side effects and also does not alter physiological and biochemical pathways .
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is native to Europe and Northern Asia and has been used for millennia as a sleep aid.
Valerian promotes feelings of calm, decreases levels of anxiety and stress, insomnia, menstrual pain, rheumatic pain, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, irritable bowel, migraines, epilepsy, and childhood behavior problems.
- Neurotransmitters. (Valerian helps boost GABA in your brain, inhibits GABA reuptake, modulates serotonin and norepinephrine, and activates adenosine receptors.
- Neuroprotectant. Valerian acts like an anti-inflammatory by reducing NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-B). And improves blood flow by acting as a smooth muscle dilator.
- Valerian helps eliminate Anxiety and stress, and helps with sleep, by boosting GABA, serotonin, activating adenosine receptors, and reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
How does Valerian work in the brain?
The CNS effect of valerian might occur through interaction with the GABA, melatonin and/or the adenosine systems in the brain
Valerian boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out:
- Valerian improves sleep. Valerian is the most commonly used herbal nootropic to induce sleep.
- Valerian reduces stress. A natural alternative to benzodiazepines, Valerian helps reduce anxiety. And helps you cope with stress.
GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter known to counterbalance the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. And research shows that often, those suffering from anxiety disorders are dealing with a dysfunctional GABA system.
- Valerian extract helps relieve anxiety. The valerenic acid and valerenol in Valerian binds to GABAA receptors which provides its anxiolytic effect. Like the prescription drugs Xanax and Valium but without the side effects associated with these pharmaceuticals.[x]
- Studies show that valerenic acid also modulates serotonin and norepinephrine in the hippocampus and amygdala regions of your brain. Also providing an anti-anxiety effect.[xi]
- Valerian helps reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep. And provides a better night’s sleep.
- One Swedish study showed Valerian provided ‘perfect’ sleep for 49% of the people in the study. And 89% reported ‘improved’ sleep while using Valerian.
- Valerian seems to cause sedation by increasing GABA levels in your brain. Valerian provides GABA as one of its natural compounds, prevents reuptake of GABA in neurons, and inhibits the enzyme that naturally degrades GABA in your brain
- Valerian helps ease menstrual cramps in women which naturally provides an anti-anxiety effect.
- Valerian helps reduce hyperactivity in those dealing with ADD
- Valerian reduces symptom severity in those with restless leg syndrome. And improves sleep quality.
- Valerian extract has been used for years in Iran to treat epilepsy. One study in rats showed that Valerian (aqueous) extract provides this anticonvulsant effect by acting on adenosine receptors.
- And Valerian helps reduce the symptoms of OCD.
Does Valerian make you drowsy?
Valerian for sleep doesn’t act like prescription sleeping aids which make you feel you can’t stay awake. Instead, Valerian before bed helps your body and brain relax and allows you to drift off to sleep naturally some report experiencing vivid dreams when using Valerian extract before bed.
Some people say that Valerian helps with Parkinson’s disease
Low dose Valerian may help alleviate social anxiety for some people.