NEW DELHI: Today I’m going to talk about a really effective herb that is most commonly used for sleep disorders, especially the inability to sleep (insomnia) plus few research studies.
It also suggest that it can be used for reducing anxiety as well as psychological stress. I’m talking about Valeriana officinalis, commonly known as Valerian root.
This magical herb is native to Europe and some parts of Asia, and also grows in North America. The Valerian root has lots of properties that help in healing the overall body. The herb has become noteworthy because of its healing properties.
Now, take a look at all the compounds and health benefits present in the Valerian root, which make it a magical herb.
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Let’s start with the most important compound, which is Valerenic acid, which helps in increasing GABA (neurotransmitter that reduces when a person is under stress).
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter and its work is to send chemical messages through the brain and the entire nervous system, and it also plays an important role to inhibit the activity of neurons or nerve cells.
If the amount of GABA increases in the body, it can cause a sedative effect as well.
The valerian root has been shown to increase GABA in the brain, which can help an insomniac get good sleep.
GABA not only helps induce sleep, it also helps calm anxiety. The valerenic acid and valerenol are the most powerful anti-anxiety agents that help in stabilising the central nervous system.
The improved GABA levels, with the help of valerian root, make it easier for the mind and body to feel calm and relaxed.
A low amount of GABA in the brain causes anxiety, tension, stress, restlessness and hyper behaviour — all of which are common symptoms often seen in hyperactive kids or ADHD (be careful when using the herb with kids though).
If the GABA is improved with the help of this herb, then it reduces hyperactivity and kids start showing relaxed behaviour. Valerian root also helps to strengthen blood vessels and improve elasticity, which in turn improves heart health.
By Deepika Rathod
The author is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices