Valerian Root

I’m so excited that I finally got my hands on some Valerian root extract, after looking for months. Finally cornered some in the organic aisle at Fredmyers, and was wishing I had a few more dollars for the other extracts they had.  Am very much so looking forward to getting some restfull sleep.  have already been having many lucid/vivid dreams few times a night. This will only help to also intensify that too.  So about an hour or so before bed I’m gonna have a couple drops in a cup of chammomile tea. ^_^ Sweet dreams!                                                   

A bit about the plant:

Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It grows to up to four feet high and has trumpet-shaped flowers. The roots are used medicinally. Although the fresh root is relatively odorless, the dried root has a strong odor that many find unpleasant.

Other names: All-heal, Amantilla, Setwall, Setewale, Capon’s Tail, Valeriana officinalis

It was used as a folk remedy for a variety of conditions such as sleeping problems, digestive complaints, nervousness, trembling, tension headaches and heart palpitations. Valerian’s popularity waned with the introduction of prescription sleep medication.

Valerian appears to be less effective than prescription sleep medication. One possible advantage of valerian, however, is that it may not have as much of a “hangover” effect on mental or physical functioning the following day. Also, people taking sleeping pills sometimes have a temporary worsening of insomnia when they are discontinued, an effect that hasn’t been reported with valerian.

 Mostly used for insomnia, is also effective against anxiety and stress.

Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Pregnant or nursing women and children should not use valerian. People taking medications for insomnia or anxiety, such as benzodiazepines, should not combine these medications with valerian.

Side effects of valerian may include headache, dizziness, itchiness, upset stomach, drowsiness during the daytime, dry mouth and vivid.dreams.

Possible Interactions

Valerian may cause excessive sleepiness or daytime drowsiness if combined with other drugs that cause drowsiness, such as the benzodiazepines Ativan (lorazepam) or Valium (diazepam), some antidepressants, narcotics such as codeine, and barbituates such as phenobarbitol, or with over-the-counter sleep and cold products containing diphenhydramine and doxylamine. Also not to be used with alcohol.

It may also cause excessive sleepiness if taken with herbs thought to have a sedative effect, such as hops, catnip and kava.

Valerian is broken down in the liver. Theoretically, it could interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are broken down by the same liver enzymes, such as:

  • allergy medications like Allegra (fexofenadine)
  • cholesterol medication such as Mevacor (lovastatin)
  • antifungal drugs such as Sporanox (itraconazole) and Nizoral (ketoconazole)
  • cancer medications such as Camptosar (irinotecan), Etopophos, Vepesid (etoposide), Gleevec (STI571), Taxol (paclitaxel), Velbe (vinblastine) or Oncovin (vincristine)

 ( valerian information found at http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsrz/a/Valerian.htm )

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