Benefits of Valerian
Valerian is mainly taken for insomnia and other sleeping problems. However, valerian may also be beneficial for other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Valerian appears to be effective for treating insomnia, although it may not work as well or as quickly as conventional treatments.
Valerian is a perennial herb that is commonly used in supplements. Although it is primarily used for sleeping problems, the herbal supplement is also alleged to help treat the following conditions:
- Insomnia or other sleep disorders
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Menopause symptoms.
There are many other valerian uses, some of which are more valid than others (see Does Valerian Work? for more information). As with many supplements, valerian's potential benefits are sometimes exaggerated, and these claims must be critically evaluated. Most importantly, it is essential to remember that natural products should not be used carelessly, as many can be quite toxic (for instance, many poisons are natural products).
Of all the possible uses, the most common use of valerian is treating sleep disorders, including insomnia. While the supplement does seem to be effective for treating insomnia, it may not work as well or as quickly as conventional treatments.
It is not exactly clear how valerian works for treating insomnia or other conditions. There are a variety of different active compounds in valerian, and researchers are not sure which ones are responsible for the sedative-like properties of the supplement. Some of the compounds seem to increase gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical in the brain that produces a naturally calming effect.