Valerian (scientific name: Valeriana officinalis), is a perennial flowering plant, characterized by sweetly scented flowers which are either pink or white in color. The plant native to Europe and northern Asia was introduced in North America by the Europeans. It adapted to the damp areas of the American continents very well. Also known as the garden Valerian and the garden heliotropehe, this plant blooms somewhere between June and September in the northern hemisphere. What the Valerian plant is best known for is its ability to cure a range of health problems, including insomnia and certain central nervous system issues.
With several benefits to its credit, the Valerian plant has been used by mankind for thousands of years now. In pharmacology, the roots of this plant are processed to produce capsules, which can be used for various effects including sedation and anxiolytic. Being in the concentrated form, the capsules are quite beneficial to health. The root of the Valerian plants tends to relax the central nervous system and decrease the levels anxiety and stress. One of the most prominent benefits of Valerian roots is its use as sleep enhancer, and that is acknowledged by millions of people across the world.
Even though Valerian is considered one of the best natural sleeping aids available, not everything is good about this herb! Many people have complained about side effects ranging from mild to severe, predominantly after using this herb for a considerable period. Quite a few studies verify the claim that the long-term use of Valerian can trigger a series of adverse effects on the human body, - even though it is non-toxic in nature.
These side effects are likely to vary from person to person. These include:
- Drowsiness throughout the day.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Short-term memory loss.
- Frequent headaches
- Stomach ache
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Allergic reactions
Other than these, the individual may also experience panic attacks - though the chances are very rare. In order to avoid these side effects of the Valerian root, the person should follow the instructions properly, and ensure that he gets sleep for at least 6 to 8 hours after taking it. Though it is used to treat insomnia, Valerian root itself can cause insomnia in some cases.
More Severe Side Effects of Valerian
Those who are taking prescription medications, such as Xanax and Valium, should avoid Valerian, as it has a tendency to interact with these medications. One of the most common Valerian root side effects, liver damage is most often noticed in people who indulge in alcohol abuse while using the root extract to tackle sleep disorders. Similarly, people with diabetes or some liver problem should avoid resorting to Valerian cure.
Owing to lack of evidence, some of these side effects are not backed by medical science; dreams and hallucinations are the best examples of this. An individual can experience adverse effects of Valerian tea, which include loss of muscle function and heart problems, as well. However, the side effects of the root extract are more severe than those of other products, as the extract is in concentrated form.
Dependence of this natural diuretic can be harmful for the body, and so is sudden withdrawal from it. Valerian side effects are known to disturb an individual's healthy lifestyle, but that will differ from one individual to another depending on their severity. At times, the person may observe some side effects which may not seem serious initially, but may worsen over the course of time. Taking all these things into consideration, it's important to consult a doctor when any of the aforementioned effects are seen.
Valerian root is indeed one of the most effective herbs when it comes to central nervous system relaxation, but owing to the above mentioned side effects one should be utterly cautious when using it. Taking it continuously for 2 weeks, or abruptly ceasing the use of the same, can trigger adverse effects on the body, and hence is best avoided. Many people are affected by these side effects of Valerian roots, but being a bit cautious with the use of the same (i.e. using it as directed) can make it an incredible cure.