Valerian is a native plant of Asia and parts of Europe but now cultivated in most parts of the world. Its name is believed to have been originated from the Latin word “valere” which means “healthy” or “strong”. The root of the plant is believed to be extremely rich in helpful bioactive compounds such as antioxidants and antimicrobial agents. It is commonly used as tea in many parts of the world.
In modern times, valerian tea has gained popularity as a sedative and an anti-anxiety drink. Valerian tea has been in use for ages as a treatment for insomnia and anxiety. It is rumored that it was used in the second century, A.D. when Galen recommended the tea be used as an insomnia cure. Valerian is a superb holistic replacement for prescription sleep drugs, some of which use valerian extract as the primary substance.
The health benefits of valerian tea are all related to sleep and anxiety. Several human trials on adults have concluded that valerian tea improves the quality of sleep as well as reduces sleep latency or the time required for one to fall asleep. One single cup of valerian tea can have a positive effect on a person’s sleeping pattern for up to four to six weeks. Should the person continue regular consumption of valerian tea, the effects will increase each week it is used with a massively marked improvement at week four. These studies have found that when consuming valerian with another natural product called St. John’s wart, there was an even greater chance for the consumer to experience maximum REM (random eye movement, the deepest sleep) rest.
Valerian tea has been used to treat several illnesses, especially the common cold and the flu.
Because of valerian tea’s especially potent sedative capabilities, it is widely used by those who suffer from illnesses for which there is no real cure and the best treatment is often sleep. Regular consumption of valerian tea will keep a sick person relatively “knocked out” as long as they continue consuming the tea in significant dosage. It should be noted, however, that the body will at some point form a natural resistance to the effects of the tea, so it is generally best to drink it only at night instead of throughout the day, or in the case of an ill person, to drink the tea for a couple of days and then stop drinking it for a day to keep the body remain sensitive to the effects.
For the best health benefits of valerian tea, it is recommended that you take at least 400 mg to 900 mg of tea 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Valerian has been shown to metabolize slowly, so its effect is long lasting within the body. If you are sick and are consuming it throughout the day or night (or both), it is generally best to take near 400 mg range to keep your body sensitive to the effects of of valerian tea.