Friday, November 25, 2011

Valerian Root for Insomnia by Paul Stevens

You must have heard about the use of Valerian root for insomnia, but you may not be sure whether it can really help you get your sleep back, whether this herbal treatment really works, and whether it is safe to use. Many recent research studies have testified to encouraging results of the use of Valerian root to deal with the problem of sleeplessness.

Valerian is a tall, flowering, grassland plant and it appears that its root can be very effective in insomnia treatment, but it is important for you to keep in mind that there is no consensus about it. The medical world still does not guarantee that it can really work for treating insomnia, and the possibility of certain side effects have also not been ruled out completely. You are strongly advised to consult a sleep specialist before trying it.

How Does It Work?

You do not have to consume the Valerian root directly. It is readily available in supplements. Though there is not a clear consensus on how it really works in the treatment of insomnia, it is believed that the different active compounds that are in it increase a specific chemical in the brain, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), which eventually results in a calming effect that lets you fall asleep naturally without much effort.

Is It Safe?

According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), Valerian root for treating insomnia is generally recognized as safe, but they are not very clear about its use in medicines or supplements. People who are suffering from other medical conditions should specifically be more careful. The use of this supplement may have certain severe side effects in the patients of liver diseases. It is also recommended that the consumption of Valerian root supplements be stopped gradually, especially if you have been taking it for a long time on a regular basis. Otherwise, it may make the condition of insomnia worse for you. Likewise, if you are already taking certain medications, the use of this supplement may cause some side effects. Some research studies have also mentioned that it may not be safe for women during pregnancy or when they are breastfeeding. Therefore, it is always wise to consult your doctor first and use Valerian root only if they recommend it. Your doctor will first do athorough diagnosis of the actual causes of insomnia in you, and then he will suggest whether the use of Valerian root supplements is safe for you or not.

Some Possible Side Effects

Though careful use of this supplement may not result in any side effects, if you take it in a higher dosage than required or use it while you are suffering from liver disease or while you are taking some other medications, you may experience certain side effects. For example, liver patients may have to face upper-right abdominal pain and yellowing of the whites of the skin or the eyes. Some possible allergic reactions may include difficulty in breathing, wheezing, swelling of the mouth or throat, itching, hives and rash.

The dosage of Valerian root is often prescribed on an experimental basis. Your doctor may suggest that you start taking it during night. If you experience improvements, they may increase the dosage for you. Overall, if you are considering using Valerian root for insomnia treatment, make sure you consult your doctor first.